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Lot '94: Riley RMF

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (23 June 2010)

Low-slung, rakish and elegant, the RM series was the last range of cars to be developed independently by Riley before the 1952 merger of Riley's Nuffield Organisation with Austin to form BMC. Originally made in Coventry, by 1949 production had moved to the MG works at Abingdon.

While the RMA and RME made do with a 1.5-litre engine, the RMB and its successor, the RMF, had the 2.5-litre 'Big-Four' with twin camshafts mounted high at the sides of the cylinder block, hemispherical combustion chambers and twin SU carbs. In RMF form the engine produced 100bhp giving the car a top speed just a whisker shy of the magic ton, driving through a four-speed gearbox linked to a new hypoid bevel rear axle by an open propshaft.

All the RM models were built on separate chassis assemblies with unstressed, ash-framed steel panelwork and a fabric-covered roof, although the RMF had a bigger rear window which improved visibility. The RMF also had fully hydraulic drum brakes rather than the hydromechanical system of the earlier cars and featured independent torsion bar front suspension and rack-and-pinion stering which gave excellent ride and handling for the era. In production for less than two years, just 1,050 RMFs were made before it was replaced by the Pathfinder in 1954.

First registered in Wolverhampton in July 1953, this particular car has spent its entire life in that area and has been in the current ownership since 2004. Shortly after he acquired it the vendor, a retired engineer, embarked on a full restoration which was to take some three years to complete. This included replacing much of the ash frame and converting the A-posts from ash to steel as this is a known weak point of the original design  water thrown up from the front wheels rots the A-posts and can cause the front doors to spring open.

All mechanical parts were also overhauled and renewed or refurbished as necessary and the interior was retrimmed in red leather. The car is now said to be in excellent condition throughout and is probably one of the best examples remaining. Although the last MOT expired in 2008, the car has been dry stored since then and the vendor believes that getting a new one should be no more than a formality. This car was featured in the January 2009 issue of Practical Classics magazine, a copy of which is retained in the history file.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster, Herefordshire
Lot Number'94
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating0
Registration numberLJW 475
Chassis numberRMF10725
Engine numberRMG2/1422
Engine capacity (cc)2443
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors