Ri­ley RM drop­head

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

EN­GINE 2443cc/4-cyl/OHV POWER 100bhp@4500rpm TORQUE 86lb ft@2000rpm TOP SPEED 85mph 0-60MPH 16.8sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 19-26mpg TRANS­MIS­SION RWD, four-speed man­ual MoT Ex­empt ODOME­TER 51,091 miles WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

The 2.4-litre four fires up with­out any hes­i­ta­tion and quickly set­tles to a healthy idle; and once you’re on the move there are no mis­fires, tap­pet noises or power losses to con­tend with. The brakes are a lit­tle sharp but bring the car to a halt with­out any jud­der­ing or pulling, and there’s a re­as­sur­ing di­rect­ness from the com­mu­nica­tive steer­ing. Both the clutch and the stubby gear­lever op­er­at­ing the four­speed man­ual gear­box are light and pre­cise to use.

BODY­WORK CHECK

The car was re­stored two years ago by a clas­sic re­storer based in Eastern Europe and the body re­mains in su­perb con­di­tion. The chas­sis num­ber sug­gests that the car started life as an RMB sa­loon, but the qual­ity of the con­struc­tion and the cor­ro­sion-free body­work give no cause for con­cern. There’s an even shine to the Bronze Metal­lic paint­work, with no sur­face rust, bub­bling or mi­crob­lis­ter­ing in the panels, and the 16-inch painted steel wheels and at­ten­dant hub­caps are scuff-free. The chrome is in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion too – par­tic­u­larly the ra­di­a­tor grille – and there are no scratches or cracks in the win­dow glass. It’s worth not­ing that while the roof isn’t a pe­riod-cor­rect de­sign, the Mo­hair ma­te­rial used is of a very high qual­ity.

HOW’S THE IN­TE­RIOR?

The cream leather seats fit­ted dur­ing the car’s restora­tion are in very good con­di­tion, with no rips or marks, and it’s a sim­i­lar story with the re­as­sur­ingly dry car­pets. All three di­als work cor­rectly, and there are no scuffs on ei­ther the dial rims or the pro­tec­tive glass. The wood trim on the dash­board, glove com­part­ment and door cap­pings is in fine or­der through­out, and the rim on the three-spoke steer­ing wheel is un­marked. Only the af­ter­mar­ket wa­ter tem­per­a­ture gauge and spot­light switch spoil the car’s pe­riod am­bi­ence, but they work cor­rectly and are wel­come ad­di­tions for modern driv­ing.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

The RM’s en­gine was re­con­di­tioned last year and is in very good con­di­tion. There’s no sign of any fluid leaks, the com­po­nents them­selves are free of grime and dust and the ra­di­a­tor ap­pears to be in rude health. The car doesn’t come with much in the way of his­tory – pe­riod work­shop man­ual aside – but the qual­ity of the me­chan­i­cals more than makes up for this.

THE CCW VIEW

The qual­ity of this RM’s restora­tion means that you should be able to spend years en­joy­ing it at clas­sic shows be­fore hav­ing to lav­ish it with any se­ri­ous TLC. Ri­ley afi­ciona­dos will spot the cou­ple of in­cor­rect de­tails that but they’re easy to for­give on a car that drives and looks as good as this one. David Simister

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