Riley Cars  1907-18  10hp, 17hp, 12-18hp



1907-11  Riley 9


1909. 10-hp V-twin. Exhibit at the Heritage Motor Centre (Gaydon) ' 2-seater Riley Runabout'

Engine:-  9 hp V two cylinder side valve Capacity: 1,034cc Bore: 86 Stroke: 89 9bhp TRANSMISSION 3-speed gearbox. Suspension:- Front & Rear: Quarter Eliptic Sizes:-Weight:- 9cwt (chassis only).  Wheelbase 6'8" (approximately 2000mm). Track 4'1" (approximately 1230mm). Length 9'10" (approximately 2990mm). Width 5' (approximately 15020mm). Tyres 700x80


1907 advert....  they were not cheap !

 Riley 12 1907
Engine:-  12 hp V two cylinder side valve, Bore 102, Stroke 127, Capacity 2035cc, Gearbox:- 3-speed gearbox. Weight:- 13.25cwt (chassis only), Sizes:- Wheelbase 7'6" / 8'9" (approximately 2250 / 2650mm), Track 4'2" (approximately 1250mm), Length 11'3" / 12'6" (approximately 3410 / 3790mm). Width 5'6" (approximately 1650mm). Tyres 810x90



 Riley 10 1909-14 and again revamped Riley 10 1915-16
By the 1908 Motor Show, another new model had been launched, in the shape of the Riley 10hp. Normally a 2-seater model, with a shortened chassis, and smaller engine than the 12-18hp. At this time much of the development of the Riley Cars was  carried out by Percy (Engines/Mechanics) and Stanley (Body design).  During 1910, the 9hp model was gradually phased-out, leaving the company running a 2-car production line.  Technically a smaller, cheaper version of the 12/18 a few were displayed in shows, a few more built then WW1 intervened. I cannot locate any later version survivors yet or photographs see Robs page
Engine:- 10 hp 4 cylinder side valve, Bore 63 stroke 88, Capacity 1096cc Carburation Zenith, Gearbox:- 3-speed gearbox. Suspension:- Front semi-elliptic Rear 3/4 elliptic, Sizes:- Wheelbase 8' (approximately2430mm) Track 4' (approximately 1210mm)
Engine 1915-16  :-  10hp V two cylinder side valve, Bore 96, stroke 96 Capacity 1390, cc 15 bhp, Gearbox:- 3-speed gearbox. Top gear ratio 4.25:1 Weight:- 11.5cwt (chassis only), Sizes:- Wheelbase 7'6" / 8' (approximately 2280 / 2430mm), Track 4'2" (approximately 1250mm) Length 10'6" / 11'9" (approximately 3190 / 3560mm), Width 5' (approximately 1500mm) Tyres 750x85
AB 1390 1909 Riley 10HP 1390cc V-Twin now at Gaydon/Heritage Museum    Links :- Riley Rob


Early motoring postcard showing man vs hill as a popular pursuit. This was postally used/printed 1905 so the dates in Styles (as started in 1908) do not match there must have been overlap between these later cars and the earlier models or the car is actually a SWB 12/18 ???

 Riley 12/18 1908-14

The 12-18hp, was available in two formats the long and short wheelbase plus as in anything Riley in a vast array of body designs. Known body formats sold are :- 2 seater short wheelbase tourer (1907-10); 5 seater short wheelbase rear-entranced tourer (1907-09); 5-seater Long Wheelbase side-entranced tourer (1907-13; the most popular); Landaulette Long Wheelbase (1909-12); 2 seater short wheelbase Torpedo (AF 676); 2 seater Long Wheelbase Tourer (1911-13); Medico Special Long Wheelbase Coupe (1913). The previous V twin  was the first front-mounted engine in a four wheeled Riley and this followed this 'modern' pattern. The radiator was styled in the  fashionable ellipse causing a more expensive to produce rounded bonnet behind which speedily evolved to a straight sided one. By 1911 the cars were remodeled in the body design plus a  a newly redesigned  rear axle to cope with the improved speed and way the cars ended up being driven see pic below . **All pre-war vehicles have an RAC horsepower rating, which was linked to the Vehicle Excise Duty, and a figure for brake horse power. When the horsepower tax was introduced on 1 January 1910 a formula, known as the RAC Rating, was used to calculate the horsepower Some manufacturers, such as Riley, Rover and Wolseley, used a double rating system and designated a car as eg. 10/25, where the 10 was RAC horsepower and 25 was indicated horsepower**


The same car (BY 1963)  being used properly. . . . with skill

1910 Riley 12'18 Tourer found as a postcard by Eileen Stokes

1910 SWB two seat Torpedo factory/sales photograph



1909 long wheelbase five seater tourer oddly on artillery wheels not wires
 Engine:- 12hp V two cylinder side valve Bore 102, stroke 127, Capacity 2035 cc/18 bhp Carburation:- Longuemare, Riley or Zenith, Gearbox:- 3-speed Riley patent. Top gear ratio 4.25:1 Weight :-13/14cwt (chassis only), Sizes:- Wheelbase 8' / 9' (approximately 2430 / 2730mm), Tracking 4'2" / 4'3" (approximately 1250 / 1270mm), Length 11' / 12'6" (approximately 3340 / 3800mm), Width 5' / 5'1" (approximately 1500 / 1530mm). Tyres:- 810 x 90 on Riley detachable wire wheels 

Medico Special Long Wheelbase Coupe (1913) a.k.a Doctors Coupe



1910 2 seater short wheelbase tourer shown in a factory/sales photograph again on artillery wheels not the Riley factory wires so must have been another factory optional extra = b heavy and a pain to fit. (Looks to be the Colonial model of the preceding V twin page updated and re-named as the radiator is by then 'old school')

Cost:-1907 270 guineas; 1908-09 @ 280 guineas 1910-12 @ 295 guineas (all 5-seater) 1913-14  @ 285 guineas (2-seater torpedo)
Known Survivors  SV4415 1908 V Twin,  AF 676 (1911 2-seater torpedo V Twin engine) ,  BY 1963,   B1524  (Netherlands),
Links:- Riley Robs Page,   

12/18 c. 1910 and chauffeur for William Beveridge
 Riley 17 1914-23
The Riley 17hp was launched just pre WW1 featuring a brand new 4-cylinder, 3 litre engine. As usual with Riley various body styles  were available, but production hardly got under way before war was declared.  Post war with the armistice Riley gives up its separate wheel manufacturing business to focus on the (re) manufacture of the 17hp, an excellent 4-cylinder 3-liter engine presented in first at shows in 1913. After the war , until a new car was developed, the Riley Engine co. continued production of the 17hp. This car continued in production until 1921, when the Horsepower tax was introduced. (All pre-war vehicles have an RAC horsepower rating, which was linked to the Vehicle Excise Duty, and a figure for brake horse power. When the horsepower tax was introduced on 1 January 1910 a formula, known as the RAC Rating, was used to calculate the horsepower Some manufacturers, such as Riley, Rover and Wolseley, started to use a double rating system and designated a car as eg. 10/25, where the 10 was RAC horsepower and 25 was indicated horsepower ) The manufacture of this model continued until 1921 and was the first Riley  model to wear the famous diamond-shaped logo designed by Harry Rush .
 Engine:- 17 hp 4 cylinder side valve, bore 86, stroke 127, Capacity 2932 cc, 58 bhp at 2500rpm, Carburation Zenith, Gearbox:- 3-speed gear, Suspension:- box. Top gear ratio 4.125:1  Front semi-eliptic Rear 3/4-eliptic, Weight:- 27cwt, Sizes:- Wheelbase 10'6" (approximately 3190mm) Track 4'8" (approximately 1490mm) Length 14'6" (approximately 4400mm) Width 5'8" (approximately 1790mm) Tyres 820 x120

One of the few pictures of a Riley 17hp in 1920 the Torpedo pic from Norway Riley /Picture taken at Grov farm at Sand in Norway
Restructuring:
The Riley Motor Manufacturing Co was formed to just make cars in 1912.   Towards the end of 1913, Stanley Riley returned from his world-tour, and transferred his attention from the successful Riley Motor Manufacturing Co., to another Riley satellite  company, 'The Nero Engine Co. Ltd'., which Victor Riley had founded some time earlier. He almost immediately started work on a new 10hp engine, and then a new car to carry it, as a sort of replacement for the discontinued 9hp. The car was finished later in 1914, but the outbreak of war stopped any production. The four oldest brothers were directed to remain in Coventry to deal with work allocated to their works by the Ministry of Munitions - the youngest son, Cecil, enlisted  By 1913 there was a 10hp car from Nero, and the larger 17hp car from Riley Motor Manufacturing Co, both to be exhibited at the 1914 Motor Show.which was cancelled owing to the outbreak of war  .
With the assistance of the Ministry of Munitions, Victor's Nero Engine Co. Ltd. was able during 1916 to move on to  land at Foleshill and the bays of a new works were built for  manufacture of military equipment for serve the British war effort. Later after the war this became the main Riley Works replacing the many small, cramped and old workshops and office in central Coventry which were no longer suitable.  By the Armistice in 1918 Riley (Coventry) Ltd. had ceased wheel manufacture, absorbed the Nero Engine Co, and moved across  to the Foleshill site. Riley Motor Manufacturing Co. meanwhile changed its name  to Midland Motor Body Co.   In January, 1919, the undertaking of the Nero Engine Company, Limited, was acquired, and 50,000 additional shares.The Riley Cycle Co took over the Nero Engine Co Ltd and made cars from 1919 to 1922, until Nero  reverted to producing electric lighting, and engines / equipment for boats, until 1926 based upon Percy's designs.


1911 Riley described as 20/11 !

and by 1912 . . . RILEY CYCLE COMPANY LIMITED. ANNUAL MEETING INCREASED SALES

The annual meeting of the Riley Cycle Company, Ltd., was held at the registered offices, Coventry, to-day. Mr. Victor Riley (Chairman) presided. and there were also present Mesrs. B. Riley, Allan Riley, William Riley, and Herbert J. Riley . (directors), W. Maddock, ( solicitor ), E. F. Peirson (Messrs. E. T. Peirson and Sons, auditors), Geo. Barr (Secretary), and some shareholders. The Chairman, in moving the adoption of the report. and accounts, stated that the profits shown did not in his opinion represent the progress made by the Company. The Company's sales for the 'period under review showed an increase of 47 per cent: over those of the previous financial year, and as an indication of prospects the sales for the current season to date showed an increase of 39 per cent. over these of last year. The disturbed labour conditions prevailing in this country, together with the serious and unchecked foreign competition were, in themselves, grave difficulties. If the general trade of the country was maintained there was a good prospect for the continued  expansion of the Company, and no doubt they would shortly be faced with the necessity of providing increased manufacturing resources. Mr. William Riley seconded, and the resolution was adopted. Mr. B. Riley proposed, Mr. C. Riley seconded, and it was carried unanimously that Mr. Victor Riley, the retiring director, be re-elected. Mr. B. Riley proposed, Mr. Allan Riley seconded, and it was carried unanimously that Messrs. E. T. Peirson and Sons be re-elected Auditors of the Company.

A vote of thanks to the Chairman for presiding ' concluded the proceedings. At the close of this meeting an extraordinary general meeting was held, when on the proposition of the Chairman, seconded by Mr. William Riley, the following resolution was passed: "That the name of the Company be changed from 'The Riley Cycle Company, limited,' to Riley (Coventry) Limited, and that such change shall take effect as from the date of registration of the consent of the Board of Trade." from Coventry Evening Telegraph - Monday 04 March 1912


by 1923. . RILEY (COVENTRY) LIMITED, The directors' report, to be presented at the 27th ordinary general meeting of shareholders, to be held at the Company's Registered Office  Durbar Avenue, Coventry, on December 19, states that after deduction of depreciation there remains a net profit of £8,579 -16s. -11d.. ...which, deducted from the debit balance of £27,589 - 8s. -10d. brought forward, reduces the deficit to be carried forward to next year to £19,009-11s-11d. The retiring directors are Mr. J. Gardiner and Captain G. E. W. Broade, who are eligible and offer themselves for re-election. The auditors, Messrs. E. T. Peirson and Sons, Chartered Accountant', Coventry, retire, and offer themselves for re: election..

The balance-sheet is as follows; Capital and liabilities.—Nominal capital: £350,000 shares of £1 each, £350,000. Capital issued and paid up: 137,313 shares of £1 each, fully paid, £137,313; 5,060 shares of £1 called £5,050, less calls in arrear £4,400, £650—£137,963; forfeited shares account, £8,035 15s.; 6 per cent. redeemable debentures and accrued interest, £3,605: sundry creditors and reserves for accrued liabilities, £47,646 - 8s-. 2d.; deposits, £432-10s.; depreciation reserve amount as at 5th August, 1922, £18,338 -9s. -2d., less amount transferred and included in depreciation. £3,740-0s-7d;   ., £14,598 -8s. -7d.; total, £212,281-1- 9d.

Assets and debit balances Freehold works at Coventry and machinery, tools, jigs, patterns, dies, templates, ete., as as 5th August, 1922, £132,964-15s .. additions £4.295-2s-1d;. , £137,259-17s-Id.; less depreciation, £6,862-19s.-10d.-£130,396-17s-3d.; leasehold property cost £1,774- 8s-Id., less depreciation £147- 17s. -4d., £1,626-10s- 9d:: stockintrade, £39,061 13s . loan to Sports Club, £100; sundry deposit., £113; sundry debtors, less reserves for doubtful debts and allowances, £12,395 -3s-8d;. cash and bills in  hand and at bank, £6,570- ls. -8d: expenses of new capital, as at 5th August.,1922 £27,589-6-10d ,less profit for  the year, £8,579 -16s.-11d., £19,039 -11s. -11d.; total, £212,281- ls. -9d. Coventry Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 12 December 1923

 Above. . . .Although not within the same time frame left together as they show the company development pre WW1 and just post going from a small family firm to a large employer



Article by the Riley Family of the origins of the company from Midland Telegraph December 5th 1930

HOW COVENTRY MADE MOTORING HISTORY. The Riley story provides one of Coventry's best examples of a firm which has risen to great occasion through difficulties and narrowly-averted tragedy, through the rise and decline of the weaving trade, through the boom and severe competition of the manufacture of pedal cycles, to the final production of a first-rate motor car, which is in strong demand. This is the story of Coventry's Industrial  progress throughout the ages, and it is told in tabloid form of the firm which saw birth in a small house in St. Nicholas' Street, with its large upper windows so typical of Coventry weaving structures of the middle of the past century, and culminating in the existing large works at Holbrooks.
 The Riley concern was flourishing in Coventry when the trimming and weaving trades were among its, most staple industries. In the city and its surrounding districts women and children worked in their homes while their men folk were at work in the mine or on the land. The Education Acts of 1870-75 and 1880, of immense national importance though they were, sounded the death knell of these old trades, as child labour was no longer available in the quantities required. Very cheap labour was still available in Gerry many and Austria, however and this Continental competition gradually became more pronounced, while Coventry's weaving and trimming trades found themselves unable to meet the intense competition from the Continent. In 1870, Mr. William Riley (who, though nearly 80 years of age, still retains a keen mental grasp of the affairs of the Riley ) had just taken over the control of his fathers warehouse. He was very quick to see the doom which was slowly settling upon the family's business, and he made the forecast: The hand looms of Austria will beat the looms of Coventry, not because they weave better  for our weavers are the finest in the world, but because of our changing conditions. I can see no scope in this business . . . . . . . . Not only did Mr. Riley live to see his prophesy fulfilled. but also to see his sons take a leaf out of his own book, and endeavour to anticipate the future to an even greater extent than his own caution dictated to be advisable. Looking out for a new scope for his activities, Mr. Riley turned his attention to the cycle boom which was being fostered by Coventry's pioneer work in this realm of light transport, and he bought up the cycle business of Bonnick and Co. So convinced was he that the cycle was one of the trades of the future that he threw his whole energies into it, and in 1896 he closed down the erstwhile flourishing weaving business of William Riley in order to devote his sole attention to bicycle manufacture. In this work he was assisted by his brother, the late Mr. Herbert Riley, who died in 1927, dismal prophesies as to the future of the weaving trade were all too adequately confirmed, and he had the satisfaction of seeing his cycle business providing a retreat for the rainy day which had submerged so many of his more experienced fellow weavers of former days. In 1896 the name of Bonnick and Co. was changed to The Riley Cycle Co.. Ltd. and the capital was increased to meet the growing demands of the cycle market, which was now in a fairly flourishing condition. Even before this date cycle manufacturers had realised the need for some mechanical means of propulsion, and an endeavour was made to the Riley works to perfect a machine which resembled a huge clockspring. It was intended to assist the cyclist in hills. and was so managed that the spring would be wound up again while the machine was running down the next decline. Nothing tangible appears to have developed from this novel idea—the kind of thing one would almost expect to find in a city of watchmakers. The arrival in Coventry streets of a Belle tricycle and the Pennington motor-raft in 1896 aroused the keen interest of the young Riley element. It is not an official part of the Riley story, but it has frequently been stated that Mr. William Riley became quite , alarmed at the " crazy " ideas of his sons,' who were anxious to turn his sedate cycle factory into an experimental shop for motor engines, which were not being made in England at that time, and which were only enjoying a hazardous existence on the Continent.

RILEY CAR IN 1898 What extent it was due to paternal assistance or to personal enthusiasm way be a matter of opinion, but the fact remains that in 1898—only two years after the Daimler Company was formed--Mr Percy Riley had produced the first Riley Car, every portion of which was built in the Riley Cycle Company's works to his own designs. The engine of this car had at least one outstanding feature - it had a mechanically operated inlet valve in place of the automatic inlet, operated by the suction of the engine, which was the  general but inefficient practice at that time. It is claimed to have been the first time this device had been successfully operated in automobile engine design. At all events it later became the stumbling block of a continental firm who sought to impose a patent royalty on the use of mechanically - operated valves in England.
In those days some very primitive methods were adopted of controlling the engine speed. One of the systems in use was that of closing the inlet valve thus preventing the ingress of 'explosive' gasses.In designing his first engine Mr Percy Riley preferred the system of holding the exhaust valve open, claiming that the cooling of the engine was materially improved by allowing it to take in cool air via the exhaust port.
The Pioneer Riley car was in use in Coventry for a number of years and was eventually sold in Belfast. Several attempts have been made to recover it and bring it back home but it has been completely lost sight of, and an offer of £50 for information leading to its recovery is still good.
Greatly to the disappointment of the young members of the Riley family, they were unable to proceed with the production of these early cars. It was particularly unfortunate, in view of the great promise which the pioneer vehicle held out. It is true that the plant of the Company did not permit of car production, but there may be the additional reason that, whereas the market for pedal cycles was good and reasonably certain, the manufacture of motor I cars was extremely expensive and even more speculative at that time. English roads (were in a very poor state, and motor cars were far from popular. Something in the nature of a compromise was effected. In the years 1899 and 1900, besides making bicycles, the . Riley factory was producing motor tricycles, fitted with engines made by some of the beat-known manufacturers of that period. A little later a fourth wheel was added, and, what was known as a Riley Quadricycle, was produced. A Riley motor tricycle put up a track record at about this time. The younger Riley element was dissatisfied with this modest progress. Mr. Percy Riley . , who was in charge of the more progressive section of the Riley Works, had been, engaged in his spare time upon the production of a new water-cooled engine, of what was then the very generous proportions of 8hp.ln this unit he improved upon his original mechanically-operated inlet valve, and incorporated a method of varying the lift of the valve, thus regulating the speed of the engine to the required r.p.m. This engine was extremely successful, and incidentally it was discovered in 1913 driving the plant in a Coventry foundry, still doing well, and showing few signs of wear, despite a hard life of 13 years.
LAUNCHING OUT. The three Riley brothers—Percy, Victor, and Allan—were so enthused with the successful running of this engine that they approached the heads of the Riley Cycle Co. (Messrs. William and Herbert Riley) with persistent requests for the purchase of plant, and the provisions of the necessary money, for the manufacture of these power units on a commercial basis. It was a, very severe disappointment to them that their enthusiasm found little response from their father and uncle, who were still undecided as to the wisdom of entering into this very uncertain market. Neither the money nor the plant was forthcoming. In this dilemma the Riley brothers took a bold step. Pooling their own resources. they obtained financial assistance from both their mother and father, and made arrangements for the purchase This interesting 1905 Riley model was also exceptionally well sprung, and its success paved the way to still better things. The next step was to produce a 9 h.p. water-cooled twin engine, and by 1906 the little tricar was carrying full elliptic springs. This 9 h.p. Riley tricar was a very popular machine, and enjoyed quite a vogue. It was fast, tractable, comfortable, and of good appearance. In its day it left little to be desired in the cycle-car sphere. In competitions it frequently swept the board," its only serious competitors being the late Wilbur Gunn, in his 9 h.p. Legends, and the 9 h.p. Singer tri-car, which was fitted with the Riley engine. Meanwhile, it was found that by the abandonment of the cheaper machines, a number of old friends had been lost, and Mr. Stanley Riley, who had just served his apprenticeship with the Riley Cycle Company, was allowed to try his hand at the design of a smaller and cheaper tricar. He produced a 5 h.p. model, selling at £685, and it proved a popular success. One of these cars is still in excellent running order, and frequently appears at carnivals and rallies. Eventually it was found that the single rear wheel was holding these little vehicles back. There were serious tyre troubles on the rear wheel, for tyres were not perfect in those days, even to the extent that they are to-day. In 1905, the original Riley 9 h.p. car was produced, selling at the remarkable figure of £l68. It was much faster than anything else in its price class, and even exceeded the 9 h.p. Tricar in popularity. It was built upon a flat duplex tubular frame, with quarter elliptic springs all round. The same engine and gear box was used as in the Tricar, and final drive was by a central chain to a rear axle carrying a differential. It was a consistent winner in sports events—a fact which was not surprising, as it was actually the well-tried Tricar with a fourth wheel. of the required plant o n sufficiently generous terms to allow them to forge ahead. They launched the Riley Engine Co. The original factory was known as the Castle Works, adjoining the Cook Street gate, while a part of the old city wall formed one side of the factory. .
The Engine Co. was started in 1903, Mr. Percy Riley leaving the Riley Cycle Co., Ltd., to take over entire control. At that time the Riley Cycle Co., Ltd., were buying engines for their tricycles and quadricycles, but public opinion was slowly swinging round in favour of motor cycles. The Riley Engine Co. therefore concentrated upon lighter engines, and was soon turning out a range of 3 h.p., h.p., 21 h.p. t and 41 h.p. power units, all of which incorporated a novel and patented Valve gear, consisting of a single cam and two rockers.
" VALVE OVERLAP " PIONEERING. Another of Mr. Percy Riley's important innovations was the system of valve overlap, which he appreciated far in advance of other designers, and he made his first road experiments in this direction on a twin air-cooled engine of 6 h.p.
Then the forecar was added, the result being a tricycle " the wrong way round," i.e., with two wheels in front instead of behind. A very successful 4.5 h.p. watercooled engine was built for this machine. In the first place it was fitted with a lever operated clutch. Later a two-speed gearbox was added, with a band-brake, and 'a foot controlled clutch. This proved to be the last of the cycle type of machine which tho Riley concern built with a diamond type of frame. Already the saddle had been replaced by a comfortable upholstered seat, and the machine had become. the connecting link between a motor cycle and a cycle car.
In 1905 a machine was produced which constituted a considerable advance. it, was a 6 h.p. tricar, and really consisted of a three-wheeler motor car in most senses of the word as it was then understood. The engine was water cooled, of entirely new design, and a three speed gear box and clutch was fitted athwart the frame. The final drive was by roller chain to the single rear wheel. Even the gear box was designed by Percy Riley, with patented features, and it incorporated a reverse. In many novel respects thin little car was ahead of its time in its own lightweight class.
The gears for instance. were of the constant mesh type—a system which has been talked of quite a lot in the last year or two. Instead of the teeth gliding in and out of engagement to offset changes, dog clutches were used. The result was a gearbox which was genuinely fool-proof and remarkably silent. while the teeth could not be damaged when changing gear. This gear box had also many of the elements of the latest " pre selector gear box " which has caused a motoring sensation within the last two years. The box was so arranged that the lever could be forced into any position in the gear quadrant, regardless of car speed. When the car speed and engine speed approached the correct ratio, the gears automatically engaged themselves under the action of the coil spring gears Aing this dog clutches.
This interesting 1905 Riley model was also exceptionally well sprung, and its success paved the way to still better things. The next step was to produce a 9 h.p. water-cooled twin engine, and by 1906 the little tricar was carrying full elliptic springs. This 9 h.p. Riley tricar was a very popular machine, and enjoyed quite a vogue. It was fast, tractable, comfortable, and of good appearance. In its day it left little to be desired in the cycle-car sphere. In competitions it frequently swept the board," its only serious competitors being the late Wilbur Gunn, in his 9 h.p. Legends, and the 9 h.p. Singer tri-car, which was fitted with the Riley engine. Meanwhile, it was found that by the abandonment of the cheaper machines, a number of old friends had been lost, and Mr. Stanley Riley, who had just served his apprenticeship with the Riley Cycle Company, was allowed to try his hand at the design of a smaller and cheaper tricar.
He produced a 5 h.p. model, selling at £85, and it proved a popular success. One of these cars is still in excellent running order, and frequently appears at carnivals and rallies. Eventually it was found that the single rear wheel was holding these little vehicles back. There were serious tyre troubles on the rear wheel, for tyres were not perfect in those days, even to the extent that they are to-day. In 1905, the original Riley 9 h.p. car was produced, selling at the remarkable figure of £ l68. It was much faster than anything else in its price class, and even exceeded the 9 h.p. Tricar in popularity. It was built upon a flat duplex tubular frame, with quarter elliptic springs all round. The same engine and gear box was used as in the Tricar, and final drive was by a central chain to a rear axle carrying a differential. It was a consistent winner in sports events—a fact which was not surprising, as it was actually the well-tried Tricar with a fourth wheel.
NINE "HORSES" IN 1907 AND 1921. It is here interesting, to compare what a 9 h.p. engine could do in 1907 as compared with the modern equivalent. In the former year Mr. Victor Riley was placed second on handicap in tho Shelsey Walsh event on a 9 h.p. Riley, completing the climb in 2 min.23.5sec . In 1929 a 9 h.p. Riley saloon won the President's Cup in the same event with a time of 69.2 secs. It was the same hill and the same, (theoretical) horse power on each occasion. The Riley brothers were still dissatisfied with the perpetual tyre troubles of this period. The Stepney wheel had been introduced, but in the words of Mr. Percy Riley it was " not a satisfactory job." It eventually resulted in the production of the Riley detachable wire wheel, which was first used on this model towards the end of its life in 1907. Incidentally, it is interesting to note that in 1903 the committee of the French Grand Prix debarred the use of detachable wire wheels on the grounds that competing cars were not allowed to carry " spare parts " during the event. Another very important development in the Riley history is the fact that it was the first factory to include a detachable wire wheel as standard equipment. Meanwhile the Riley Cycle Co., Ltd.,was gradually loosening its bold upon the pedal cycle market, and the manufacture of freewheel clutches—another of Mr. Percy Riley's patents. Finally, the cycle company devoted itself entirely to the manufacture of motor cars. In 1907 the Riley Cycle Co., Ltd., introduced the 12/18 h.p. light car, which was entirely new, and which was - the first Riley model to have a pressed steel frame. The power plant was a water-cooled twin, and the first of the type produced had a splendid competition record. It was known as " Old Midnight," due to the fact that final preparations upon it were rarely completed until the " witching hour."
1930 Body Lines in 1904;The next production was the 10hp model which had a pressed steel frame,and was built to many of the ideas of Mr William Riley. The actual designer was Mr Stanley Riley, and the remarkable foresight in the matter of building lines showed itself here for the 10hp has a peculiarly modern look about it.
The manner in which his latest Monaco and Stelvio saloon designs have been copied gives further instances of this trait, which can be traced in a number of earlier Riley productions. There is in existence a diary which Mr Stanley Riley kept while at school in 1904 which contains a sketch which bears a remarkable resemblance to the Riley Nine tourer of today , including such features as the low build, dropped floors, with the feet of the driver and passenger projecting under the bonnet, together with the modern type of foot pedal control.
The 12/18 hp cars lived in favour from 1908 to 1913, and the outbreak of war caused a severe check to the career of the 17/30hp and a new 10hp which came along in 1913 and 1914. By this time the Riley Motor Manufacturing company had been formed, and the new 17/30hp car had a patented sleeve valve engine,while it was also the first Riley to incorporate a four cylinder monobloc engine. The sleeve valve patents were eventually disposed of to America at a handsome figure.
During the war the Riley works were given over to the manufacture of war material, and in 1916 land was acquired at Foleshill for the furtherance of this work, the first bays of the present Riley works being built. The post-war reorganisation of the Company is modern history . . . . . . The Riley story is one of adaptability and determination on the part of its family of proprietors, applied with great flair for engineering skill and ability in design.