Riley Kestrel. . .9h.p.

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




1933 Riley Kestrel 9 © CLIFF JONES PHOTOGRAPHY

Prefix 866K for 1936;s  26K  for 1936; 27K for 1937; 28K for 1938 and  28KX if the overdrive gearbox was fitted, 38KX if the overdrive gearbox was fitted  for the later 1938-9  model, 49K for the few 1939 carsThe data on these is split by year and engine type also as many many Kestrel models survive. I have not included specials made from Kestrels as all are individual items and this data was enough to sort !


Remaining Known cars :- KESTREL 9hp . 

1933:          AAL 80* ( Chassis number 602244*),      AMM 52* ( 602381*),    BBH 49* ( 602526*),     KV 583* ( 602211*),      OD 653* ( 602244*),    180* ( 602246*),

1934:-       AHP 20* ( Chassis number 602532*),      ATA 77* ( 602500*),       AWA 20* ( 602482*),      AXA 20* ( 602299*),      AXP 9* ( 602342*),      AXP 92* ( 602329*),     AYB 88* ( 602724*),    AYK 59*  (602567*)        BBH 49* ( 602526*),      BGC 50* ( 602602*),      BGU 47* ( 602522*),    BHK 21*  ( 602574*),       BPE 90* ( 602468*),      BPF 51* ( 602581*),      DM 888* ( 602454*),      EG 139* ( 602481*),     EU 299 *  ( 602570*),      FD 832* ( 602217*),      FD 832* ( 602497*),      JA 478* ( 602590*),      JB 367* ( 602421*),      JF 645* ( 602465*),      JO 970* ( 602357*)      JU 443* ( 602470*),      KV 74* ( 602413*),      KV 743* ( 602311*),    KV 767* ( 602421*),         LRL 46* ( 602386*),      LV 786* ( 602349*),     MJ 460* ( 602592*)       NV 464* ( 602541*),    OD 927 *  ( 602570*)      OC 798* ( 602420*),      OY 971* ( 602481*),      UJ 402* ( 602530*),,      43* UXY ( 602611*),      VD 308* ( 602270*),       VG 652* ( 602463*),      ??* ( 602520*),

1935:-      AON 94*  ( Chassis number 602529*)    AR 38* ( 602506*)        BCE 29* ( 602742*),       BLU 67* ( 602700*),      BNE  57*  ( 602766*),       BXD 86* ( 602718*),     CND 87*  (602753*),     CPC 89*  (602700*),        DT 612* ( 602747*),       FD 899* ( 602715*)     JF 962*  (602735*),     JU 569*  ( 602713*),      MER 19*  (602734*)    OW 550*  (602705*)    RILEY*  (602739*)        WN 787* ( KESTREL VAN 602737* )     WV 718*  ( 602720*),,       UP 974* ( 602704*),       US 592* ( 602565*),          

1936:-,        AR 293* (NO BODY Chassis number S66K19*) ,   BRW 30* ( S66K145*),    BYC 74* ( S66K183*),     CUV 14* ( S66K141*)     CYL 5*  (  S66K175*)            EG 271*  ( 66K136*),            JB 783*  ( S66K71*),    JC 377*/PEU I93 (S66K180*),        WS 621* ( S66K47*),

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 !