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Lot 075: Riley Kestrel 12/6

Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (24 June 2009)

At once let it be said that this is an outstanding car& Most of the cars tested by us in the Midlands pass along a certain private road on which there is a shallow S-bend. Although on no previous occasion has this been taken at more than 50mph, the Riley went through it at 70mph. No doubt some other cars could have done the same, but the Riley simply pleaded for it. This report in the June 1934 issue of The Light Car is typical of the rapturous reviews that greeted the Kestrel 12/6 at its launch.

Powered by a 1,458cc straight-six OHV engine with 50bhp on tap, the Kestrel could top 75mph with ease and cover the standing quarter mile in just 24 seconds  staggering figures for a saloon car of the day. Just as impressive was the amazing flexibility of the engine which, allied to the pre-selector gearbox, could potter along in top gear at just 1mph. Throw in the beautiful streamlined bodywork and the luxuriously trimmed interior, brimming with Art Deco details, and it's no wonder that the Kestrel is still at least as prized today as it was over seven decades ago.

First registered on 5th July 1934, this particular Kestrel has the desirable six-cylinder triple-carb Special Series engine and appears to have been owned by just one family, the Milners, for the first 63 years of its life. Between 1990 and 1995, Barrie Milner of Kenilworth treated the car to a total nut-and-bolt restoration at Blue Diamond Services of Langport with bills on file amounting to almost �33,000. Since the restoration was completed it has covered less than 1,200 miles and is still in excellent condition throughout. Correspondence shows that Ivor Halbert acquired the car from Hardwick Sporting Carriages, Warwickshire, in July 1997 for �18,750 when the car was advertised as having had one family owner from new.

It comes with the aforementioned restoration history (including many photographs) and eight old MOTs from 1996 to 2006 showing very sparing use. There is also a bill for a full service by Smithy Engineering of Wells in August 2000 and an accompanying letter which states that the car is in excellent condition both bodily and mechanically& and should be insured for �20,000.

Along with the modern V5C it also has a buff log book from January 1957 when it was owned by Stanley Milner of Coventry (presumably father to the aforementioned Barrie). The icing on the cake is the fabulous Riley Ski Lady mascot that adorns the top of the radiator. Surely as good a Kestrel as you could ever wish to find, this looks exceptional value at the guide price suggested today.

Lot Details
Auction Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster
Lot Number075
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£38000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating0
Registration numberAOE 770
Chassis number44T2125
Engine number12T2125
Engine capacity (cc)1458
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors