1934 Riley MPH

1934 Riley MPH 1934 Riley MPH 1934 Riley MPH Roadster
A Sporting Blend of Tradition and Innovation
Riley was an English motorcar built in Coventry. The original company manufactured bicycles in the 1980s. Before the dawn of the 20th century, the owner's son, Percy Riley, had built a 'quadricycle' prototype. A production car followed in 1905. During 1912, Riley introduced a detachable wheel rim patented by Percy - the design would eventually be used on 180 makes worldwide. The final Riley car was produced in 1969.

During the 1920s, the Riley automobile was a well known and popular car throughout the British Empire, produced in 4-, 6- and even 8-cylinder variants. Sport models such as the Riley Brooklands, a model that was competitive in both hill climbs and at LeMans, were prized by enthusiasts of the era.

The Riley 'MPH' was a larger 6-cylinder sports car, based on the successful 4-cylinder 'Imp.' Only 20 were produced, and the car displayed is the most authentic one remaining in the world. It was originally imported to Switzerland by the Riley distributor, who used it for racing.

The Riley MPH was a combination of old and new tech: the body work was aluminum, but over a traditional ash frame. The MPH engine is a twin-cam 2-liter inline six, driving through a Wilson 'Pre-Selector' 4-speed semi-automatic gearbox. Mr. Lutz acquired the car in 1963 and is only its third owner.

1934 Riley MPH 1934 Riley MPH Roadster
Chassis #: 44 T 2255
Engine # 2577
Sold for $308,000 at 2008 Gooding & Company.
This 1934 Riley MPH was delivered new to Hector Dobbs at hedge End Motor Registry in Hampshire, England. It is believed that the car was used by Dobbs in competition. Dobbs, a Riley agent, had a history of racing that included a Riley Nine that, in modified form, won the Ripley Mountain Handicap in the 1934 BARC Easter Meeting.

The Federation Internationale de L'Automobile (FIA) form states that this car was modified into an offset single-seater by Dobbs, and used with relative success during the 1930s. Most of its use was at Brooklands. Years later, the car was purchased by Arthur Dobson. In 1980, the Riley was treated to a restoration, bringing it back to its original two-seat sports car configuration. It is painted in dark red with brown upholstery.

Though the restoration was to MPH specifications, a number of Dobbs lightweight racing parts remain, including Bowden cable operated brakes, alloy steering box and column, alloy rear-axle components, forged eye springs and a special pedal cluster.

During the last two decades, the car has continued to add to its racing resume, competing in many events including Mille Miglia Storica three times, the California Classic Rally, the Colorado Grand, the Coppa Dolomiti, the 1988-1994 Nurburgring Invitational Race, the 1992 Historic Festival at Silverstone, and the 1989 Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nurburginrg, where it took 2nd in class.

In 2008, this Riley MPH was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA. It was estimated to sell for $275,000-$350,000. The lot was sold for $308,000, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
1934 Riley MPH 1934 Riley MPH 1934 Riley MPH Roadster
Riley, like many other Coventry, England firms, began as a builder of bicycles starting in 1898, later producing motorized tricycles or tricars until 1907. The firm went on to become one of the most respected manufacturers of British sporting cars, continuing production until the autumn of 1969. Three sports models were made in 1930. The first of which to appear was the 9 horsepower Imp, then the short-lived six-cylinder MPH, and finally, the Nine. Just 16 1728cc/15 HP 6-cylinder MPHs were built. Riley was quite successful in competition, too, with successive wins in the BRDC 500-mile race at Brooklands 1934-35-36.

Originally sold in Switzerland, this Riley was raced by its first owner prior to World War II. It was sold around 1950 to its second owner, then to its third owner, Mr. Robert Lutz, in 1963. Mr. Lutz had the car restored in Great Britain in 1971 and remained the owner of the car until December 2012 when it was purchased by its current owner.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2014
The Riley MPH was introduced in 1934 and was based on the Riley IMP. The prototype MPH car was given a six-cylinder engine and mounted on an earlier T.T. chassis. It was clothed in aluminum bodywork similar to the contemporary Alfa Romeos. It was entered in the 1934 Scottish Rally and proved to be a capable contender.

The production versions of the MPH soon followed. They were available with a choice of engines, initially the 12/6 and the 14/6 and later the 12/6 and the 15/6. They were a dynamic vehicle that had stunning looks, impressive performance, innovative design, and even finished 2nd and 3rd at LeMans in 1934.

Today, there are around 20 examples of the Riley IMP still in existence.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
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