The Ri­ley RM still lives

Classic Driver - - LETTERS -

I was look­ing through the pages of the Feb/Mar is­sue of your ex­cel­lent mag­a­zine, and there on page 25, to my sur­prise, were pho­tos of my Ri­ley RM, look­ing much smarter than it ever did in my own­er­ship.

Scott Steven­son, who owned the car from 1963 to 1967, says he last saw it in a car­port in East­bourne in 1992, and asks where it is now. Well, I can an­swer that ques­tion – it’s still there!

AD1950 must have had a hard life in the years af­ter Scott took its photo, be­cause it was in a shabby and run-down con­di­tion when I bought it sev­eral own­ers later in late 1971. A poor re-spray fad­ing and peel­ing, sev­eral botched re­pairs, rot in the wood fram­ing of the body, and many bits and pieces dam­aged, or miss­ing or not work­ing. But it was cheap and, as a poor univer­sity stu­dent in­ter­ested in Bri­tish clas­sic cars, all I could af­ford. It was my sec­ond car, bought to re­place a Ford Pop­u­lar.

I drove the Ri­ley for the next cou­ple of years, in­clud­ing a mem­o­rable trip to Christchurch, be­fore the need for fur­ther re­pairs led me to park it up in 1974, with a view to restor­ing it later. Like many wellinten­tioned plans, that never hap­pened.

An in­ter­est in clas­sic cars en­dured over the years though, along with par­tic­i­pa­tion in mo­tor­sport. Other cars came and went, some of them in­ter­est­ing, in­clud­ing a Tri­umph Dolomite Sprint and a Dat­sun 260Z. And the Ri­ley’s car­port be­came an en­closed garage.

Af­ter 40 years “rest­ing”, in prac­ti­cal terms the Ri­ley is prob­a­bly be­yond res­ur­rec­tion now, un­less some­one threw a huge amount of money into it. It would have been a big enough job in 1974. John Rap­ley East­bourne

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