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Riley Nine

Riley Nine Published: 1st Jun 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Riley Nine
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Living on cloud nine with this classy sports car range


The Riley Nine is one of the best small sporting cars of the interwar years and created a fair sensation when launched in 1926, care of a cracking 1087cc twin cam engine that formed the bedrock of Riley engines right up to 1957.


More than 6000 had been produced, the biggest change occurring in 1929 when a superior stronger chassis boasting better brakes appeared. The roomier Ultra Nine of 1931, then spawned the Imp (a shorter, sportier two seater). A Brooklands and a streamlined Merlin replaced the Monaco in 1935. For 1936 a new X-braced chassis with Girling brakes surfaced; options included overdrive to the three-speed transmission. The last model was the Victor of the late 1930s now with a 1.5-litre engine.


If you thought Riley was just a luxury Austin then you’re wrong. Before BMC took over, Riley was a respected sporting name and the Nines are truly delightful sporting cars that perform well. Post 1929 models featured a better suspension that resulted in a much better ride.


Riley values across the board have risen greatly during the past couple of years, but particularly pre-war models and for a good Nine you need to spend in the region of £13,000, although the rare two-seater sportsters such as the Imp and Brooklands can sell for three-times this and a lot more besides; a Lynx was recently advertised for just under £32,000, a Special sold at auction for £23,000 and an incomplete Imp found a new home at just under £50,000 for example!


There’s pretty good support for such a rare marque and spare parts supply is much better than you’d think; Blue Diamond is the best known specialist for the marque and recently completed a gruelling rally to Monaco in a WD Tourer to prove its durability. According to this specialist, the chassis is strong on most cars, the exceptions being some of the later cars, like the Monaco where the chassis was boxed in to add rigidity and harbours rust. Mechanically, they are robust but repairs to that twin cam engine can easily run into five figures.

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