The Tempest register is a section of the Reliant Kitten Register
catering for Tempests and Vantiques. These delightful cars are based on
Reliant Fox or Kitten chassis and mechanical parts If you own a Tempest
of Vantique or have information about one please contact the registrar.
Tempest kits are still available so if you fancy building one contact
Foster had the idea of producing an "all new" kit that could be
registered as a new vehicle. This resulted in the mid 1980’s in he and
Box designing the Tempest sports two-seater. John Box had been chief
at TVR and was subsequently a consultant to Reliant, and hence in a
liaise for components. Ian Foster was best known for his Teal Bugatti
He was also John's wife's cousin. Ian died in 2005.
Tempest was conceived as a
lightweight classic style roadster. The
basis of the car was a 100% new galvanised steel chassis
fitted with the Reliant 848cc o.h.v. engine, four-speed gearbox, double
wishbone front suspension, semi elliptical leaf spring and live axle
suspension. Reliant also supplied every other mechanical item plus the
and heater. The bodywork was a
combination of fibreglass mouldings and aluminium over a steel frame.
prototype was built in 1987 and the first production car produced in
1988. The original factory built cars were
85% finished with every component needed for completion included. John
owned Thoroughbred Projects in Burton-in-Kendal whereas Ian Foster
Trafford Brake Services in Burscough and the building work was split
the two. The address for Tempest Cars as given on a sales leaflet was
Ramsbottom Road, Hawkshaw, Bury, presumably Ian's home just used as a
registered office. Thirteen cars were produced including one that was
and floor pan only, the Tempest 95 and, some time later, the Raptor (it
completed till 2010/11, by then being the last Reliant built on a new
1988 the price was £4,350 + VAT with hood and side screens extra.
kits were also sold so that prospective owners could assemble their own
a donor Fox or Kitten. Two others were built after production finished
Smith and Dave Price, who were loaned the jigs by John Box before the
was eventually sold to Steve Campbell in 2000. When Reliant got into
difficulties and went into receivership the supply of new parts dried
that only kit conversions of Fox or Kittens could be built, an option
Foster had no interest in.
February 1991 John Box quoted £2,098.75 including VAT for a kit (to
purchaser to convert their Fox or Kitten donor vehicle into a Tempest)
included hood and side screens, but a lighting set was £134.55 extra.
Tempest has earned an impressive pedigree of competition successes in
The initial successes were achieved by Robert Porter who bought the
and followed up by several people to whom the TT (Trials Trophy)
was lent, including Robin Jager a former BTRDA (British Trial &
Drivers Association) trials champion. Successes included
a class win in the 2000 Association of Central Southern Motor Clubs
Championship, and a third in the RACMSA National Championship the same
Jack Williams of Rougham. In recent years the trials regulations have
legislated against Tempests and now they are rarely seen at events.
rights to this fine vehicle were acquired in 2000 by Stephen Campbell,
Sportsman Ltd in Birkenhead who intended to re-launch it early in 2001.
some changes (replacing the aluminium floor pan with a fibreglass
amongst other changes) and sold a few kits but the number is not known.
project then passed to Mike Phillips in Bisley (an ex Rolls Royce
2003, the deal being that he would pay in commission on kits sold.
health problems were probably responsible for no kits being produced
project reverted to Steve Campbell in 2005.
Cars was then acquired by John Melody in 2006, and the car went back
production at Pilling, Preston. A number of upgrades were made
including a conversion
to disk brakes at the front. Despite considerable effort in attending
only very few were sold. During his ownership he acquired several
provided body spares to people needing them. He also refurbished the
factory owned Vantique; during the refurbishment it was fitted with an
built by John Box.
Melody advised that a Fox was a better donor for a Tempest than a
Kitten for a
number of reasons:
It has a galvanised chassis
it is therefore almost certainly going to be in excellent condition.
The back axles ratio was 4:1
which enables larger diameter wheels to be used.
The back axle ratio of the Kitten was 3.2 :1 which is too
run anything other than 12" wheels. However, he could supply a 5:1
The steering column and pedals
require little modification.
2011 the business was sold again, this time to Joe Mason of Second Hand
Spares in Cradley near Worcester.
history of a Tempest Owners Club or Register is a bit vague. Mike Furze
running a club in 1994 and compiled a database of owners. They had a
at Stoneleigh in 1994 and 95 but it seems that it did not continue. The
Kitten Register, which includes Tempests, was started by Brian Marshall
but apparently Mike Furze was not a subscriber. At some point, Joe
Boulderstone-Salthouse became registrar until he sold his car in 2003/4. Roger Brown took over from
Martin Seymour as
registrar of the Tempest section in 2012.
Box had other strings to his bow, and during the Tempest’s time in
he was developing and building the 1930’s looking Vantique. As the name
implies, it is a van. The prototype was first on the road on 1st
the last of just 11 built was completed a decade later. In fact the
were complete by 1993, the last one taking a little longer to finish!
incorporated the only 4 Fox chassis built by Beans after they took over
Reliant. Bean had
been a vehicle manufacturer in their
early days; an owners club exists to this day. Indeed, Bean built the
which held the world land speed record a couple of times between 1937
and 1939 in
their works at Tipton, so they were no strangers to vehicle production. They were the supplier of
gearboxes and axles
to Reliant for many years before Reliant finally failed in 1995. The Bean take over was
essentially a way of
them hoping to recoup some of their losses, but sadly Bean themselves
bought out by a foreign firm with no interest in vehicle production.
to Brian Marshall and Roger Brown for compiling this brief
history and to John Box for providing information.