The Riley RM still lives
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