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Riley  Biarritz




 (1931 Riley 9 Biarritz  Date of first registration: 10/02/1931. Vin number: 601238*. Engine number: 28892/  sold @ Tennants )

Riley Biarritz 'Silent Saloon' was launched in 1928 designed by Percy and Stanley Riley as a  more de-luxe body on the 9 chassis to replace the Riley San Remo. Initially it was launched as a full fabric saloon, but later became half panelled. From a distance it looked similar to the Monaco, but there were in fact a lot of differences between the two. At the rear, it featured a split rear window, and a one-piece, full width rear hinged luggage boot. As on other de luxe cars there were roof ventilators and at the front one piece bonnet lid, without the more normal scuttle panel between. It was, compared to the other models launched at the same time, a succesful addition to the range, with perhaps as many as 4 or 500 produced over the first 3 years. Lasted in varying formats until 1932 many half panelled.

Clubs for this model:  The Riley Register,     The Riley Motor Club,    &  those from other countries listed here




Data for Biarritz
ENGINE  9hp 4 cyl ohv; Bore 60.3; stroke 95.2; compression 5.2:1; Capacity 1087 cc; 42bhp at 3600rpm; Carburetors Zenith; 4-speed gearbox. Top gear ratio 5.2:1
SUSPENSION Semi-elliptic ; DIMENSIONS Wheelbase 9' /2730mm Track 3'11" / 1180mm Length / width: various bodies; Tyres 27x4.40; 17cwt 863.64kg      PRICE £325

Remaining Known cars :-12 +  The last chassis number will be replaced by an asterisk unless pics are public
Some are listed in Styles in 1982 but missing

AVC 408     chassis   15042 missing  but known  in 1982
BF 541 *    chassis   6087 registered 1929
DR 787 *  chassis number 6011717 1931 9hp Labelled Biarritz/Monaco? was Biarritz in 1982 rebodied ?
DY 466 *    chassis   chassis number 60498 *  registered    1929
GK 409 *    chassis   chassis number 601162 *  registered 1931   
GO 1185    chassis   601306 * registered 1931   
FL 766 *    chassis   chassis number 604331 registered 1929
JN 316      chassis   6010463  missing  but known  in 1982
KH 9918    chassis   607873 missing  but known  in 1982
MY 2447     chassis   608096  fabric bodied car when for sale "This car was bought by my grandfather in the 1930s. When he died in 1973 my father acquired it and started repairing and restoring it. It was last on the road, to my knowledge, in the early 80s, and was taxed up till the 90s." registered    1930
OF 4753    chassis   ????  in Australia   where fabric bodied cars have a chance ! registered 1929
0Y 8 *    chassis   601191 * registered 1931      see pics above from Wroxall 2019
PL 549 *    chassis   6012507 registered  1930
TS 9280     chassis   6013637  missing  but known  in 1982
TS 9053     chassis   6012159  first registered 24 January 1931, 1056cc Amberley Vintage Car Show 2014   
TU 9039    chassis   601804  missing  but known  in 1982
UR 421 *    chassis   606283 registered 1929
UU 1662      chassis      604876  missing  but known  in 1982
VC 707 *    chassis   601242 * registered 1931 
VC 8602     chassis   6013091   missing  but known  in 1982
VD 51 *    chassis   601254 * registered 1931   
VE 4849     chassis   6012490    missing  but known  in 1982
VK 3968 1931 Riley 9 Biarritz R:  Date of first registration: 10/02/1931 Vin number: 6012384 Engine number: 28892     ** This is NOT for sale on ebay but is often offered by a pathetic  fraudster in Russian Ukraine not wherever he says he is that day, money trail goes to Russia ** 
VX  916 *    chassis   601187 * registered 1931     
WW 916 *     chassis  registered 604265 
XBV 52 *     chassis   601314 *  Biarritz Estate 9 registered 1931    Normally rebodied just post war due to tax and petrol rationing rules.War was declared on 3rd September 1939 and the Government was ready by the 8th of September with its coupons for rationing petrol which it called 'motor spirit'. Coupons could be collected from a Post Office and were dated the 15th of September. However, they could not be used until the 16th of September when the rationing was to come into force. Only two coupons were available at this time. Then in 1942 petrol for private use was withdrawn completely. It was only available for work deemed essential, and a special permit was needed to obtain it. Cars were therefore absent from the roads. All large cars were confiscated and converted into vans and ambulances some into what was later termed utility ie working vehicles.   On  1 June 1948: The Motor Spirit (Regulation) Act 1948 was passed, ordering a red dye to be to put into some petrol, and that red petrol was only allowed to be used in commercial  + 'utility' vehicles. A private car driver could lose his driving licence for a year if red petrol was found in his car.

Estate cars were then termed 'Utility cars' in the UK and depot wagons or station wagons in the USA  and most were built on RM chassis with a few pre war cars rebodied including this Biarritz and at least two Monaco, one being a van, for more see RM special bodies page and the pre war converted cars page

 Special Originally a  Riley Biarritz :-1931 9HP:- ?? (601031*);

There will be others in other clubs and countries please click + email info




Original newspaper Articles :-

RILEY (COVENTRY) LTD
Other people's opinions of the Wonder Car No.7' The first of a series "The Riley Monaco Saloon had always aroused my intense admiration it seemed like the high water mark in small car construction hence I was quite unprepared for the shock when the manufacturers out Rileyed Riley and produced in the Biarritz a body even more chaste and again "I think we Britishers ought to feel very proud of the Riley. A few years ago foreigners practically had the monopoly of the 1,100 c.c. class, but in the last London Land's End out of forty-three entries in this category all but ten were British and the Rileys alone numbered twenty-eight a complete change if ever there was one.
from " MARMADUKE" in the Lightcar Cyclecar," June 7th.
The Riley 9 Biarritz Saloon referred to above. Full details from COVENTRY and 42 North Audley Street London.



RILEY (COVENTRY) LTD., "The Riley possesses an individuality in design which is unquestioned But there is something more an unseen individuality in a word, a performance excelling anything put up by any other car within its class. And all this proves reliability unequalled Here is evidence read Mr. Raymond Mays' letter June 2nd 1930. "Dear Sirs, I should like to tell you how delighted I am with my Riley Nine Biarritz Saloon I have now run the Car for eight months under all sorts of strenuous conditions, and the Car has not cost me one penny in repairs or adjustments. I have driven Cars of all types and sizes and can honestly say I do not know of a more fascinating Car in fact, the more Cars one drives the more one realises the merits of the Riley I fully understand the great enthusiasm of all Riley Nine owners. The outstanding features of the Riley Nine are 1. The amazingly high average speeds obtained with complete comfort and safety. 2. The liveliness and economy of the engine the petrol consumption working out at well over 30 m.p.g. May I congratulate you on a really thoroughbred Car in which the full meaning of the word "Efficiency" plays a greater part than in any Car I know Yours faithfully, Raymond Mays  "
Note the World's Records put up by Eldridge and pt G.E.T. Eyston, Now can you find another car in the 1,100 c. class which would dare to submit to this sealed bonnet test over a similar distance demonstrates beyond dispute the super-reliability which, irrespective of speed, is a guarantee of all that you desire. Let us arrange a trial run. COVENTRY and 42 NORTH AUDLEY STREET, LONDON, W.i RILEY (COVENTRY) LTD.,
from The Bystander - Wednesday 25 June 1930

CAR CAMEOS: Riley Nine 
This is a car for which I have the profoundest respect and the most resolute liking, not so much because it has scored many notable successes in competition (which are certainly to be quoted to its credit) but because it seems to me to be, both in theory and in practice, the best example yet to hand of what a light car can be when sponsored by an intelligent and enterprising manufacturer. This fact is widely recognized and I do not suppose that there is any car in its class that has anything like the Riley's vogue.
    As a consequence of this it naturally follows that there are a number of Riley Nine owners amongst the circle of my motoring acquaintance. Had I no personal knowledge of the car itself I should still not hesitate to declare that it is an exceptionally good one, for I have yet to hear from these owners a word in its dispraise. They are all enthusiasts about it and, for that matter, so am I.
    The Biarritz saloon which is a little bit more expensive than the highly popular Monaco that I re cently had the pleasure of driving has been worked hard by one of those fortunates who have little to do in life but sit behind a steer ing-wheel. Yet it was as tight a job as if it had only just gone through i t s running period. But there was one thing that was con spicuously not tight," and that was the gal lant little engine. What a truly amazing power plant this is. I do not know exactly how many horses it develops, but it gets all that one could possibly ask for, and right through its scale it pulls with a happy heartiness that is most pleasing. Of flat spots there is an entire absence.
    The extremely easy change gear-box, with the silent third of which the Riley firm were the pioneers, enables one to make the most of this willing flow of power, and quite astonishing speed and acceleration is readily to be had on the indirect ratios. In these circumstances it is the simplest matter in the world to put up averages far beyond the scope of much bigger cars (carrying the same number of passengers). Moreover, the braking and road-holding are so good that great liveliness can be indulged in with perfect safety. And now I must say a word about the body. This I think is generally recognized as one of the best things of its kind that has ever been built. It is a four-door, four-light, close-coupled saloon, with a capacious moulded boot at the tail, and it is a wonderful example of what can be done on a chassis of quite short wheel-base. It provides very comfortable accommodation for four more than full-sized people. Not only, too, are they not squeezed, but they have an elegant width of unobscured vision. Furthermore, the doors are so well planned that ihey can all get in and out with per fect facility. There tire a great many cars of greater size which are nothing like so good as the Riley in this important respect. 
       Altogether a thoroughly jolly, sport ing, comfortable, lusty, and desirable little car, which shows incident ally that advanced per formance is by 110 means incompatible with very low costs of upkeep. The makers, with good reason, claim it to be a car of very small depreciation. This applies both to value and to mechanism. THE RILEY NINE
from The Tatler - Wednesday 13 May 1931