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Homepage. This page: Old colour photos of a classic 1950's Riley saloon.

Riley RME saloon.

Firstly, thanks to Keith McGovern for the following three photographs, all of a 1954 Riley RME saloon that he owned at the dawn of the 1970s. By this time, the Riley had seen around 16/17 years of action. First registered in the London area, 990 CML was a throwback to the post-war era of British built saloons that still employed traditional coachbuilding practices within its structure, unlike the Rileys of the mid/late 1960s, which were re-worked - or "badge-engineered" - offerings based on other cars from within the British Motor Corporation's stable.
RMs are no stranger to the Old Classic Car site. On this page, for example, are another visitor's recollections of owning a 1.5 Litre Riley RME in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The site search will no doubt bring up more references to these fine old cars too.
Keith's car was an RME, an RM variant introduced in 1952 and based on the previous 1.5 Litre 1945-1952 RMA. The differences between the two cars was evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The rear window was enlarged over the earlier car, while the running boards were deleted (1953) to distance the car slightly from its 1930s/1940s roots.
Two of Keith's photos show the Riley parked in a street, circa 1971/72. The handsome lines of Riley's post-war saloon offering are clear to see in this photo, but undoubtably belonged in an earlier age, with its two-piece windscreen, upright radiator grille, and partially-enclosed rear wheel spats. By comparison, the Ford 100E Anglia in the background, which was probably a similar age to the Riley, looks almost modern by comparison. Note the absent windscreen wiper on the driver's side.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Riley RME
(My own dad owned a couple of RMs, and waxes lyrical about them to this day. One was a 1.5 Litre RMA saloon, the other a 2.5 Roadster which he swapped in the 1960s ... for a Triumph Herald. I don't think he's ever got over that deal. Photos of those Rileys can be found on his motoring memories page.)
The second of Keith's photos appears to have been taken on the same day, albeit this time from the relative safety of the pavement rather than the middle of the road. The 100E is still in evidence behind the Riley, sporting a period roof rack. Across the road is an altogether more advanced machine, in the distinctively-Citroenesque and oh-so-futuristic form of a DS saloon.
Another front view of the Riley RME
Third in this trio of fascinating photos is another o/s/f view of the Riley, this time in the surroundings of a modern housing development. The car now has a matching pair of windscreen wipers, although has picked up a mild nerf to its nearside front wing. A couple of later cars can just be made out in the background, as can a Morris Minor van, to the right of shot in a driveway. The Riley's tax disc is for July but I can't quite make out the year.
Front view
I appreciate you permitting me to share your photos on OCC Keith, thanks again.
Return to Page 20 in the motoring photographs archive, or visit the main index here.

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