This paper proposes the use of hybrid automatic repeat request (HARQ) with code combining (HARQ-CC) to offer reliable communications over double Rayleigh channels. The double Rayleigh fading channel is of particular interest to vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems as well as amplify-and-forward relaying and keyhole channels. This work studies the performance of HARQ-CC over double Rayleigh channels from an information theoretic perspective. Analytical approximations are derived for the $\epsilon$-outage capacity, the average number of transmissions, and the throughput of HARQ-CC. Moreover, we evaluate the delay experienced by Poisson arriving packets for HARQ-CC. We provide analytical expressions for the average waiting time, the packets sojourn time, the average consumed power, and the energy efficiency. In our investigation, we take into account the impact of imperfect feedback on different performance metrics. Additionally, we explore the tradeoff between energy efficiency and the throughput. The proposed scheme is shown to maintain the outage probability below a specified threshold $\epsilon$ which ensures the link reliability. Meanwhile, HARQ-CC adapts implicitly the transmission rate to the channel conditions such that the throughput is maximized. Our results demonstrate that HARQ-CC allows improving the achievable communication rate compared to fixed time diversity schemes. To maximize the throughput of HARQ-CC, the rate per HARQ round should be less than the rate required to meet the outage constraint. Our investigation of the performance of HARQ-CC over Rayleigh and double Rayleigh channels shows that double Rayleigh channels have a higher severity of fading and result in a larger degradation of the throughput. Our analysis reveals that HARQ with incremental redundancy (HARQ-IR) achieves a larger throughput compared to HARQ-CC, while HARQ-CC is simpler to implement, has a lower decoding complexity, and requires less memory resources.