1905-7  9hp V twins & Quadricycles


Percy Riley  built his first car a 'four-wheeled quadricycle' at 16, in 1898, secretly, as his father would not approve but funded by his mother and uncle.  This included the first known mechanically cam operated inlet valve,  on a small single-cylinder, belt-driven  car which did not go into production. and was later  lost after being sold to Ireland. Initially he  supplied engines for Riley motorcycles and later the tricars from Cook Street Gate ( at 22 yrs old), then  began to focus on four-wheeled vehicles as safer and potentially faster. His patents included steering, clutches and brakes, gears, driving axles and crankshafts, and engines, but the most lucrative invention was  developing  an easily detachable wheel for  vehicles. This patented detachable wheel,  meant that the puncture didn't have to be repaired in-situ, the wheel could simply be replaced and became a selling feature  of the Riley Cycle Company's business   with  the design  licensed to 183 recorded manufacturers worldwide.


Pic by Margaret Smith



Picture from Coventry Telegraph of the launch of the Percy Replica Voiturette at the transport Museum followed by display at the NEC 2019.
The next move is to assist Warwick University constructing an engine for the 2012 city of culture.

 In 1905, a 'proper' 4-wheeled Riley was developed and went into production with one survivor shown below (Registration Number :- BC 8512 Chassis Number:- 740 Engine Number:- 846). This car was a light 2-seater, using the V-twin engine and available with an optional hood. Throughout 1906 and 1907, the cars were successful in many of the events (mainly hill climbs) they entered, winning a large number of them outright, although mainly due to handicapping procedures. The early Riley 9hp V Twins are exceedingly rare and only three are known to survive worldwide - two are in the Gaydon Motor Museum ( AB 1390  9hp. dated 1907 and  YU 4031 9hp/12hp  dated 1907 also at presently at Gaydon, one is in privately owned) and the third one, chassis number 740, is the vehicle shown when sold at Brooklands in 2014. This Riley 9hp was brought back from New Zealand to the UK  in 2009 where it had been meticulously restored over a 30-year period by a previous New Zealand owner, Gary Turner, and was completed in 2004. The chassis number puts the date of manufacture as 1905 which means that it is certainly one of the first such cars ever made, records for Riley cars from this era are patchy to non-existent.  This car was originally exported to New Zealand by the Riley Cycle Company  is sold by  the fourth owner.
1905  Car Data :- 513 cc/15bhp;   Single cylinder; Bore /stroke 3 ⅜  and 3½; Chain driven and water cooled; Top speed 55 to 65 kph 34 to 40 mph with those brakes was brave especially for hill climbs converse to up being downhill;Weight 6cwt /304 kilo with a lenth of 10ft 6 inches and width of  3 ft 9 inches; Cost new 85 guineas which would be over £10k in todays money



1905-7  9hp car:- The chassis  used was a tubular frame with front and rear crossmembers and a 6ft 8 (203cm) wheelbase so longer than the preceding tricar. The tracking  was only an inch more at 4 ft 1 in (124.4cm) so would have turned easily. It still utilised the existing clutch and gearing but was improved to 1034cc  by virtue of it being the V twin engine and had an extended tank of five gallons. Interestingly the one shown uses the same tipping method as the later tricars  to allow for maintenance and for its day a practical and simple machine. The same V Twin engine from this time was sold to South Africa and Tasmania to power light railways and when they moved factory in 1906 a flatbed lorry or two .












BC 8512 1905  9hp V twin when sold at Brooklands Historics in 2014




Pics from underneath from when for sale at Brightwells Classics Auctions

YU 4031 on 1907 Riley 9hp 1034cc V-Twin 2-seat Touring Car. The two years have added various refinements, easily accessible battery box  better quality bodywork etc . Pic from Gaydon (background removed). **Riley was the first in the world to feature detachable wire wheels as standard**


AB 1390 on 1907 Riley 9hp 1034cc ( in some places 12hp) V-Twin 2-seat Touring Car. The two years have added various refinements, safer fuel tank  better quality bodywork, springing etc . Pic from Gaydon (background removed)
Also in the Register  data base CW151  a  1905 V Twin

During this period, the success of the cars led the Riley Cycle Company to cease production of bicycles by 1911. However, before this, in late 1907, Riley had decided that a larger more practical car was necessary and the photographs above show how fast the development was having a two year gap between them.
    


1907 9hp  Riley "Colonial" as per anything Riley another version (this one has not survived)
  The early V-type engines were  common to most of the Riley cars born in the early post tricar years. The  first 9 hp model  above had its cylinders fore/aft and its crankshaft set transversely,  which by the time of production of the later 12-18 and 10 hp lines  this  had been reversed and the lethal chain transmission was altered to a cardan shaft instead (a shaft with a universal joint at one or both ends).  The three models were water-cooled V-twins with side valves ( no more glowing air cooled engines), and just over a litre for the Nine and approximately twice that for the later 12-18; significantly, in view of much later trends in engine dimensioning, the intermediate-sized Ten engine was "square", bore and stroke both measuring 96 mm.

. . .  but by 1908  - RILEY CYCLE CO.       The report of the directors of the Riley Cycle Co., Ltd., to be presented at the forthcoming annual meting, stated that the company has suffered in common with many other companies. owing to the severe depression in trade, which has seriously affected the cycle department. The tricar department, in which large preparations for output had been made has performed unsatisfactory, sales having decreased considerably, and a loss thereon has resulted in consequence. The demand for cars has been very well maintained and if quicker deliveries of the larger type of car had been possible during the early months of the season the trading results would ham been different. Riley cars have maintained their high reputation. emerged most successfully from the  important competitions held during the past year. In order to fill the undoubtedly increasing demand for small cars, a new model of 10 h.p. has been introduced for the 1909 season. The business done at the recent show was well in excess of that of the previous year. The director retiring is Mr. B. Riley, who is eligible  and offers himself for re election. The balance sheet shows that there is a lose for the year ended September last of £1468- 10s. -10d. from Coventry Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 22 December 1908





The Bystander - Wednesday 15 November 1911  advert above