British manufacturer, Riley, produced bicycles and motorcars. The company was formed near the close of the 1890s and continued for many years. It was later merged into British Leyland which is now a trademark of BMW.
Around 1905, the first Riley motor car was created. Within a few years, Rileys other endeavors, like motorcycle production, was halted to focus on the automobile.
After World War I, Riley's efforts in motorsports increased, with their vehicles appearing in races by privateers and works cars. Appearances in hill climbs and races such as LeMans were met with moderate success. Famous drivers such as Stirling Moss would pilot a Riley during racing competition.
The Riley Brooklands were used by the factory and privateers in racing endeavors during the 1920s and early 1930s. They were used in hill climbs, at LeMans, and numerous other stages. The car would become on of the most successful racing cars of its era, amassing numerous victories and class wins. The cars were based on the Riley 9 engine that used hemispherical combustion chambers and overhead valves. It was one of the more technologically advanced engines of its time, offering a small and lightweight with potent results. To reduce the cost of the engine, it featured valves operated by two camshafts instead of overhead camshafts. The camshafts were placed high in the crankcase through short pushrods and rockers.
The Riley Nine was produced from 1926 through 1938. It had been designed by Percy and Stanley Riley; Stanley had designed the chassis and Percy designed the engine. The engine displaced 1087cc and mounted in the engine bay at a 45-degree angle sitting on a rubber bushed bar that ran through the block and attached at the rear of the gearbox.
When introduced there were two bodystyles to select, a saloon called the Monaco and a four seater tourer. A Biarritz saloon was added in 1929. Additional bodystyles followed in the years to come. A preselector gearbox was offered in 1934 for an additional cost.
In 1935 Riley reduced the number of bodystyles available to just Monaco saloon, Lynx four seat tourer, and the Kestrel saloon.
The following year Riley replaced the old brakes with Girling rod operated units. The number of available bodystyles was again slimmed down to just the Kestrel and Merlin saloons.
In 1938 the Riley Company was purchased by Lord Nuffield who merged it into BMC.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007