The 1800Ti


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The factory produced SS1 Turbos  used the Nissan 1809cc CA18ET turbo engine as found in the Bluebird and Sylvia instead of the Escort RS Turbo unit.  This was apparently for 2 reasons; meeting emissions regulations for possible non-European markets and the little fact that the exhaust manifold would have put the turbo inside the heater fan.  Fitting the Bosch KE-Jetronic injection system in the engine bay was also a headache, as I found out (see Improvements)

This engine was carried through both the SST and Scimitar Sabre; It is believed that the last car to be registered was powered by the same Nissan unit.

The ultimate pocket rocket?

When Reliant replied to the "not enough power" solution, they turned to the far east for a solution in the form of the 1800Ti, namely Nissan.  Their CA18ET engine was a very small (externally) engine, but with electronic fuel and ignition control gave a respectable 135bhp from its non-intercooled 1809cc.  The turbo was a Garrett T2 unit (unlike the T3 usually used in engines this size), which whilst limiting overall performance, brought the boost in low down in the rev range giving excellent driveability from just above tickover to the redline at 6700rpm.  Apart from a new trim style, different K&N "Diamond" alloy wheels and a small boot spoiler, it was identical to its 1300,1400 and 1600 siblings. 

Magazine test results bore out the performance improvement, achieving as low as 6.7s for the 0-60 dash, and top speeds around the 125mph mark.  At last the factory offered the performance of mine, and what the excellent chassis had been crying out for.  The chassis was now galvanised (as were all later "single" wiper vehicles); this allied to the legendary robust nature of a Japanese engine ensured for a long life.

Whilst the styling was virtually unchanged, save the new wheels and boot spoiler, the first hurdle was to get people into the car.  Once they were, however, the mind can easily be converted to the way these cars drive.  Smooth, yet determined handling made this a stunning drivers car, and also extremely competitive at motorsport.  A standard car can see off a 3.0 GTE due to its impressive power to weight ratio, and its outstanding turning circle.

It has become apparent that the 135bhp quoted by Reliant & Nissan for the engine was a little pessimistic; The engine may have made this in it's donor vehicle (the Nissan Sylvia), but due to a better (read less restrictive) exhaust system fitted by Reliant the engine seems to make about 10bhp more in totally standard form.  At the RSSOC National Sporting Weekend in 2005 a portable rolling road was showing figures between 140 and 149bhp for standard cars; the addition of a bleed valve (for a few psi more boost) adds another 10-15bhp with no ill effects.  This is before thinking about intercoolers!

There is always a downside; with just over 300 examples made, there aren't enough to go round, although Paul Maddison seems to have found about 10% of the total production over the last 10 years...


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This site was last updated 08/31/08

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