1954 RILEY RME
ENGINE 1496cc/4-cyl/OHV POWER 55bhp@4500rpm TORQUE 78lb ft@2500rpm MAXIMUM SPEED 75mph 0-60MPH 25sec FUEL CONSUMPTION 21-28mpg TRANSMISSION RWD, 4-speed manual MoT 12 months from sale ODOMETER 12,957 miles
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Its glamorous styling, oldfashioned dashboard and narrow front footwells may hark back to an earlier age, but this post-war Riley feels as surefooted as any other 1950s sporting saloon. The sharp – if not especially light – rack-andpinion steering and smooth suspension make cornering a joy and the 1496cc engine performs enthusiastically. The stubby gearlever action is precise but the gearbox demands respect to avoid crunching when changing down.
The bodywork was the subject of an older restoration but still looks very sharp. There’s an uneven finish on the offside rear and nearside front wings and one of the outer sills, but the black-over-maroon paint is in good order with a deep shine and no signs of corrosion in the outer panels. The vinyl roof covering is excellent and all four doors and each of the twin bonnets open and close easily. The clean underside has solid chassis members and floorpans but the paint is starting to peel in places. The extensive brightwork is complete and in good condition.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
It’s hard to imagine a more welcoming and beautifully preserved interior, with first class red leather seat faces complemented by matching door cards and as-new carpets. None of the wooden door cappings are damaged and each has excellent veneer, likewise the imposing dashboard, which is let down only by minor cracking to one corner. The cloth headlining is unmarked and the sprung steering wheel rim has been professionally repainted at some point. The gold-faced dials all function as they should, but the period radio doesn’t work.
UNDER THE BONNET
This Riley hasn’t been used for a couple of years but will be MoT’d before sale. The engine is reluctant to idle, suggesting a tweak to the SU carburettor may be in order, but the 1496cc engine runs smoothly otherwise, keeps its cool in traffic and pulls strongly without complaint, showing a healthy 60psi of oil pressure when under load. There’s a slight oil weep from the gearbox, but it operates quietly and precisely and the clutch is smooth. There are no rattles or knocks from the suspension and the brakes pull the car up straight and true. They are a little sticky through lack of use but this will be rectified before sale.
THE CCW VIEW
This is a handsome and elegant traditional classic that is in very good order and requires little attention. It is reasonably priced for the amount of style and sophistication it offers and looks much more expensive than it really is. It’s a fine historic sports saloon that should do any new owner proud, and reward much more use.