1935-1938 RILEY 12/4 KESTREL LIGHT
Motor magazine’s January 12 1937 road-test described the Riley Kestrel Sprite as ‘the ideal form of transport for the man, or woman, who appreciates fast travel and the attributes of a thoroughly modern sports car.’ Nothing has changed. From the elegant streamlined body to the stylish and spacious interior, it’s the sort of car in which you could still genuinely imagine crossing continents. Many pre-war cars feel rather floaty and vague, but the Riley’s high-geared steering and strong brakes – not to mention its quick-acting preselector gearbox – make it feel like a focused car ten years younger. Charm personified.
BETTER IF IT’S ALL THERE Scruffy bodies can be refreshed, but buy an incomplete car at your peril – trim and some body panels are hard to come by now.
PARTS SUPPORT Iffy mechanicals aren’t the end of the world, because spares support is surprisingly good. Specialists, such as Brooklands Engine Craft (brooklandsenginecraft.co.uk), are invaluable to the Kestrel owner.
ALTERNATOR Swapping the original dynamo for a modern alternator improves starting and allows you to use lights, wipers, etc simultaneously without any worries.
WHAT TO PAY CONCOURS £35,000+ // GOOD £20,000-25,000 // USABLE £14,000-18,000 // PROJECT £5000-10,000