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Lot 048: Riley RMC

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (13 July 2011)

ntroduced in 1945, the Coventry-built Riley RMA was as predictable a Riley recipe as one could imagine. The twin camshaft 1.5-litre engine, as used in the 12/4 before the war, was fitted to a strong cross-braced chassis using torsion bar independent suspension at the front inspired by the Citroen Light 15, with traditional semi-elliptic springs at the rear. The coachwork used an ash frame covered with steel and aluminium panels, the car retaining that lovely sporting feel of Rileys gone by.

In 1946 the RMA was joined by the RMB, a 2.5-litre version using the big four engine. Initially producing 90bhp it was soon to be tuned to deliver a genuine 100bhp  heady stuff for the period. This car was bigger in almost every dimension, however looked very similar to the 1.5-litre and is most commonly identified by the light blue Riley emblem on the radiator as opposed to the dark blue version on the smaller car.

In a bid to drive export sales, Riley introduced the RMC in 1948, a two seater open roadster fitted with the 2.5-litre engine, aimed squarely at the American market. Just over 500 had been produced before production ceased in 1951, with the vast majority finding US buyers. UK supplied RMCs are therefore rare in the extreme.

This example has been owned by the vendor for around 5 years, during which time he entrusted an engine rebuild to marque expert Dave Brown. The main bearings and big ends were re-white metalled, the block re-bored to +20 and new pistons fitted. At the same time the head was given an unleaded conversion, the rebuilt engine having covered little more than 100 miles since completion.

The rest of the car remains wonderfully original, with mellow brown leather to the seats and door trims and comes complete with a more recent hood and tonneau. An interesting file of photographs shows the car in period, as well as one image showing Victor Riley sitting in it. The 87,560 miles are understood by the vendor to be genuine, the car sounding very sweet when started up to take the photographs. Mechanically sound, the car will require some attention to the lower section of wooden frame behind the doors before too long, however remains eminently usable as it is and looks particularly appealing with its gracefully faded black paintwork. Lovely!

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster, Herefordshire
TypeCar
Lot Number048
Estimate£13500-£14500
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£15400
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1950
Condition rating0
Registration numberLDV 915
Mileage-
Chassis number60-25-6070
Engine numberR598
Engine capacity (cc)2443
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2