Ogle Design

Tom Karen and Scimitar WEB Ogle Design


Ogle Design is a British design consultancy company founded in 1954 by David Ogle and based in Letchworth, Hertfordshire.

David Ogle design 3 WEB Ogle Design

Ogle designed three cars for the Reliant Motor Car Company. The Scimitar GTE, launched in 1968, the Bond Bug, launched in 1970
and the Robin, launched in 1973.

Brief History

  • 1954 Ogle Design was founded and produced many successful designs of industrial and household products.
  • 1959 The company became involved in transport design and small-scale car production.
  • 1962 David Ogle was killed in a car crash involving one of his SX1000 cars, Tom Karen took over as Managing Director and Chief Designer of the company, and car production ceased.
  • 1974 Separate divisions were formed for product and transport design.
  • 1999 Oct. Ogle Models and Prototypes sold the design business to Ogle Noor.
  • 1999 Ogle Noor formed.

David Ogle – Founder of Ogle Design

David Ogle (1922-1962) was known as a very charismatic designer and a great personality. He was educated at Rugby School and briefly studied Law at the University of Oxford. In 1940 he joined the Fleet Air Arm. He flew the Supermarine Seafire in operations in North Africa, the Mediterranean and in the south of France. He rose to the rank of Lt Commander and was awarded the DSC and the MBE.

At the conclusion of the war, he attended the Central School of Art and Design in London, studying industrial design. After working as an industrial designer at Murphy Radios, David Ogle founded his own industrial design company in 1954. Designing the very successful Bush radio TR-82 in 1959 was the start of a new era. In 1960 David decided to branch out into car design and manufacturing, with the four-seater coupé based on Riley 1.5 mechanicals. Only eight Ogle 1.5 where made. More successful was the pretty and revolutionary Ogle SX 1000 coupé produced in the period from 1962 to 1964. The curvaceous GRP body was based on Mini parts.

Ogle also designed the handsome SX250 body based on Daimler SP250. This was shown at the 1962 London Motor Show and impressed British specialist company Reliant so much that this was modified to become the Reliant Scimitar GT Coupé. Ogle then took the Scimitar and created the Triplex GTS estate special made with Triplex heat-absorbing glass. This car, with the registration number 66OGLE, became the property of HRH Prince Philip for a time.

Tragically, in 1962 David Ogle died in a car accident, on his way to Brands Hatch race circuit with an Ogle SX 1000. This ended also the company´s car manufacturing life.

Dr Tom Karen

In 1962, Tom was invited to take charge of Ogle Design following the death of David Ogle in a car accident. He was Managing Director and Chief Designer from then until 1999, during which time he was personally responsible for a wide range of innovative products. These included:

  • The Bush TR130, the UK best-selling radio in the 60s
  • The Reliant Scimitar GTE launched in 1968 as the world’s first Gran Turismo Estate which made the front-page news when Princess Anne was caught speeding in one.
  • The 3 wheeled Bond Bug, launched in 1970, which came in a choice of colours: bright orange or bright orange. This cult car has a very enthusiastic owners club and many are still on the road.
  • The Raleigh chopper, launched also in 1970, is now a bicycle icon and it was featured on the TV series ‘I love the 70s’.
  • A Design Award-winning range of truck cabs for Leyland.

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