Lot 371 - 1938 Riley 12/4 Adelphi Open Tourer

Lot 371 - 1938 Riley 12/4 Adelphi Open Tourer

Lot 371 - 1938 Riley 12/4 Adelphi Open Tourer

Lot Number 371
Registration tbc
Chassis Number 28A7479
Engine Number 38-7415
Odometer reading 2,994 miles
Estimate £24,000 - £28,000

The amazing Riley story dates back to 1890, when the Bonnick Cycle Company of Coventry was taken over by William Riley Junior and re-named the Riley Cycle Company in 1896. The company's first internal combustion-engined vehicles - a tricycle and a quadricycle - saw the light of day in 1899. However, it took until 1907 for the first proper four-wheeled Rileys to reach production. Light, two-seaters, they were powered by 1034cc V-twin engines. Significant changes occurred in 1913, with the Riley Motor Manufacturing Company taking over car production in a new factory adjacent to the Riley Engine Company and the Riley Cycle Company changing its name to Riley (Coventry) Ltd and concentrating on manufacturing the detachable wheels it was already supplying to almost 200 car producers. It was the Riley 9 of 1926 that really put the company on the map. With its highly-tunable, pushrod-operated, 1100cc twin-camshaft engine, it soon found success in competition, further boosting the order book. New for 1935 was the 12/4 engine. Though it bore many resemblances to existing Riley engines, it was an all new design of 1.5-litres and could be specified in the Merlin, Kestrel, Falcon, Lynx and new Adelphi models. With a power output of 51bhp, one could expect to reach 50mph in some 23 seconds and manage a terminal velocity of around 73mph. Including the 'special series' vehicles, the derivatives of the 9hp, 12/4, 15/6 and 8/90 model ranges had now expanded to 23, prompting the prophetic advertising slogan, ""..we make far too many models of course. But then we have a pretty fertile design department, and we like making nice, interesting cars."" Rumours of financial trouble began circulating in 1937 and by February 1938 the receivers had been called in. Later the same year the company was taken over by Lord Nuffield.

Originally a four-door Adelphi saloon, this example was discovered as a barn find in the late 1980's in poor condition. It was decided to then restore it as a Lynx-style four-seat open tourer. With new coachwork by Wilkinson & Son of Derby it still managed to retain its original Riley factory registration number, important when you consider that this particular car was first owned by none other than Rupert Riley, the works competition manager whose cars were taking class and outright wins at Brooklands on a regular basis.

The engine is the correct 12/4 Riley unit with a Wilson four-speed pre-selector gearbox taking the power. It also benefits from a new radiator, Girling brakes all round and fully restored Dunlop centre-lock wire wheels  with 4.75x18 tyres. Also included is full weather equipment, to include hood, tonneau cover, side screens, and hood bag. Beautifully finished and ready for all manner of national and international touring, historic rallies or simply touring for pleasure, this most elegant example is presented with a full one year MoT test certificate and comprehensive history file. Very pretty.

Interested parties should note that the UK Registration documents (V5C) are currently in the application process and will be forwarded in due course. The registration number will also not accompany this lot and a replacement age-related number issued instead.

Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.

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