I have long held the view that inside every Riley powered by Percy Riley’s twin cam engine there is a racing car waiting to get out which is no doubt why many of them ended up as one-off specials for road or competition use when the original ash framed coachwork went beyond economical repair!
In the early days of these cars the company produced a low chassis 9hp competition version which became known as the Brooklands. This was followed by a number of sports and racing models with the very stylish six cylinder MPH arriving in 1934 with a new chassis which was underslung at the rear which was further developed into the Sprite using either four or six cylinder engines.
This particular car is one of three similar Riley specials built in the 1980s/90s by Ray Pritchett. It has a very attractive replica MPH body with a 1.5 litre 4 cylinder 12hp Sprite engine sitting in a Kestrel Sprite chassis which was modified to be underslung at the rear with the wheelbase and track measurements matching those of the original MPH & Sprite models. The engine and chassis came from a 1936 12/4 Kestrel Sprite with chassis & engine number SSK5294 and registration number CKB788 (we have its original 1936 log book in the file).
The all-round build quality, attention to detail and presentation is very high indeed as any inspection will show. The car feels very taut mechanically with good handling and precise steering. The engine starts readily and has good oil pressure, the preselector gearbox is in full working order, the transmission is quiet, the suspension is good and unsurprisingly the car is very rapid!
The attractive body is in fine condition and the paintwork is good though after thirty years of use you will find a few minute marks if you look very closely! The leather upholstery and trim are also good as are the hood frame, the hood cover, the tonneau cover and the chromework. It has a good selection of instruments on the dashboard so it looks just right.
I think this is as good a Riley special as you are likely to see and is great value when you consider that a factory built 1935 MPH sold at Bonhams Quail lodge auction last August for 967,500 US dollars which at that time equated to £703,500!