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 1918-1922  . . .10.8hp side valve, 11hp,Tourers

..and the blue diamonds are worn on all


Rileys produced after the First World War were the 11s, with side-valve 1½ litre engines, alloy pistons and full electrical equipment, spiral-bevel final drive being added by 1921. In 1918,  the Riley companies were restructured. Nero joined Riley (Coventry) as the sole producer of automobiles. Riley Motor Manufacturing under the control of Allan Riley became Midland Motor Bodies, a coach builder  supplier for Riley. Riley Engine Company continued under Percy as the engine supplier. At this time, Riley's blue diamond badge, designed by Harry Rush, also appeared.

A new company based at the old Riley Motor Works, called the Midland Motor Body Co. was set up, under Allan Riley. By the 1919 Motor show, the new Rileys had been fully developed, and were ready for Launch. The first Riley was the 11hp, bearing the now famous 'V-radiator', and Diamond Badge. The car's chassis' were made at Foleshill, before being transported to the Midland Motor Body works, to have the bodies lowered into place. The bodies were either 3 or 4-seaters, and could be removed fairly easily, whilst still leaving all of the mechanical and electrical components in place. This car continued for several years, and in 1921 it was the first Riley to be marketed with the slogan 'As old as the industry, as modern as the hour'.

The Riley that appeared at the first postwar motor show at Olympia in 1919 had little in common with the 17hp still for sale and the Torpedo ( both not included here). The stand featured just the stripped 11hp chassis, a standard four seater version and a coupe although as in anything Riley it later included a 'family' version etc.This new car was an 11hp totally designed for ease of maintenance only six  parts now needed lubrication and then only twice a year. (For details A.T.Birmingham p40 onwards)  Standard 4 seater £550, Family body £550, Two seater £520, Coupe £600. One owner used his car for over 4,000 in 1920 achieving 35mpg on short runs and 38mpg on long runs running on a 50/50 petrol Benzole mixture. He recorded it as using half a pint of oil every 150 miles and complained of a rear axle hum over 25mph ( hence the good fuel consumption, on modern roads/speeds more like 24mpg now)As always with a successful design, the 11hp Riley was subject to develop- ments to keep it abreast of progress. By 1922, spiral bevel rear axle gears arrived, and at the 1922 Olympia Show, the starter motor and the dynamo were relocated from chassis-mounting to opposite sides of the crankcase. The following year, the ‘Eleven’ was renamed the ‘11/40hp’.

By 1923, the bodyshop had also been transferred out to Foleshill, where further land had been acquired, to accommodate the factory. The Riley 11hp was also renamed the 11-40hp, and considerable successes were made in all of the racing events that Rileys entered. Most were private entries, but several were aided by the Riley companies. Throughout the early 1920's, the Rileys had been available with 2 engines, the 10.8hp, and the newly-upgraded 11.9hp. Customers had the choice of either engine in their cars, and the split was roughly 50/50 with all bodies, except the 2-seater. This car (unofficially known as the Redwing, due to it's polished aluminium body with Red wings) generally had the 10.8hp. However, despite the success that these models were gaining for Riley, the company had decided that a new model must be developed. The designs for the new 9hp engine / chassis were finished in 1925, and the first few cars were built in early 1926. This was the now famous Riley 9 'series'.   Another 12 months saw the arrival of the 1645cc side-valve ‘Twelve’, which brought more major alterations seen on the Tourers and Redwing.

For further technical information check out the Register PDF on these early cars click here




1920 11hp Riley often sold with the wheel covers then fashionable as in the advert below


Riley grew rapidly at the beginning of the  1920s with the Riley Engine Company producing 10.8 side valves and 11.9 hp engines, while Midland built  bodies mainly in 'Tourer' format according to the buyers wishes . Until 1926 the two engines were used, the 10.8hp and the 11.9hp before being superseded by the  "Riley 9" series.





Riley Torpedo 1921 pictures by Gustavo Gomes The name was also used on later re structured models



 from the Bystander February 1st 1922



10.8 side valve