I believe that this lovely Riley on chassis number 600950 is the oldest surviving 2 seat 9 hp model - it is not only an early 9 but it also carries its original and very rare (if not unique) all-glass drop head coupe coachwork complete with nickel plated fittings and radiator plus it incorporates early 9 features such as a cone clutch and a right hand gear lever and hand brake.
The car comes with a fascinating history file which tells us that it was first registered on 31st March 1928 since when it has had 7 owners including its present one. It has been the subject of significant refurbishment but to the credit of the owner at the time it is not an over restored show car as he retained key items such as its original leather seats, interior trim and hood with the result that it looks exactly like a nicely maintained 90 year old car should.
Its first owner clearly wanted to have the best so it was fitted from new with thirteen different period extras which are still in place including Ace wheel discs, Andre bumpers , a Leveroll seat adjuster and an Eastings dickie seat windscreen (a full list of the extras is available on request). The file even has copies of the original advertisements for many of these items and there is also an early 1930s photograph which shows that the car has hardly changed in appearance since then – in fact the only noticeable change is that it now has coil ignition which uses the magneto as a distributor!
Any Riley in good condition is a pleasure to drive and I think it is fair to say that that this one is about as good as you will get. The twin cam 1087cc engine starts readily, maintains good oil pressure and is smooth and free of any untoward mechanical noise, the clutch is light and its four speed Riley “silent third” gearbox is very quiet as is the transmission. The steering is positive and wander free and the rod operated brakes are very good so the car is reassuringly pleasant to drive and gives the impression that it will just keep on going for as far as you like!
If you are a Riley enthusiast I feel sure that if you don’t know this car you will find it to be a fascinating machine and if you are already aware of it you will know how good it really is. If you are not familiar with Rileys then please do come and have a look but be prepared to be very tempted by it!