Lot 329 - 1952 Riley SP6 Roadster

Lot 329 - 1952 Riley SP6 Roadster

Lot 329 - 1952 Riley SP6 Roadster

Lot Number 329
Registration HFV 554
Chassis Number RME23426
Engine Number 13604
Odometer reading 98,655 miles
Estimate £22,000 - £29,000

Although Riley built outstanding sports cars before World War II, it abandoned this field after the war. In the early 1980s Mr. Dennis Ramsay of Sterling, Scotland decided to rectify this omission. The skilled Ramsay earned competition fame with his Daimler-V8-powered HAR sports-racer. In 1983 the motor engineer completed this unique 2.5-litre sports Riley. The car's RM-series basis dates from 1952. Having shortened the chassis by 24 inches to 95 inches, the same as the BMW 328 that inspired his project, Mr. Ramsay underslung it at the rear and fitted Girling hydraulic brakes. Original Riley grille, wings, bonnet and scuttle are retained, albeit revised to suit their new environment in the car that Ramsay dubbed his Project SP6. All new panels are aluminium, including the tail, shaped to evoke the pre-war Sprite style. Lightness was a priority with drilling of the side members and wheels, the latter aiding brake cooling. Ultra-light and with 100 bhp available from its four-cylinder 2.5-litre twin-cam Riley engine, the RMS is a vivid performer that suggests what Riley might have achieved, had it chosen to build a car for this category. Often mistaken for a Riley works prototype and featured in 'The Automobile' and 'Riley Record', HFV 554 has participated in VSCC and Aviva Classic runs. Having toured to Ireland and Burgundy, Ramsay's SP6 has proved a quick and reliable driver with first-class weather protection and capacious boot capacity. And it is, in fact, behind the wheel that this special roadster comes to life, with an exceptionally stable ride and a startling turn of speed.

After its ownership by Ramsay the Riley was acquired by 'a chap in Crewe' who went on to sell it to a coal merchant in Lincoln. There it was admired by Karl Zachau, a collector, who bought it in 1991. Ill health prompted Zachau to offer it through 'The Automobile' to the wider market in 1992. After a test drive by the now owner and highly accomplished prize-winning motoring author and historian, Karl Ludvigsen, a deal was struck and HFV 554 headed to Suffolk. Ludvigsen was appreciative of the general condition and quality of the car as well as the often advanced engineering, such as a full belly pan for low drag, found beneath its skin. For his wife Annette, who also enjoys driving the SP6, the car's floppy-eared bunny mascot sealed the deal.  Ludvigsen's neighbour Ian Polson re-calibrated its instruments and undertook a thorough brake overhaul.

Tours and rallies, both in this country and abroad, proved the SP6's mettle with Mick Walsh, Editor of 'Classic & Sportscar' commenting, ""..with precise, nicely weighted steering, strong brakes and a much more refined ride thanks to the independent front suspension, the Riley immediately felt quicker and more modern. Overall, the SP6 impressed much more than the boulevard style of the production RM Roadster.""

With a abundance of historic rallying open to this spirited roadster, access to select events both in this country and abroad has never been easier. Complete with an MoT test certificate valid through May of next year, it comes with a wealth of paperwork including the original build drawings, records and specifications and a full spread in the February, 2011 edition of 'The Automobile'.

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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