1928/34 Riley Bob Gerard Single Seat Special,
Lot 364
1928/34 Riley Brooklands 9hp Bob Gerard Monoposto Special Chassis no. 8052
Sold for £49,900 (US$ 61,171) inc. premium

Lot Details
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1928/34 Riley Brooklands 9hp Bob Gerard Monoposto Special
Registration no. VE 4847
Chassis no. 8052


  • 'Almost as soon as these new (9hp) models arrived on the scene, interest was shown in the engine by J G Parry-Thomas, who joined forces with Reid Railton to produce an 1,100cc racing chassis which Railton drove to undreamed-of success at Brooklands. Later, after Thompson and Taylor had developed the chassis, Riley put into production the 9hp Speed Model, which quickly became a legend as the Brooklands Nine. It was a Brooklands Nine which won the Rudge Whitworth Cup at Le Mans in 1934.' - As Old As The Industry: Riley 1898 - 1969, David G Styles.
    Introduced in 1926, Percy Riley's 9hp, 1,087cc, twin-camshaft four was an outstanding engine design by any standards, various versions powering Rileys until 1957. Clothed in stylish bodywork by Stanley Riley, the Coventry marque's pre-war offerings were among the world's finest small-capacity sporting cars, none more so than the rare and highly desirable Brooklands Speed Model, 110 of which were made between 1928 and 1932. The production Brooklands boasted a chassis shortened to an 8' wheelbase from the standard Nine's 8' 10.5" and was low-slung in the extreme, it being possible for the driver to touch the ground while normally seated at the wheel! Body construction varied considerably, ranging from wood-framed, steel-panelled, two-door types intended for touring, to the lightweight, door-less, alloy ones used at Le Mans. The engine differed from the standard Nine's by virtue of its water pump, high-compression pistons, different camshafts, four-branch exhaust manifold and twin carburettors, in which form it produced around 50bhp at 5,000 rpm.
    The Brooklands was enthusiastically received by the British motor racing fraternity as it provided a most competitive entry into the 1,100cc sportscar class (Class G), hitherto dominated by Continental makes. As well as the aforementioned 1934 team award at Le Mans, Riley Brooklands successes included various Class G world records, a class win in the RAC Tourist Trophy, an outright win at the 1932 Ulster Tourist Trophy and victory in the JCC 1,000 Miles Race and countless other events at Brooklands.
    This original Riley Brooklands, chassis number '8052', began life as a standard two-seater sports model before being transformed into a single-seat racer by Bob Gerard. Frederick Roberts 'Bob' Gerard served his racing apprenticeship in Rileys during the 1930s and after WW2 became famous following a string of successes driving the ERAs 'R4A' and 'R14B', which included 3rd place in the 1948 British Grand Prix. One of the most respected competitors of his era, Gerard switched to more modern Coopers and although there would be few more international successes, he continued winning at national level well into the 1950s.
    This unique car was created in the 1950s using a Brooklands Nine chassis, which has been extensively modified and fitted with a Riley Sprite high performance engine, Derek Chinn supercharger and an ENV 75 pre-selector gearbox. The chassis has been lightened, shortened and narrowed, the front axle lightened, and most of the suspension and steering components polished. The large Girling brakes are fitted with chromed drums and Elektron back plates complete with air scoops. Hydraulic shock absorbers are fitted at front and rear. The monoposto body was constructed by Bob Roberts in 1960.
    Overhauled in 2009 regardless of cost, the 1,087cc engine is a Bob Gerard 8-plug racing unit that has been fitted with a special 4-plug cylinder head incorporating very large inlet valves and inclined spark plugs. Other noteworthy features include a special crankshaft, ERA connecting rods, Cromard cylinder liners, ERA-type oil and water pumps, Scintilla magneto, large ribbed sump, oil cooler, four Amal carburettors and a chromed four-branch external exhaust system fitted with a new Servais straight-through silencer. The pistons currently fitted give a compression ratio of 8.5:1 while there is a spare set of 12:1 items, complete with rings, for use with alcohol-based fuels. Power is transmitted via a racing clutch to the four-speed close-ratio gearbox (overhauled at the same time as the engine) which has a short remote-control lever.
    We are advised that the car's maximum speed is around 100mph using the present pistons. It has lapped the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in 1m 14s and the Silverstone Club Circuit in 1m 29s, both of which times probably could be bettered with improved carburetion.
    'VE 4847' is well known at most of the important European circuits and is reported to be in an excellent state of maintenance. Offered with Gerard Racing correspondence, sundry invoices and VSCC 'buff form', this very competitive pre-war racer is ready to race or hill climb.
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