Riley 9

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Riley

Riley 9

1926 - 1938
Country:
United Kingdom
Engine:
4 cyl.
Capacity:
1087/1496 cc
Power:
54-100 bhp
Transmission:
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
60 mph
Number Built:
n/a
Collectability:
4 star
Riley 9
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4

Introduction



The Riley Nine was the most popular of the pre-war Riley’s ever made, and with good reason. Enjoying a long production run lasting from 1926 to 1938, the Nine would undergo various mechanical and body style changes along the way, under the direction of two of William Riley’s five sons, Percy and Stanley.

The mechanics, particularly the engine, were handled by the older Percy, while Stanley was responsible for the chassis, suspension and body. The Nine was launched in the Northern summer of 1926 as both a traditional four seat tourer (selling at £235) and very unconventional fabric bodied Monaco saloon for a 50 pound premium.

The Monaco could reach a very respectable (for the time) 60mph thanks largely to the lightweight design of the fabric body, while the small 4 cylinder engine gave upward of 40 miles to the gallon. Both models featured a 1087cc straight four engine using hemispherical combustion chambers with the valves inclined at 45 degrees in a cross-flow head.

To further simplify the mechanicals, rather than use overhead camshafts Percy instead created a system whereby the valves were operated by two camshafts mounted high in the crankcase through short pushrods and rockers. The engine was mounted in the chassis by a rubber bushed bar that ran through the block with a further mount at the rear of the gearbox. Drive was to the rear wheels through a torque tube and spiral bevel live rear axle mounted on semi elliptic springs.

In 1929 came the Biarritz saloon, a more up-market version of the Monaco that featured a much improved braking system. More body styles were to follow, and in 1934 you could option any model with a Preselector gearbox for an extra £27. By the time 1935 rolled around the car had been on the market for 9 years, and sales were starting to wane. Rationalizing the model lineup was inevitable, and for that year only the Monaco Saloon, Kestrel streamlined saloon and Lynx four seat tourer were available.

In 1936 came a new chassis, while the brakes were changed to the rod operated Girling type. The range was further rationalized, now only the Kestrel and steel bodied Merlin saloons offered. The final iteration was the 1938 Victor, which gained a larger capacity engine (now 1496 cc) and an all steel body. The Nine had served Riley well, but in a time of rapid automotive change the use by date had well and truly passed.

A vast number of Riley Nines were produced and in the absence of records, lost during one of the air raids on Coventry, it is very difficult if not impossible, to identify a model type from the chassis number of the car. We thank Geoffrey Luck for the following Chassis and Model Identification Guides.

Riley Nine Identification Guide

Chassis / Chassis Prefix
Year
Model
-
April 1929
Start of the “Plus” series
6011013 
Sept 1930
-
6015000
Sept 1931
Start of the “Plus Ultra” series
6019000
Sept 1932
-
From chassis  number 6027000 all cars were fitted with a Pre-selector gearbox
66K
1936
Kestrel
66M
1936
Merlin
67Z
1937
Monaco
67ZX
1937
Monaco with overdrive
67CX
1937
Touring Saloon with overdrive
67C
1937
Touring Saloon with pre-selector
67M
1937
Merlin with pre-selector
68V
1938
Victor with pre-selector
68C
1938
Touring Saloon with pre-selector

The Riley 9 Manual of Instruction and Maintenance by J.A. Robson was published in 1952. This is the list of years of manufacture of the different models, together with a brief description

:
Model
Years
Description
Ascot
1933 - 1934
Two seater body withy Dickey
Biarritz
1929
Fabric body, 4 door 4 light saloon
Brooklands
1927 - 1931
Racing 2 seater, streamlined tail, produced in either racing trim or Road Trim.
Falcon
1933 - 1934
4 door saloon, wire wheels, sloping back but not so sloping as the Kestrel.
Gamecock
1932
Open 2 door 2 seater Tourer. Hood folds under the flat rear deck and there is an extensive boot.
Imp
1934 - 1935
Open 2 seater Sports Car, flared wings and radiator set  well back.
Kestrel
1932-6
Air-lined saloon, 4 door, 4 light, wire wheels, 6 stud fixing or quickly detachable hubs, flush-fitting spare wheel.
Lincock
1933 - 1934
4 seater, 2 door, three-quarter fixed head Coupe,flush-fitting spare wheel and large boot. A Drophead Coupe with folding hood was also produced.
Lynx
1933 - 1935
Open 4 door, 4 seater Tourer.
March Speial
1932 - 1933
Open Tourer, 2/4 seater, 2 door short body with 12 gallon fuel tank with twin fillers.
Merlin
1936 - 1937
4 door, 4 light, all-metal saloon, similar in looks to the Falcon, quickly detachable hubs.
Monaco
1926 - 1937 
4 seater, 4 door Saloon, starting with an all-fabric body, then to a fabric top and finally to the all-metal body.
San Remo
1926
4 door 4 light Saloon with artillery wheels.
Touring Saloon
1937
4 door close-coupled body and a large luggage locker. This car was in most cases fitted with the overdrive gearbox.
Trinity
1932 -1933
2 seater Coupe
Ulster Imp
1934 - 1935
Specification as for the Im p, but with a highly tuned engine, special crankshaft and cylinder head, capable of a maximum speed of 92.5 mph.
Victor
1937 - 1938
4 door, 4 light Saloon

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