1937 Riley Tourer
Lot 528
1937 Riley 12/4 1½-Litre Sports Two-seater Chassis no. 28A 7362 Engine no. A7362
Sold for £28,750 (US$ 48,323) inc. premium
Lot Details
1937 Riley 12/4 1½-Litre Sports Two-seater
Registration no. BRY 752
Chassis no. 28A 7362
Engine no. A7362


  • The British built Riley was enjoying phenomenal competition success in 1936, capturing 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th places in class in The 1936 French Grand Prix, while chain-smoking Freddie Dixon had driven to victory in both 1935 and 1936 TT Races over the Ards Circuit in Ireland. Against this background the Coventry factory were producing a range of high quality touring and sports cars which showed all the hallmarks of race breeding.

    Riley's own advertising proclaimed their sports cars as having appeal to 'men who drive through the night seeking gold medals and revel in the almost unclimbable mountain tracks. Men and women whose cars must not only look fast, but be fast. Men to whom racing, hill climbs and trials are the most fascinating things in life.'

    For the 1937 season the well tried 1,496cc engine was redesigned with fan assisted thermo-syphon cooling and the range included the Lynx, the Falcon, the Kestrel, Adelphi and Sprite. The pre-selector gearbox was standard. It is believed that this car started life as an Adelphi but like so many of its contemporaries fell into serious disrepair with age. Acquired in parlous condition with original coachwork beyond repair, it was rescued for preservation by noted restorer Owen Corrigan who decided to restore it as a sports two-seater, interpreting the pre-war sports/racing style and borrowing the best design features from contemporary Rileys and other marques.

    To say that he succeeded is perhaps an under-statement. A comprehensive mechanical restoration was carried out and all detail was finished to a very high specification. The alloy-skinned coachwork is finished in crimson livery and furnished with tan leather upholstery. Driving equipment includes Lucas Bi-flex Long Range headlamps, twin Lucas horns, a fold-flat windscreen with side wind deflectors, tonneau cover, quick release Brooklands-style fuel filler and knock-on wire wheels. Dashboard instrumentation includes Jaeger speedometer and rev counter, a Smiths chronometer, together with ammeter, oil pressure gauge and water temperature gauge. All brightwork is superbly presented, as is the engine compartment boasting twin S.U. carburettors. Modern indicators have been discreetly fitted as a concession to safety.

    The car comes with a good photographic record showing the condition pre-restoration and recording the various stages of both mechanical and coachwork restoration. It is offered also with old style log books back to 1965 and a current Swansea document, correctly recording the car in its present format as a tourer, and also a maintenance manual and a copy of Birmingham's standard work on pre-1939 Riley motor cars. Here is a sportscar equally at home on the most prestigious concours d'elegance lawns or revelling in the 'almost unclimbable mountain tracks'.
  1. John Polson
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