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RMA

The Riley RM Series was an 'executive car' also often termed a sports saloon  produced by Riley from 1945 to 1955.The Riley RMA was the first post-war model and a total of 10,504 models were produced from 1945 through 1952 before it was replaced by the RME. The last model developed independently by Riley prior to the 1952 merger of Riley's still new owner Nuffield, with Austin to form BMC. The newly designed Riley 1½ litre RMA saloon was introduced in August 1945 with the 2½ RMB saloon following in November 1946 and for the first few years made at Coventry often as a bitsa with pre war fixings often being found. The Riley factory in Durbar Avenue Riley’s main home was the Cunard Works in Durbar Avenue, Foleshill, from 1919 to 1948. In 1938 the company had been declared bankrupt. Lord Nuffield bought the company and sold it to Morris Motors. Once the Second World War was over production began with a smaller model range. By 1948 Lord Nuffield moved production from the Durbar Avenue factory to Abingdon in Oxford. After Riley production moved the factory was used for reconditioning Morris Engines.. Production then moved to Abingdon  in 1949 with the skilled Riley workforce being offered housing and 'grants' to move and aid the ailing MG production line. To help this both lines initially worked in paraellel as Nuffield had employed cheap returning ex military with few skills and MG were getting at times a 70% return rate for faults. As late as the end of the 70's older ex Coventry workers would turn up at local RM meets with often scurilous tales of post war production at Abingdon to everyones amusement and listening ears. 

These saloons were appreciated at the time  for their graceful and flowing lines, well appointed & comfortable interiors, brisk performancehandling which impressed  motoring journalists & road testers at the time. Bodywork was mounted on a jointed ash frame  with a mixture of steel and aluminium panels  sitting on a  steel chassis. Steering was now by precise rack and pinion with  front suspension was by torsion bar and wishbone. Engines used a twin camshaft arrangement that operated the inclined overhead valves by short pushrods.

  Styling changes were made in 1952 which included the fitting of full width bumpers and a larger rear windscreen, as well as some improvements to the cars mechanical side such as fully hydraulic brakes. From this point the 1½ litre car was dubbed RME and the 2½ litre car RMF. In 1953 the 2½ litre ended production when it was replaced by the Pathfinder, but the 1½ litre continued to be made until March 1955.

**Coventry Made RM's; The original Riley (Coventry) Limited was a family-owned business with roots going back into the late 19th century. By 1938 it was in severe financial difficulties, and, following an approach from Victor Riley, Lord Nuffield bought the company in September 1938, only to re-sell it almost immediately for a nominal sum to Morris Motors Limited. Thus was formed Riley (Coventry) Successors Limited. Victor Riley remained as managing director until December 1947. In the early post-war years, Riley still retained considerable independence of Morris/Wolseley/MG in matters of design, and general business and management. In 1949, the Riley operations were moved from Coventry to the MG factory at Abingdon, and the name of the company was changed to Riley Motors Limited. After the  factory damage in the war and streamlining by Nuffield the cars were made on parallel production lines at Abingdon. Whilst this was being arranged and built  the early RMA's and some RMB's were built at Coventry with a mixture of early RM tooling, pre war parts left on the shelf from the Nuffield 12hp's and others to get cars out and sold and clear stocks. This meant many of the very early cars have wiring that corresponds to the Nuffield pre war cars, switches, hinges etc plus  many engine bits such as the taper pin to the crank etc. It means RM club parts may  not fit and have to be adapted/machined; the wiring harnesses are only partially correct and a lot of swearing, you are not wrong the car is simply a beta/trial version and spares are made for the majority.**

Price new £709-18-4 pence plus purchase tax
Wheelbase 9ft 4-1/2ins.  Length 14ft 10ins. Width 5ft 2-1/2ins.  Height 4ft 9ins. . Turning Circle 30ft.  Weight 2,688lb (MOT info now sorted for next time when they ask)



Prototype advert many RM bits already in place but a Kestrel fast back. From the Tatler May 1945


Production Figures :-

1945 RMA Coventry  (8 total) +  bare chassis between 1946-9 for estates, vans etc ~  Chassis numbers used  36S 10001 to 10008

1946 RMA Coventry  (1312 total) ~ Chassis numbers 36S 10009 to 11322

1947 RMA  Coventry  (2720 total) ~ Chassis numbers 37S 11323 to 14042

1948 RMA Coventry  (1925 total) ~  Chassis numbers 38S 14043  to 15967

1949 RMA Coventry  (0408 total) ~  Chassis numbers 39S 15968  to 16375

1949 RMA Abingdon   601 UK; 448 RHD export; 27 LHD export; + 1RHD chassis (1090 total)  ~ Chassis numbers 39S 16376 to 17465

1950 RMA 682 UK; 533 RHD export; 129 LHD export;  (1356 total) ~ Chassis numbers 40S 17466 to 18821

1951 RMA  555 UK; 464 RHD export; 117 LHD export;  (1164 total ) ~ Chassis numbers 41S 18822 to 19985

1952  RMA  / RME  831 UK; 148 RHD export; 63 LHD export;  (1050 total ) ~ Chassis numbers 42S 19986 to 21035, Changed to RME at 42S 20505

1953 RME   721 UK; 59 RHD export; 39 LHD export;  (819 total ) ~ Chassis numbers RME 21036 to 21854

1953 RME   241 UK; 77 RHD export; 2 LHD export;  (320 total ) ~ Chassis numbers RME 21855 to 22174 'Spatted Model'

1954 RME   1621 UK; 93 RHD export; 9 LHD export;  (1747 total ) ~ Chassis numbers RME 22175 to 23921

1955 RME   28 UK; 1 RHD export; 0 LHD export;  (29 total ) ~ Chassis numbers RME 23922 to 23950

Total  Production RMA 10504  RME 3446



Original Riley factory Photograph RMA dashboard

RILEY CAR PRICES: The price announced today of the first entirely new post-war British car—the Riley 1½ litre saloon, which will sell at £555, plus £154 18s. 4d. purchase tax. This the only British car now in production that incorporates the accumulated experience of the past five years in a new chassis and a new body. Coventry Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 27 November 1945





1946 Riley RMA © CLIFF JONES PHOTOGRAPHY

THE NEW RILEY CAR. The most outstanding breakaway from established Riley practice is found in the front suspension. Riley “Torsionic independent front suspension is designed and produced a complete unit, incorporating by exceptional arrangement the steering mechanism, and resulting an extremely rigid front end, accurate steering under all conditions The lower struts of the front suspension are attached to parallel torsion bars which replace the orthodox road springs. The steering swivels or king pin are of special design and provide a bearing area per cent, greater than the normal type of king pin and plain bush. Thus a longer life is assured. The chassis is so designed and constructed that the combined minimum weight and maximum strength has been attained, both factors being the result of extensive racing and trials experience. Engine.—The 1½ Itre engine, capacity 1.946 c.c. has not been materially altered, and gives 55 H.P, at 4,500 R.P.M The famous Riley hemi-spherical cylinder head is incorporated together with tlie “cross-flow” system of cooling. The whole construction of the engine emphasises rigidity and robustness the four cylinder and most of the crankcase forming one integral casting. Particular attention has been paid to the oiling system; very efficient gear type pump and full flow oil filter being employed. The whole unit flexibly mounted. Brakes. The brakes are actuated hydraulic means on the front, and by mechanical at the rear. The mechanism is so arranged that a failure either set occur, the full power of the remaining brakes is instantly available. Even greater stability than previous models is assured by an increase in wheelbase and track. Due to the special design of the front end a turning circle of 30 feet has been achieved. Fifeshire Advertiser - Saturday 02 March 1946







Real Anorak info, Riley RMA's in Films/TV:-
 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Tangiwai, 2011 *  = in background
1945 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Under Suspicion, 1991 *
1945 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Parting Shots, 1998 ***
1945 Riley 1½-litre RMA in The Secret Life of Formula 1, 2003 *
1945 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Cyclists Special, 1955 *
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage, 2004 ** (HJE 957)
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Scarlet Thread, 1951 *
1946 Riley 1½-Litre RMA in Gideon's Way, 1965-1967 *
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in I rök och dans, 1954 *
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Gideon's Way, 1965-1967 * (?HT 533)
1946 Riley 1½-Litre RMA in Disappearing Britain, 2006 *
1946 Riley 1½-Litre RMA in Tiara Tahiti, 1962 *
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Les distractions, 1960 ***
1946 Riley 1½-Litre RMA in The Beatles Anthology, 1995 *
1946 Riley 1½-Litre RMA in 10 Rillington Place, 1971 *
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Gideon's Way, 1965-1967 *
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Narazu-Mono, 1964 *
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Father Brown, 2013-2018 *** = car used in a lot of the film
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Jorden rundt paa to timer, 1949 *
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Kitty und die große Welt, 1956 *
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Filmavisen, 1945-1963 *
1946 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Trouble in Store, 1953 *
1947 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Blowup, 1966 *
1947 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Marple: 4.50 from Paddington, 2004 *
1947 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Naked as Nature Intended, 1961 *
1948 Riley 1½-litre RMA in The 7th Dawn, 1964 *** (SF 2182)
1950 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Troppo per vivere... poco per morire, 1967 *** (KUF 564)
1951 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Father Brown, 2013-2018 ** (JSC 941)
1952 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Hazell, 1978-1979 *] (GUH 886)
1952 Riley 1½-litre RMA in Heights of Danger, 1953 **** (GRX 547 )
Riley RM used as a Police Car for filming Father Brown click here (FAB 855)

© Riley Archives Items... these are the pdf and jpg digitised items

11. RMA /RME twin carburetter engine ( 1946-1955) complete set. Photograph stamped to back for BMC  photographer so the copy publicity photo.  Condition:- 1. Engine all with some diagonal  creases. 2.Top view of the same engine 3. Top with air filter in situ in a car  4. Kit shown disassembled, 5. Side view of the carburetters 6. Original sales leaflet shown flat as one composite image

Clubs in the Uk catering for this model:-

All other countries on the contact page. Due to public liability laws spares can only be sold to current club members. Both clubs have a considerable spare parts supply  so best join at least one to gain information, help, and  information from the experts who have already 'been there' . Cars are also cheaper with known histories sold via the clubs than ebay etc.


Riley Motor Club    rileymotorclub.org/  for all ages inc pre war cars originally a gents club of owners 

The Riley RM Club      https://www.rileyrmclub.org.uk  Started in the 70's to cater for the RM's only with large spares department