<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>

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Lot 75
1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL

US$ 125,000 - 175,000
€ 110,000 - 160,000
Amended
1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL

Chassis no. 22T572
Engine no. R107

1,496cc DOHC Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
2 SU Carburetors
Approximately 75bhp at 4,200rpm
Armstrong-Siddeley Preselector Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Alfin Drum Brakes

*Exciting British Special with period racing provenance
*Displayed at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
*Period-correct engine and frame
*Recent mechanical and cosmetic freshening
*Ideal for vintage hillclimbs and rallies



RILEY IN THE 1930s

British manufacturer Riley enjoyed considerable racing success during the 1930s, proving itself a worthy competitor to Bentley, Aston Martin, and HRG at hillclimbs and rallies. A factory-entered Riley finished 3rd at Le Mans in 1934, by which time a diverse array of racing roadsters had emerged from the manufacturer, including the Brooklands, the Ulster TT, and the MPH Sprite.

Among these two-seaters was the Imp, a 9hp model first introduced as a road car in late 1933. The Imp took the checkered flag at its competition debut during the 1934 Scottish Rally, and showed great promise at the more competitive 1934 Ulster Tourist Trophy, where an all-Imp factory contingent netted 9th, 11th, 12th, and 16th-place finishes.

Meanwhile, at the 1934 Olympia Motor Show Riley announced its 1935 model line, including the introduction of the company's first new 4-cylinder engine in seven years, the 1.5-liter 12/4. The platform included a new bodystyle on a longer wheelbase, the Falcon saloon. As elegant as the Falcon's swept coachwork was in comparison to other mid-market British sedans, many enthusiasts still chose to modify the car into a lightweight competition roadster, for which the more powerful 12/4 motor was particularly suited.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

The picture-perfect image of a sporting British club racer of the 1930s, chassis no. 22T572 claims a life of historic competition use and a beautiful restoration, followed by 13 years of fastidious care and minimal, racing-free driving. According to Riley records, this car was originally registered as BHX676 while configured as a 1½-liter Falcon saloon, a claim supported by the car's 109-inch wheelbase (common only to 12/4 models). Marque expert John Lomas of Blue Diamond Riley Services notes that no engine number is recorded for this car in known chassis logs, implying that the current twin-cam 1.5-liter 4-cylinder motor (which matches the specifications of the high-power dual-carbureted "Special Series" engine option) could be entirely original to the car.

At some point the Riley was converted to an open two-seat roadster with coachwork in the style of a racing Imp, complete with a rear continental tire. As such modifications were common in period, this conversion may have taken place before World War II although it is difficult to conclude with certainty. Obviously intended for competition use, the car received cycle-wing fenders and was reportedly used extensively for vintage racing in the Netherlands as late as the 1990s.

In 2003, the Imp received a comprehensive refurbishment from the Dutch restoration house Van Laar Classics, complete with a fishtail exhaust, Brooklands windscreens, quick-release fuel-filler caps, and a unique instrument arrangement. A bronze medallion is mounted on the cowl commemorating Cyril Paul and the Riley performance at the 1935 RAC Tourist Trophy, though there is no documentation to demonstrate the car has any actual association with either the famed Riley driver or the race (as previously speculated).

After completion of the restoration, the Imp was acquired by Malcolm Schneer in 2004 and imported to Southern California, where it enjoyed a gentle life of regular upkeep, occasional exercise, and presentation at some of the nation's finest events. Of particular note, the car was exhibited at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and also participated in the related Tour d'Elegance.

After being sold to the consignor in January 2011, the 12/4 was rarely driven, and in recent months it has undergone some sympathetic restoration measures. This work included repairs to the radiator and muffler, installation of a new battery, fuel pump, and water pump, and a thorough detailing of the paint and engine compartment. The wheel cylinders and master cylinder were rebuilt, and the engine head was removed from the block to evaluate the connecting surfaces, which were happily determined to still be in very good condition.

Having lived such a pampered and competition-free life for the last 13 years, the Riley would make an ideal entry on vintage tours and hillclimbs like the California Mille, Copperstate 1000, Colorado Grand, Pebble Beach Motoring Classic, and the Ascent at Hershey. It offers a low-investment entry into an authentic prewar British competition roadster equivalent of the day's racing Aston Martins and Bentleys, and promises a taste of the legendary Riley sporting character.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the right front fender was recently damaged, but will be repaired before delivery to the new owner.
Contacts
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
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<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
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<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
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<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
<B>1934 RILEY 12/4 SPECIAL<br /></B>
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