Lot 261 - 1939 Riley Autovia V8 Special
|Estimate||£40,000 - £46,000|
Autovia was a short lived brand of British car from Coventry existing from 1935 to 1938 with production starting in January 1937. The venture was ambitious and even included setting up a school for chauffeurs. The cars were expensive and it was a market sector well served by other companies. It is thought Autovia manufactured only 44 cars in total and was created by Riley as a subsidiary to produce large luxury cars and a new factory was built. A 2849cc, 90°V-8, triple camshaft engine was developed from a pair of 1½-litre Riley engine blocks and coupled to either a conventional four-speed manual gearbox or in a few cases, a pre-selector unit supplied by Armstrong Siddeley. Drive was to the rear wheels through a live axle with a worm gear final drive. Three body types were advertised, a Sports Saloon, a Special Saloon with extra legroom at the expense of boot space and a Limousine, the car was also available as a bare chassis. The venture failed when Riley went bankrupt and when they were taken over by the Nuffield Organisation; the Autovia name was not resurrected. There were thought to be only eight of these cars remaining in 2008 making them exceedingly rare.
This Autovia V8 Special was the penultimate vehicle produced; when the company went into receivership all the remaining stock and unfinished cars were purchased by Jimmy James Ltd. Discovered in pieces in 1976, it was purchased from Colin Readey. Included in the boxes of bits was a 'Wade Cabin Blower' the type used on a Bentley Mk. VI, it is not known if this blower was ever fitted to this Autovia however it was eventually sold to Victor Gauntlett. Aesthetically, this is a slightly unusual car, particularly handsome from the front and with a long swooping tail to the rear. We are advised FYP 650 drives well with the pre-selector gearbox operating as it should. In September 2014, some £4,000 was spent on her and this Autovia has had very little use since. Supplied with a V5C registration document, this V8 Special is known to the Autovia register and represents a fantastic opportunity to purchase a very rare pre-war car with an interesting history.