Bonhams : 1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014

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Lot 225
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports
Registration no. BXO 32 Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014

Sold for £ 74,300 (US$ 95,643) inc. premium
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports
Registration no. BXO 32
Chassis no. 6027484
Engine no. 56014

Footnotes

  • First 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. Looking to all intents and purposes like a twin-overhead-camshaft design, the Nine's cross-flow cylinder head featured hemispherical combustion chambers and valves inclined at an included angle of 90 degrees. The twin gear-driven camshafts were mounted high in the block, operating the valves via short pushrods.

    Right from the start it was obvious that the 9hp Riley engine possessed enormous potential as a competition unit and at Brooklands J G Parry-Thomas and Reid Railton were the first to demonstrate just how good it was. The success of their racer led to a production version, the Speed Model, which soon became known as the Brooklands Nine. Numerous World Speed Records and famous class victories at Brooklands, Shelsley Walsh, RAC Tourist Trophy and Le Mans followed, while outright wins were secured at the Ulster TT and the JCC 1,000 Miles Race at Brooklands in 1932.

    Six-cylinder Brooklands and MPH models followed, and from these Riley developed the next of its 9hp four-cylinder sports cars – the Imp. Like the MPH, the Imp featured a short-wheelbase chassis, of 7' 6" in the latter's case, that swept upwards over the front axle and was under-slung at the rear, this layout having been first used on the Brooklands Six. The engine was mildly revised, twin SU carburettors being fitted and a Scintilla magneto offered as an option. With its long bonnet, flowing wings and short tail, the Imp is without question one of the most attractive small sports cars of its era. Made in limited numbers, it is a rarity today and commensurately much sought after.

    One of circa 120 examples built during 1934/35, 'BXO 32' is listed in John Gathercole's book 'The Riley Imp', Volume 4 of the Riley Register Series. Gathercole states that the Imp's earliest known owner was one K F Rouse, in 1948, followed by regular Shelsley competitor Graham Galliers in, probably, 1971. At that time finished in white and cream, the car was restored by Galliers, who noted that it had originally been maroon. 'BXO 32' was subsequently sold to Tony Smith, during whose ownership the ENV pre-selector gearbox was rebuilt by Bill Morris. The Riley then changed hands again before passing to the current owner in July 2006, fulfilling his lifelong ambition to own one of these cars.

    Upon acquisition the Riley was sent to Ian Gladstone at Blue Diamond Services to be serviced and generally tidied up before being transported down to the vendor's home in south-west France. 'BXO 32' has been progressively restored over the past 30 years. The engine - its original – has been rebuilt with Omega pistons, all the white metal bearings renewed, and the crankshaft and assemblies balanced. The camshafts are standard Imp with no re-profiling and are not fitted with lag tappets. Lag tappets were originally fitted to the Nine engine to quieten the timing gears, minimising the backlash, but they cause drag which consumes power. The copper piping was renewed and silver soldered, the carburettors rebuilt and the battery cables replaced. The engine is in first class condition and often the envy of other Riley owners - the gearbox too, after its rebuild by Bill Morris.

    Now back in its original maroon colour scheme, the body was completely repainted four years ago at Ian Gladstone's workshop in Bridgewater while the car was back for another service. Other works carried out include re-coring the radiator; replacing numerous wheel spokes; re-chroming various parts; and fitting an engine cut-out switch and fire extinguisher. The new hood and tonneau cover are in good order. Described as 'not concours but very smart', this rare and desirable post-Vintage sports car is offered with sundry restoration invoices, old-style logbook and Swansea V5 registration document.
Contacts
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
1935 Riley 9hp Imp Sports  Chassis no. 6027484 Engine no. 56014
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