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Homepage. This page: Riley Nine special, on wedding duties in the 1950s.

Riley 9 special, in 1959.

Bruce regularly calls by OCC, and in July 2015 emailed over a photo of the Riley 9 special that he owned many years ago. Like many Riley-based specials, his was based on the running gear of a Monaco saloon. Nines and Twelves have long been favourites of the specials-building crowd. In the 1950s, suitable donor cars could be found in most scrapyards across the land. Cars are being built to this day, although unless parts are acquired on a piecemeal basis, complete cars tend to be cut up and modified. Many up-and-running saloons have been sacrificed over recent years in order to create sporty-looking specials, which is very unfortunate. But in the 1950s and 1960s, old Monacos were just that - old cars that most people considered junk, and were fair game for turning into something more exciting. Bruce adds:
"I thought you might be interested in this picture taken in 1959. It was at my wedding. The car is a special based on a Riley Monaco chassis with a body of conduit tubing and aluminium pop-riveted on. A wonderful registration number. It was brush painted with Valspar in the week before the wedding - remember the adverts for Valspar featuring a tiny picture so you couldn't see the brush marks?"
"True story. Two guys in 1960 coming out of the pub look at the car and one says "What's that - an MG?", the other replies "Nah that's not an MG that's a f**king racer!". It was thus christened the Firkin Racer."
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Riley-based special
Although now living in the US, Bruce maintains an interest in British cars, owning both a 1970 Jaguar E Type, and a 1967 Mark 2 saloon.
Where is the Riley though - did it survive into modern times? The registration is/was RAC 231, a Warwickshire number from 1954-onwards, presumably the time that the car was registered in its special guise.
An advertisement for the car found its way into Motor Sport magazine, page 78 of the August 1962 issue. For sale in Wetherby, it reads as follows:
"RAC 231: Rebuilt Riley Special; requires wiring and body to complete. Specification comprises Monaco chassis boxed and stiffened, 1250cc BMC unit to MG Stage One. 45 GBP."
More information on its fate very welcome. Thanks to Bruce for emailing the photo over.
Return to Page 19 in the photographic archive, or visit the main index here. Photographs of various Riley Monacos back in period may be found here.

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