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Riley Kestrel. . .9h.p.

 Kestrel 9hp  here     Kestrel Fours 12/4+16/4+ Kestrel Sprite  here       Kestrel Sixes 12/6+ 14/6 + 15/6  here   Big Four here


One of the best looking sporty vintage saloons ever made and the most  obviously 'Art Deco' design of any Riley models. It was technically a lowered Monaco with the roof line sculpted downwards and backwards to reach the rear of the boot giving an aerodynamic profile. This was a concious decision to design a model not easily copied by competitors like MG and to create their own fashion. The initial models had an almost Monaco front end and interior with the addition of pneumatic cushion squabs and a slightly longer  chassis frame to allow the streamlining.. The first 9hp were $308 with the 12/6 at £348 and the 14/6 at £375 so not the cheapest available.
During 1934-5  about 700-800 of the 4-light Kestrels were produced, plus a few Kestrel 'Sprites' although there is no indication with the chassis number. The design  was essentially identical to that  fitted to the larger 12/6  cars, but mounted on the improved chassis with a shorter bonnet. By 1936 the whole 12/4 range was revised and re-launched as  '1½ Litre'. There were numerous improvements to the chassis, but the most obvious alteration  was that the Kestrel had a new 6-light profile.
 RAC Rating 11.9hp All pre-war vehicles have an RAC horsepower rating, which was linked to the Vehicle Excise Duty or VED, aka Road Tax, Car Tax, Tax Disc and Road Fund Licence, 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 . This formula was based on 'applied theory' and derived from basic principles rather than from the results of a bench test. It had three assumptions which never varied: a mean effective cylinder pressure of 90 psi; a mechanical efficiency of 75% and a mean piston speed of 1000 ft/min. hp = ( D2 x n ) / 2.5 where D = the diameter of the cylinder in inches and n = the number of cylinders. The Vehicle Excise Duty payable was: 0 to 6.5hp – 2 guineas (£2.10); <12hp – 3 guineas (£3.15); <16hp – 4 guineas (£4.20); <26hp – 6 guineas (£6.30); <33hp – 8 guineas (£8.40); <40hp – 10 guineas (£10.50); <60hp – 21 guineas (£22.05). The rate was changed to £1per hp on 1 January 1921, encouraging an interest in light cars and effectively limited large engines to luxury cars.
By 1930, engine developments meant that the effective cylinder pressure was 125 psi, and piston speed had doubled. Some manufacturers, such as Rover, 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 RAC Rating was used until 1947 and replaced by a flat rate of £10 per year for all cars until recent changes where tax is based upon pollutants.

Engine 4cyl ohv;    Bore 69 ;  Stroke 100; Size 1496 cc; 51bhp at 4800rpm / 55bhp at 5200rpm; Carbs' Zenith, a pair of  Zenith or a pair of SU;  4-speed gearbox with top gear ratio 5.5:1 3rd G/r 7.84:1 2nd G/r 11.64:1 1st G/r 20.09:1 Reverse 25.19:1 Suspension Semi-elliptic springs; Brakes are Girling Mechanical Rod width edge operated shoes 13" drums; Speed 0-50mph 19.2sces Standing Quarter Mile 24.5 secs Max speed 73.6mph unless downhill.  Fuel Consumption 28.3mpg Sizes Wheelbase 9'1"/ 2730mm Tracking 4' /1200mm Length 13'7"/x 4110mm; Width 4'11.5"/1500mm;  Wheels Dunlop centre lock wire 3.0x18; Tyres 4.75x18; Weight 23.5cwt; Fuel Tank 10 galls

Special Series Option Knowledge so far; please add if you know more:-The special series 12/4 features a big valve cylinder head and twin zenith carbs. The “sprite series” cars feature a cross flow cooling system and different oil filter arrangement.   On the early “special series” option additions were more aesthetic rather than mechanical. (Eg sunroof and non standard colours)




1933 Riley Kestrel 9 © CLIFF JONES PHOTOGRAPHY

  Kestrel Chassis codes:-

Chassis number totals after the code indicate the total of that engine/chassis type so includes Falcons,Lincocks  etc but are included as if your car is not within these parameters check as recently many have been sold as 1936 with a 1937 chassis etc

602-> 9 hp Kestrel ie pre chassis code (until July 1935)
S66K 1935 9hp Kestrel (from August 1935 numberss between 101-2200 )
44T 1933-4 14/6 Kestrel saloon (from Oct '32 numberss between 101-1300 )
44T 1935-7 15/6 Kestrel saloon (from Oct '34 numberss between 2244-2499 )
46K, 1936 on 12/6 and 15/6 Kestrel saloon ( from July 1935 numbers between 2500-3000)
47K, 1936 on 15/6 Kestrel saloon ( from Oct' 1936 numbers between 3001-3299)
48K 1937 on 15/6 Kestrel saloon ( from Oct' 1937 numbers between 3300 -?????)
49K 1939 on Nuffield Kestrel saloon ( from June 1939 numbers between 1501-1613)
87K 8/90 Kestrel saloon ( from Oct' 1935 shorter wheelbase numbers between 101 -109)
87K 8/90 Kestrel saloon ( from Oct' 1936 longer wheelbase numbers between 201 -211)
22T 1935 four light saloon; 12/4 Narrow track  using Midland Bodies ( from Oct' 1934 numbers between 101-2199 )
26K 1936 six light saloon;  Wide  track  using Midland Bodies ( from July 1935 numbers between 2201-5000 )
27K 1937 six light saloon;  Wide  track  using Midland Bodies ( from October 1936 numbers between 5001-7200 )
28K 1938 six light saloon;  Wide  track  using Midland Bodies ( from October 1937 numbers between 7201-7950 'ish)
28KX 1938 six light saloon; += Overdrive gearbox Wide  track  using Midland Bodies ( from July 1935 numbers between 1001-1314)
SS = Sprite engine,   S = Special series engine upgrade 

 Known cars :- 1933 KESTREL 9hp      live cars in bold

AAL 80*   Chassis   6022440
AAL 80*   Chassis   6022440
AMM 52* 
  Chassis   602381*
 BBH 49*   Chassis   602526*
KV 583*   Chassis   602211*     
OD 653*   Chassis   602244*   
180*   Chassis   602246*
JO 9700   Chassis   6023573  Last Known 2006

  Known cars :- 1934 KESTREL 9hp         
AER 144    Chassis  6025112   Tourer Historic Special Last Known 2006
AHP 20*    Chassis   602532*
ATA 77*   Chassis   6025003      
AWA 20*   Chassis   6024826     
AXA 20*    Chassis   6022995
AXP 9*    Chassis   6023428),     
AXP 92*    Chassis   602329*
AYB 88*    Chassis   602724*
AYB 337    Chassis   6027013  Last Known 2006
AYK 59*    Chassis   6025671
BBH 49*    Chassis   6025267
BGC 50*    Chassis   6026021 under restoration bought dismantled
BGU 47*    Chassis   602522*
BHK 21*    Chassis   6025745
BMH 942     Chassis   6024970 Last Known 2006
BND 74     Chassis   6027111  HISTORIC SPECIAL Last Known 2006
BPE 90*    Chassis   6024688
BPF 1*      Chassis   6025814 under restoration
BPF 51*    Chassis   602581*
BVW 735     Chassis   6027175 Last Known 2006
BYG 263    Chassis   6025132   Last Known 2006
DM 888*    Chassis   602454*
EG 139*    Chassis   6024817
EU 299 *    Chassis   602570*
FD 832*    Chassis   602217*
FD 832*    Chassis   6024977
FJ 9607    Chassis   6023446  Last Known 2006
FV 4825     Chassis   6025948 Last Known 2006
GR 469     Chassis   6023895  Last Known 2006
JA 478*    Chassis   602590*
JB 367*     Chassis   6024217
JF 645*    Chassis   602465*
JO 970*    Chassis   602357*
JU 443*    Chassis   602470*
JY 4542     Chassis   6025261 Last Known 2006
KV 431     Chassis   6023118 Last Known 2006
KV 9485    Chassis   6024873 Ulster Imp Historic Special Last Known 2006
KV 74*    Chassis   602413*
KV 743*    Chassis   602311*
KV 767*    Chassis   602421*
KV 677     Chassis   6024212  Last Known 2006
KV 5835     Chassis   6022115  Last Known 2006
LRL 46*     Chassis   6023864 WAS J 9075
LV 786*    Chassis   6023498
MJ 460*    Chassis   6025927
MN 1934 WAS RV 6058    Chassis   6025323 Last Known 2006
NV 464*    Chassis   602541*
OD 927 *    Chassis   602570*
OC 798*    Chassis   602420*
OY 971*    Chassis   6024816
UJ 402*    Chassis   602530*
43* UXY    Chassis   602611*
USS 923    Chassis   6025654 Last Known 2006
VD 308*    Chassis   6022706
VG 652*    Chassis   602463*
VG 6583   Chassis   6025892  Historic Special Last Known 2006
??*    Chassis   602520*
WF 6686     Chassis   6025900  Last Known 2006
WV 7183     Chassis     Last Known 2006
     Chassis   6024856 IN OZ Last Known 2006
    Chassis   6024897  Last Known 2006


Remaining Known cars :- 1935 KESTREL 9hp       
AON 94*   Chassis   6025290   
AHP 992   Chassis   6027119 Tourer Special  Last Known 2006
AR 38*   Chassis   602506*      
BCE 29*   Chassis   6027429  
BLU 67*   Chassis   6027005
BLX 371   Chassis   6027056 Last Known 2006
BLX 378    Chassis   6027134  Last Known 2006  Tourer Special
BNE  57*    Chassis   6027660
BVW 735    Chassis   6027175 Last Known 2006
BXD 86*    Chassis   602718*
 BXP 131    Chassis   6027531 Historic Special  Last Known 2006
CND 87*    Chassis   6027536
CPC 89*   Chassis   6027007
DT 612*   Chassis   602747*
FD 899*   Chassis   602715*
JD 5508    Chassis   6027565 Last Known 2006
JF 962*   Chassis   6027357
JU 569*    Chassis   6027131
KG 7783    Chassis   6027378 Last Known 2006
MER 19*   Chassis   602734*
OW 550*   Chassis   6027055   
RILEY*    Chassis   602739*       
WN 787*    Chassis   KESTREL VAN 6027375      Blue Diamond !
WV 718*   Chassis   602720*    
UP 974*   Chassis   602704*     
US 592*    Chassis   602565*       
CHASSIS ONLY  6025066 Last Known 2006

  Known cars :- 1936 KESTREL 9hp          
ANP 999    Chassis   S66K 1694 Last Known 2006
AR 293* (NO BODY    Chassis   S66K19* 
BRW 30*    Chassis   S66K 145* 
BWE 201    Chassis   S66K 515 Historic Special Last Known 2006
BYC 74*   Chassis   S66K 1833  
CLU 677    Chassis   S66K 1328 Historic Special Last Known 2006
CUV 14*    Chassis    S66K 1418  
CWL 849    Chassis   S66K 1477 Historic Special needs a replacement chassis any donors???
CYL 5*    Chassis   S66K 1758 
DMH 563    Chassis   SS67K1423Last Known 2006
DPJ 41   Chassis   S66K 1430 Historic Special  Last Known 2006
EG 271*   Chassis   66K 136*           
JB 783*   Chassis   S66K 71*    complete running, well used
JC 377*/PEU I93    Chassis   S66K180*       
WS 621*   Chassis   S66K47*,
KG 8617 (AOJO 85)     Chassis   S66K 1755 NOW Last Known 2006 Sweden

Lost Kestrels:-   RV  4926 1934 car,   CKB 788 in 1937,   J 128 ( Jersey ?),    AWN 230  and also,   AVE 500     ,

Non Uk cars are listed where known by their Uk registration number as anyone working within the military or civil service could take their vehicles pre war meaning many vehicles spread throughout the world in addition to exports. The last chassis and registration  number is replaced with an *asterisk but known to the clubs .There will be others in other clubs and countries please click + email info

Media:    Video of a 1934 Kestrel ,     The Art Deco Cars Book click here      Riley Kestrel Specials data click here

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





1934 Riley 'nine' wheel + dashboard




1934 Riley 'nine' engine in regularly used format

Original Newspaper Articles:-






1937 12/4 Riley Kestrel © CLIFF JONES PHOTOGRAPHY




First car advert showing aerodynamic properties. . .  by Riley




1934 advert to say relevant in 1936 !