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Riley Merlin 1936-7

 The Riley Merlin is another like the Kestrel with streamlined Art Deco styling designed by Percy and Stanley Riley  and spruced up by the factory design team  the ‘Nine’ was the highest-selling quality light  car in the inter-war period. Early models  were the fabric-bodied Riley Monaco and  four seater tourer, both powered by the four cylinder 1087cc engine in production from 1927. Due to steady sales, other body  options followed quickly; almost cornering the light-car market, offering vehicles that appealed to all. An improved Wilson or Armstrong Siddeley pre-selector gearbox arrived in 1934 and  a deal was made with the manufacturer Briggs to produce a  steel body for the updated chassis 12/4. Merlin's were the first in the  new saloon body,  equipped with Girling rod brakes. For 1936, the Riley Monaco name was  dropped after almost nine years and replaced with the Merlin although a few '36 Monaco exist.

The Merlin was NOT a cheap version of the Falcon as some state as the chassis was three inches shorter in the wheelbase ( 8 foot 10 inches) with differing crankcase/crankpins ( Birmingham p 189). For technical specs Styles " As old as' p.101

Whoever thought a 9 engine plus a hefty steel Briggs saloon body was a good idea was obviously a much slower driver than me ( weight on the road was 863.64 kilo). The 9hp car although it is improved with the pre select gearbox is lumpy and slowish and even being £30 cheaper than the 1937 re-introduced Monaco was gradually phased out as sales flatlined and few special series and the better 12/4 survived. If you find a 12/4 Merlin treasure it as a useful car, decent engine, decent gearbox and woefully under priced until chopped by an idiot to construct a 'special' when it often triples its value (9's are nice but slower and less fun than the 12/4 so check and buy the better engine. . .  my opinion only). This means the remaining 12/4 saloons are becoming seriously rare and when driven are a delight. If you like to drive well within most speed limits go for the 9hp engined version but not if in a hilly area !

Specials made from destroyed cars (woodworm/crashes etc) now need full documentation for both the VSCC and the clubs which hopefully means saloons will cease to be donors whilts some still remain. Some known cars  listed on the special page and further down the page were rebuilt after major crashes and as such are 'historic specials' done to 'make do and mend' and never to be confused with modern chop tops. Remember in the Uk it rains, snows, is cold etc and that pretty open top special if constructed from a previously sound car does not make you look cool, just a rich person with little taste who destroys history for a few weeks in summer.

Merlin Links :- Video of restored 9 ( turn down the music first helps )   1. Bodywork,  2. Engine,  3. Driving + Finished,  Riley Robs 9 Merlin Page, Riley Robs 12/4 Merlin Page ,  Bonhams sale DKO 509  ,  694 YUB when sold,  JT 6009 when being sold 2019,  Page on JT as the ONLY untouched early Merlin totally original,  ASL 682 when sold by Robin Lawton (video)

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

The last chassis and registration number is replaced with an *asterisk if there are no images or information publicly available but will be known to the clubs . There will be others in other clubs and countries please click + email info




1937 Merlin sold at H&H in 2016 pics by them



Advert from The Sphere - Saturday 05 October 1935

Riley Merlin in Films + TV:-
1936 Riley Nine Merlin Saloon in A Private Function, 1984 **** (FV 7818)
1936 Riley Nine Merlin Saloon in Eye of the Needle, 1981 **
1936 Riley Nine Merlin Saloon in Roadways, 1937 *

Know cars in data from Vernon Barkers book and other sources:- Those in bold are alive/survivors of the approximately 450 built . 50 + remain one with 'after and before' video with additional (gratefully received) research done by Andrew Hassam inc pictures Remember pre war the car 'year' was from September to September ie from the Motor Show so Sept 1935 was the new1936 model . Also the asterisks are used when data is from the Riley Register membership lists due to data protection laws and a members complaint however photographs in the public domain will show the data. For the book from the register the pdf list click here for many decades of condensed knowledge
Chassis plate numbers used 

26M  - 1936 Merlin 12/4 Saloon   @  £308 + purchase tax,  The rolling chassis only format  @  £256 + purchase tax. Briggs body. Light 9

S26M  - 1936 Merlin 12/4 Saloon Special Series @  £335 + purchase tax,  The rolling chassis only format  @  £256 + £27 purchase tax

66M - 1936 Merlin Standard  Saloon with preselect box @  £269 + purchase tax  

S66M  - 1936 Merlin Saloon Special Series with preselect box @  £279 + purchase tax

67M - 1937 Merlin Standard  Saloon with preselect box  @  £275 + purchase tax 

 S67M  - 1936 Merlin Saloon Special Series with preselect box  @  £285 + purchase tax 

36M - 1936 Merlin saloon;


The cause of the Saloons not being seen after 1958 ( first announcement) and 1961 ( first tests) was the new MOT or ten year old test. Many of the 'Works registered' cars were in fact export vehicles. Last Known 2006 shows cars on the RR list now no longer there, many will be still in garages getting dusty, plus a few chopped for specials by those persons of large wallets and little sense of history. Historic Specials were often made from MOT failures and after damage and are marked as such


ABC 3         chassis   ?                    61= Last year they were recorded as alive, (many are wrong so updates welcome!)
ADF 935    chassis   26M 2649     Reg ??
ADG 509     chassis   ?                   Possibly a Falcon
ADG 718     chassis   26M 2826   
ADG 770     chassis   26M 3362    
ADV 896     chassis   26M 3516
ADV 90* New CHASSIS M Bits;     Converted as a Historic Special
AED 25       chassis   26M 4271       59
AFS 124      chassis   26M 4787    
ABK 526      Chassis no: S66M-2100 Engine no: M-612 Special Series  Registered 12 February 1937   Also on Blue Diamond from their restoration, ,
AV 892*
      Chassis no:S67M-276* Special Series  Registered 6 January 1937 @ Near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, May 2009 ,
AKV 208     chassis   66M 1980    
AKV 217     chassis   26M 2476     36   Works registered for dealer collection
AKV 665     chassis   26M 2905     75 Converted as a Historic Special
AKV  65*    chassis   26M2905     Converted as a Historic Special should be the same car so is the RRegister wrong or Vernon ???
AKW 777     chassis   26M 4121    
AKY 290     chassis   26M 4681    
ANM 50      chassis   26M 4495    
ANM 83      chassis   26M 2934        57
ANX 238     chassis   26M 3066    
AOU 39      chassis   26M 3536
ASL 682      1936; re-registered 12 May 1999  Chassis no: 26M-4295 Engine no: M-4295,
ASP 771      chassis   26M 3989
ATE 220 66M 999 Last Known 2006 RR
ATJ  8*      chassis   66M158*     Converted as a Historic Special
AUE 170      chassis   26M 4164
AV 8924     chassis   S67M2769   Last Known 2006
AWD 58       chassis   26M 4813
AWY 25     (9?) or      AWY 28
BAA 44      chassis   26M 3824
BAA 164       chassis   26M 3391
BAA 223       chassis   26M 3656
BAO 359       chassis   26M 2779      58*
BCG 387       chassis   26M 1521
BCY 407     chassis   66M 1739 Last Known 2006 RR
BDD 53      chassis   26M 2981
BDU 63      chassis   26M 2866         61    Works registered for dealer collection
BDU 71      chassis   S26M 2950       35       Works registered for dealer collection ( Special Series Upgrade)
BDU 316       chassis   26M 2989     36 Works registered for dealer collection
BDU 512       chassis   26M 3127      36 Works registered for dealer collection
BDU 520       chassis   26M 3060     36 Works registered for dealer collection
BDU 521       chassis   26M 3061     36 Works registered for dealer collection
BDU 721       chassis   26M 3230      35 Works registered for dealer collection
BER 126        chassis   ?
BER 466       chassis   26M  4620
BFG 206       chassis   26M 4669     Registered 31 December 1936 @ Riley Register Coventry Rally 25 June 2017,
BHP 13       chassis   26M 3126      36 Works registered for dealer collection
BHP 14       chassis   26M 3128       36 Works registered for dealer collection
BHP 18       chassis   26M 3496      36 Works registered for dealer collection
BHP 57       chassis   26M 3447       36 Works registered for dealer collection
BHP 359       chassis   26M 3634      36 Works registered for dealer collection
BHP  403     chassis   26M                59  Works registered for dealer collection
BHP 462      chassis   S26M 3686     36 Works registered for dealer collection ( Special Series Upgrade)
BHP 468      chassis   26M 3193        36 Works registered for dealer collection
BHP 47t S      chassis   26M 3841     36 Works registered for dealer collection
BHP 687       chassis   26M 3861      36 Works registered for dealer collection
BHP 963       Registered 11 March 1936  from Anamera portal 14 June 2007:
BKB B5B      chassis   26M                    36
BLR 630      chassis   26M 3735
BLT  630      chassis   65x (F?)
BOJ 652       chassis   S26M 3054      Registered 16 November 1935   ( + Special Series Upgrade)        80 Converted as a Historic Special
BOR 131       chassis   26M 4765        (Falcon?)
BOR 435       chassis   26M 4903
BOR 534       chassis   26M 4679
BOV 165        chassis                                           61
BPO 629       chassis   26M 2668          61x Converted as a Historic Special
BRU 312       chassis   26M 3284
BRU 350       chassis   66M-1159 Engine no: SM-1295) Registered 12 February1936
BRW 302       chassis   26M 4122       36 Works registered for dealer collection
BRW 850       chassis   26M 4293         Works registered for dealer collection    Last Known 2006
BRW 990       chassis   26M 4555
BTB 569        chassis   S66M-164*   On  Riley Register database nothing else known
BUR 161        chassis                                           90(9?)
BVC 59        chassis   66M 2348            36 Works registered for dealer collection   Converted as a Historic Special Last Known 2006 RR
BVC 71         chassis                                                     61*
BVC 201       chassis   26M 4872            73*Works registered for dealer collection
BVC 82*       chassis   66M-204*  On  Riley Register database nothing else known Works registered for dealer collection
BVU 987       chassis   26M
BWK 101       chassis   26M 4231       36 Works registered for dealer collection
BWK 109       chassis   26M 4491        36  Works registered for dealer collection
BWK 328       chassis   26M 4668        36 W= Works registered for dealer collection
BWK 580       chassis   26M 4695         36 W= Works registered for dealer collection
BYB 557         chassis                                                  58
BYA 424  S66M586 Now JHZ 932  Last Known 2006
BYC 40*       chassis   66M-173*,Registered 30 December 1936 @ Riley Register Coventry Rally 25 June 2017 ,
BYO BB7        chassis                                                     68   (9?)
CAE 620         chassis                                                      67 
CAF 58          chassis   26M  ?                  64
CEH 859        chassis   26M 3227             Converted as a Historic Special
CGN 964        chassis   26M ?                   64
CGY 656       chassis   26M ?                    9?
CHB 477       chassis   26M ?                    61 (CMB?)
CHU 163       chassis   26M 4227                      
CJJ 105          chassis   26M 2928            61
CKB 384        chassis   26M 4276           58
CKM 927      chassis   26M ?                  78 in VB actually the car below is a 9hp
CKM 927      chassis     66M-1168         Registered 3 February 1936,
CKM 34*      chassis    66M-54*           Registered 3 December 1935 @ DVCA auctions in Dorset ,
CKT 641        chassis   26M 2870    
CKW 835        chassis   S26M 4441  Last Known 2006          
CLB 501       chassis   26M ?                    73
CLJ 178         chassis   26M ?                   67
CLM 324       chassis   26M  ?                  61
CLT 174        chassis   26M 2992              58
CLU 679       chassis   26M   ?                  57
CLY 459       chassis   26M 4111             Registered 25 March 1936  pic by Rick Ford 15 May 2013
CKJ 76*
      chassis   66M-40*              Registered 7 November 1935 @ Lulworth Castle Classic Car Show 9 June 2013 ,
CKW 912        chassis   66M1400  Last Known 2006 Converted as a Historic Tourer Special
CN 7197        chassis   26M 3836                      
CN 7255        chassis   26M 4149                     
COB 303       chassis   26M   ?                  36
CPP 528       chassis   26M   ?                   73
CPP 528       chassis   66M-218               Engine no: M-218  Registered 2 July 1936  @ H&H Classics 23 July 2008: sold – £6600 ,
CRA 853       chassis   26M 4788                     
CRB 172       chassis   26M 4677                     
CRR 46        chassis   26M 4696                      
CTO 640       chassis   26M 4814                     
CVK 425       chassis   S26M 3802            58 ( Special Series Upgrade)
CVK 770       chassis   26M 4035              58
CVK 947       chassis   26M 4107              73
CXB 507       chassis   66M-1483             Registered 30 March 1936  Offered for sale Thornfalcon Classics: sold – £18,750.00 Was owned by Lady Colwyn Photographed by Robin Lawton at Eathorpe Park Coventry Rally in 1965. Then in its original grey livery see on this page.
CXF 143       chassis   26M 4687               Last Known 2006
CXL 71*       chassis   66M-1536             On  Riley Register database nothing else known
CXU 853       chassis   26M 4557             Registered 16 May 1936,    and also on alamy  for pics in quantity
CXW 91*       chassis   66M140*;            Converted as a Historic Special
CXW 835       chassis   26M 4441            Registered 16 May 1936  90
DAE 738       chassis   26M 4901              73
DHX 88*        chassis   26M388*             Converted as a Historic Special
DI 868           chassis   26M 4901             Last Known 2006   Wicklow Ireland
1 DIB 27*        chassis   26M405*;          Converted as a Historic Special 
DLT 298        chassis   26M ?                    78 Was a Special
DKJ 97*        chassis   67M -251*            On  Riley Register database nothing else known
DKO 509
        chassis   67M-2790 Engine no: SZ-3251 Registered 1 February 1937  @ H & H Auctions Donnington Park 16 November 2016: sold as restoration completion project (interior work) – £9,400.00 Also at Bonhams click here
DME 15*        chassis   26M-849 On  Riley Register database nothing else known DTW 22* ( 66M-184*) and click here turn music down !
DMG 818       chassis   26M 4234                                          
DMH 9           chassis   26M 4272             Registered 1936; re-registered 1 September 1999 also at
DPC 208        chassis   26M 3063              58
DPC 709       chassis   26M 2828                 Last Known 2006
DPE 168       chassis   26M 3281               Registered 30 December 1935, but classed as a 1936 model see above
DPE 248       chassis   26M ?                       59
DPU 991        chassis   66M 1797  Last Known 2006
DPE  754       chassis   26M 3125               58
DRE 263       chassis   26M 3532                58
DTW 222       chassis   ?                             Registered 1936; re-registered 16 March 1982 also at youtube
DUL ??        chassis  
DUU 830       chassis   26M ?                      73
ED  968*        chassis   66M62*;                 Converted as a Historic Special
EF  5986        chassis   26M 4115                      
EG 2510         chassis   26M 2819               58
EJ 4803        chassis   66M-1622 Registered 1936; re-registered 14 September 1983@ Tatton Park, Manchester, Classic Car Show 18 August 2012 also youtube
EMD 100       chassis   26M ??                      64 Was a Special
EZ 789          chassis   26M 3191                  80
FT 393*         chassis   66M-2034, On  Riley Register database nothing else known                   
FW 7257       chassis   26M 4030                       
FW 8092        chassis   26M 4900                    
FV 781*         chassis   66M-2020      Registered 31 July 1936
GL 354*         chassis   66M-173*     Registered 13 May 1936 @ Riley Register Coventry Rally 6 July 2008 ,
GR 2537        chassis   26M 3070                       
GR 2696        chassis   26M 4014                       
JA 7366         chassis   ?        Registered 18 June 1936 Photograph posted 22 March 2019
JB 393*
        chassis   66M-783* Registered 4 December 1935 @ Cromford Steam Rally 2011
JB 7836        chassis   S66M570  Last Known 2006
JB 8128         chassis   S26M ??                 59 ( Special Series Upgrade)
JB 8136          chassis   26M 2994                   
JB 9142         chassis   26M 4832                       
JC 3504         chassis   66M-1407 Engine no: M-1407 Registered 24 March 1936  @ Brightwells 28 November 2012: sold (hammer price) – £10,000.00 Also at Brightwells 2007
JD   5934       chassis   26M ?
JL  2810        chassis   26M 3265                      
JR  4660        chassis   26M 3585
JR 5230         chassis   26M 4556                     
 JT 6009          chassis  67M-2674 Engine no: M-2674) The only totally original car Registered 19 November 1936 (but as after September with the 1937 prefix number) @ South Western Vehicle Auctions 25 January 2019: sold as non running project – £9,400.00 + buyers premium Page on here plus youtube
JU 7817         chassis   26M 2650
JU 9194         chassis   26M 4834
JV 4670         chassis   26M 4153                  
JX 3771         chassis   26M 4017
JY 6849         chassis   26M 2909
JY 6948         chassis   26M 2648
JY 6973         chassis   26M 2781
MJ  8778       chassis   66M31*             was a 9hp now 12/4  Converted as a Historic Special
MJ 8919        chassis   26M 3192             61                      
MJ 8920        chassis   26M 3126
MJ 9052        chassis   S26M 3205          ( Special Series Upgrade)      
MJ 9540         chassis   26M 3479           Conflict with Falcon CHT 754
NJ 9638         chassis   26M.4790            Registered 17 August 1936 For sale 11 May 2019 – £12,000 ono
NV 7456        chassis  ?                             61
OW 7922       chassis   26M 2991
OW 8095       chassis   26M 2910
RV  7952       chassis   26M-3414            Registered January 1936  pic above
RV 9325        chassis   26M 3076
RV 9705         chassis   26M 4807
SMH 24* JM*; ??*  chassis   26M353*);         Converted as a Historic Special possible re registration
UN 9511        chassis   S26M 4119           ( Special Series Upgrade)
VD 6228         chassis   26M 4865               Last Known 2006
VG 8577         chassis   26M 4034
VD 749*          chassis   66M-282*,Registered 9 February 1937 Riley cars at the 28th Scottish Transport Extravaganza Glamis 2002
VH 8835         chassis   26M 2635                
VH 8783         chassis   26M 4032
VH 9520         chassis   26M 4766
VL 7697        1 january 2019                see  same car in 2017               
VN 8000         chassis   26M 3222
VY 872*          chassis   66M-2042
       On  Riley Register database nothing else known
WG 585*         chassis   66M195*;
         Converted as a Historic Special
WMN 946        chassis   26M 4497               
WN 9586         chassis   26M ?                59
WV 9617         chassis   26M 3080
WSJ 70*         chassis   26M322*;          Converted as a Historic Special
YS 5893          chassis   26M 3445
YS 6839         chassis   26M 3984
YS 793*          chassis   66M-1559           On  Riley Register database nothing else known
59* YUP (??* );                                         Converted as a Historic Special
69* YUB 
         chassis   66M-191*  Engine no: 17.1917), Registered 26 August 1936  Auctioned Brooklands Museum 4 March 2017: sold – £16,800 also at . In 2012, as DGJ 529 prior to restoration pictures 1 , pictures 2
YXG 54*
         chassis   26M 491* 1936 9)   On  Riley Register database nothing else known
YXG 543 Registered 1936; re-registered 1 October 2014  Riley Register Coventry Rally 25 June 2017
269 MHX Re Registered
Unknown registration car 1 Riley 9 Merlin for restoration. Off the road and garaged since 1963, all complete and fitted with pre select gearbox but engine out and dismantled. Pretty solid oily rag conditon, or could be built into a valuable special, though this would seem a shame.’ Oxfordshire. Sold – £4,250.,. . .1936 Riley 9 Owner: Peter Hunt Acquired: 1 November 2017 Location: Hook Norton, Oxfordshire ‘I bought this Riley as a retirement project having been looking for years for a suitable car. It's a bit of a wreck but I am currently weighing up whether it is restorable as a saloon or to use the chassis and running gear to recreate a sports special. It will be under wraps until the Healey is finished.’
Registration Unknown Riley 12/4 Merlin complete car vintage special VSCC Prewar. Fitted with a Brooklands Enginecraft 4-branch manifold and new stainless exhaust system. Offered for sale on eBay 5 December 2018 at £12,500    
Overseas and unidentified:-
chassis   26M 2665 New Zealand,        chassis   26M 2916,      chassis   26M 2917,        chassis   26M 2918,        chassis   S26M 3055,      chassis   26M 3221,        chassis   26M 3415,        chassis   26M 3531 New Zealand,      chassis   26M 3576,        chassis   S26M 3584,        chassis   26M 3587 Australia,      chassis   26M 3633,        chassis   26M 3663 New Zealand,        chassis   26M 3678,      chassis   26M 3786 New Zealand,        chassis   26M 3866 New Zealand,        chassis   26M 3867 Australia,      chassis   26M 3968,        chassis   26M 3980 New Zealand,        chassis   26M 3983,      chassis   26M 4049,        chassis   S26M 4132 New Zealand,        chassis   26M 4152,      chassis   26M 4166 New Zealand,        chassis   26M 4232 Australia,        chassis   SS26M 4253,      chassis   26M 4345,        chassis   26M 4371 New Zealand,        chassis   26M 4384,      chassis   26M 4617 New Zealand,        chassis   26M 4649 New Zealand Converted as a Historic Special, 

Overseas Survivors:-     

Unknown  registration in NZ 1936 Riley Nine Merlin Photographed at the Southward Car Museum, Paraparaumu, NZ
ZH 361 737 Swiss / 1936 Riley 9 Merlin, registered in Switzerland by Simon Kernahan

?   chassis   26M 3987 In Brisbane   (poorly)
?    chassis   26M 4051 turned into a special in Oz believed  now in the UK.

SIN 313 Riley Merlin 9hp, 1937 Oldtimer in Obwalden, Switzerland 2013