Lot 266 - 1926 13049 Sports Two-Seater, ‘The Wentworth Special’

Lot 266 - 1926 13049 Sports Two-Seater, ‘The Wentworth Special’

Lot 266 - 1926 13049 Sports Two-Seater, ‘The Wentworth Special’

Lot Number 266
Registration PR7845
Chassis Number 69.846
Engine Number 5312
Estimate £38,000 - £44,000

Riley was a car and bicycle manufacturer from 1890, becoming part of the Nuffield Organisation in 1938 and later merging into British Leyland. Introduced in 1926 in a humble but innovatively designed fabric bodied saloon, Percy Riley's ground-breaking Riley Nine engine, a small capacity, high revving unit, was ahead of its time in many respects. Having hemispherical combustion chambers and inclined overhead valves, it has been called the most significant engine development of the 1920's. With twin camshafts set high in the cylinder block and valves operated by short pushrods, it provided power and efficiency without the servicing complexity of an overhead camshaft layout. It soon attracted the attention of tuners and builders of 'specials' intended for sporting purposes. One such was engineer/driver J.G. Parry-Thomas, who conceived the Riley 'Brooklands' model in his workshops at the banked Surrey circuit. After Parry-Thomas was killed during a land speed record attempt in 1927, his close collaborator Reid Railton stepped in to finish the job. Officially backed by the Riley company, the Brooklands, along with later developments and variations such as the 'Ulster' Imp, MPH, and Sprite, proved some of the most successful works and privateer racing cars of the late 1920's and early 1930's. At Le Mans in 1934, Rileys finished 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 12th, winning the Rudge Whitworth Cup, the Team Prize, two class awards and the Ladies' Prize. Rileys also distinguished themselves at the Ulster TT and at Brooklands itself. After the Riley 9, the 12/4 or 1½ litre was the most popular Riley engine before the war. Launched with the famous trio of Falcon/Kestrel/Lynx bodies, the range steadily expanded and included many custom sporting examples that continued the success the marque had enjoyed to date.

This Riley Sports was originally registered on 5th November 1926 as an 11.9hp Wentworth Coupé as confirmed by the original 'buff' log book. Appearing to have had only six owners throughout the 88 years since leaving the Coventry based manufacturer, it has certainly led an interesting life. The late David Poulton owned PR7845 for the last 50 years and his time and patience in ascertaining the car's history has to be admired. Mr. Poulton managed to identify all the previous owners and listed them accordingly. The notes and history that he compiled make fascinating reading as well as being incredibly useful for the next owner. A brief synopsis of the paperwork leads us to believe that this is one of only two 1920's Riley Wentworth Specials thought to exist in the world today. It would appear that after purchasing the Riley, Mr. Poulton removed the original body and ancillaries and then did very little to the car for around 30 years. He then set about re-bodying the chassis in the stunning 'boat-tail' roadster style it presents in today, after, of course, undertaking an extensive programme to source, purchase and assemble new mechanics; a list of where and from whom he purchased the various parts is in the history file. The 1645cc side valve engine is mated to a four speed gearbox and we are advised she is "fun and interesting" to drive. The green coachwork is in good order as is the interior. Supplied with a V5 registration document, this car represents an opportunity to acquire an extremely fine and rare example of the marque and enjoy living 'the life of Riley.'

Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.

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