Riley 9

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Riley

Riley 9

1926 - 1938
Country:
United Kingdom
Engine:
4 cyl.
Capacity:
1087/1496 cc
Power:
54-100 bhp
Transmission:
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
60 mph
Number Built:
n/a
Collectability:
4 star
The Riley Nine was the most popular of the pre-war Riley’s ever made, and with good reason. Enjoying a long production run lasting from 1926 to 1938, the Nine would undergo various mechanical and body style changes along the way, under the direction of two of William Riley’s five sons, Percy and Stanley.

The mechanics, particularly the engine, were handled by the older Percy, while Stanley was responsible for the chassis, suspension and body.

The Nine was launched in the Northern summer of 1926 as both a traditional four seat tourer (selling at £235) and very unconventional fabric bodied Monaco saloon for a 50 pound premium.

The Monaco could reach a very respectable (for the time) 60mph thanks largely to the lightweight design of the fabric body, while the small 4 cylinder engine gave upward of 40 miles to the gallon.

Both models featured a 1087cc straight four engine using hemispherical combustion chambers with the valves inclined at 45 degrees in a cross-flow head.

To further simplify the mechanicals, rather than use overhead camshafts Percy instead created a system whereby the valves were operated by two camshafts mounted high in the crankcase through short pushrods and rockers.

The engine was mounted in the chassis by a rubber bushed bar that ran through the block with a further mount at the rear of the gearbox.

Drive was to the rear wheels through a torque tube and spiral bevel live rear axle mounted on semi elliptic springs.

In 1929 came the Biarritz saloon, a more up-market version of the Monaco that featured a much improved braking system. More body styles were to follow, and in 1934 you could option any model with a Preselector gearbox for an extra £27.

By the time 1935 rolled around the car had been on the market for 9 years, and sales were starting to wane. Rationalizing the model lineup was inevitable, and for that year only the Monaco Saloon, Kestrel streamlined saloon and Lynx four seat tourer were available.

In 1936 came a new chassis, while the brakes were changed to the rod operated Girling type. The range was further rationalized, now only the Kestrel and steel bodied Merlin saloons offered. The final iteration was the 1938 Victor, which gained a larger capacity engine (now 1496 cc) and an all steel body. The Nine had served Riley well, but in a time of rapid automotive change the use by date had well and truly passed.

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Lost Marques: Riley
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