A huge thanks to Jonathan Bell for this great write-up of his 1949 Riley that he will be driving to this September’s Turner Locker Barnfield Revival in.
The RM series were the last cars independently produced by the Riley Motor Company. Production began in 1945 and finally ended in 1955 by which time Riley’s parent company, The Nuffield Organisation, had merged with Austin to form the British Motor Corporation (BMC.)
RM’s were originally made at the old Riley factory in Coventry, but in 1949 production moved to the MG works at Abingdon near Oxford. This vehicle is an early Abingdon product and, for some unknown reason, has an original MG logo stencilled to the chassis.
In addition to the saloon cars, around 500 ‘original’ drop-head-coupes were produced by the factory and a further 500 two or three seat ‘Roadsters.’ Numerous ‘specials,’ such as this one, were built on Riley chassis throughout the history of the Riley company and that tradition still continues.
This vehicle was re-bodied by a previous owner, Lawrence McGahan, utilising a derelict saloon around 2000/2002. The chassis has been shortened by 6” and the scuttle moved back by 9”. The body is now all steel and, very unusually, the doors changed from their original ‘suicide’ configuration. As many as possible original components were utilised, including the original Riley 4 cylinder engine designed by Percy Riley in the late 1920’s. However, the brakes have been upgraded by utilising an MGB system and the gearbox is a Ford 5 speed unit.