WHAT TO LOOK FOR
While the glassfibre bodyshell reduces the prospect of corrosion, they are liable to accident damage so still require close inspection. Be wary of cars that have been abused in the name of fun too. Below the bodyline, even the galvanised chassis can suffer from corrosion. Specific areas to examine include the A-frame that holds the front wheel in place, gearbox mounts and front uprights.
ENGINE AND MECHANICALS
Because they were so compact and light (total weight coming in at less than half a ton), well looked after Rialtos will happily last for years. They are not difficult to work on and there is a good supply of secondhand parts available at reasonable prices to keep your three-wheeler going. Regularly maintained engines will enjoy long life though check for signs of overheating and the prospects of a blown head gasket. Four-speed gearboxes also perform well though check for signs of wear on second gear synchromesh. Brakes are generally good, while a weak clutch can fairly easily be replaced.
ON THE CARDS
Owner cards were introduced by Reliant for the Rialto that included information on the vehicle plus warranty and service information details for dealers. Bagging one is a real bonus.
DRIVING LICENCE CHANGES
For a long while a motorcycle licence loophole made lightweight three-wheelers a very popular choice for younger drivers, especially in the 1960s, but EU regulations saw the driving licence legislation for three-wheelers changed in January 2013. The most important changes from that date are that new drivers must be a minimum of 21 years of age (for tricycles over 15kW), and require a motorcycle licence (category A or A1) to be able to drive them because they no longer fall within category B1. Drivers with existing full entitlement to drive B1 category vehicles gained before January 2013 retain that.