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Homepage. This page: Various examples of the smaller pre-war 9hp Rileys, including the Riley 9 Monaco.
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Riley 9 Monaco saloon.

This is the latest old-car photograph sent over by Leo in the Netherlands. It shows a friend of his, who was spending time training at the Albion lorry factory at the time (1958). The car looks like a Riley 9 to me. It's six-light saloon coachwork, and the style of the radiator, suggest that it's probably a late-1930s Riley 9 Monaco. At first I wondered if it was a 9hp Merlin saloon, but that model had four-light coachwork rather than the Monaco's six. Can anyone confirm this identification?
a pre-war Riley saloon car
The Riley 9 Monaco of the mid-1930s came with a four cylinder engine of just 1087cc under the bonnet. Twin Zenith carburettors were standard fitment, enabling the car to put 42bhp, via a four speed gearbox, to the back wheels. The Monaco first went on sale to the public in 1927, featuring a fabric covered enclosed body fitted to the 9hp chassis. A switch to steel coachwork would take place in 1934, by which time there had been many different versions of the Riley 9 available. This example, registration KS 7758, was first registered in the Roxburgh area of Scotland. I wonder where it ended up? it had already survived 20-25 years when this photo was taken. Is it still around, either as a Monaco saloon or perhaps re-bodied as a special of some kind, a common fate of pre-war enclosed Rileys.

2. Bill's Riley 9hp.

Bill contacted me in 2010 and emailed over this scan he's uncovered. It shows an earlier style of Riley 9 Monaco saloon, that he owned in 1946. The registration - HG 290 - suggests an early life in the Burnley area, registered after March 1930. Thanks Bill :-)
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A Riley 9 Monaco

3. A Riley 9 Monaco of 1930/1931.

The slightly dull finish to this car's bodywork confirms that this is a fabric-bodied example of the 9hp Monaco. The car was first registered as VC 7559 in the Coventry area in 1930 or 1931, making it similar in age to the car in Bill's photo (above), and a fair bit earlier than the first Riley motor-car to feature on this page. Coventry was one of many cities that received a hammering during WW2 - did this car (and its occupants) survive into the post-war era I wonder?
A Riley 9 Monaco car of 1930/1931

4. A Riley Nine receives roadside TLC.

An early 1930's Riley Nine, probably a Monaco, is shown here parked in a wooded lane, its bonnet raised, with its owner attending to matters within. The registration is JN 3360. This Southend-issued series ran from 1930 to 1937, so doesn't help with pinpointing the build year of this car. John H though got in touch saying the reg. dates to June/July 1933, thanks John. Going by the style of the Riley's radiator, I was thinking 1933/1934 so I was close. While the gent busies himself with the Riley's engine, his good lady is seen somewhat closer to the camera, inspecting the flora. Or maybe she's trying to hide from someone, possibly wrought with embarrassment at her car's inability to proceed?
Riley Nine car with bonnet raised

5. A Riley Monaco parked close to a seaside arcade.

"Say cheese". Although the Riley wasn't the subject of this photo, as a snapshot of a 1930's seaside town and the fashions of the time, this photo deserves a mention. Unfortunately the Riley saloon - fitted with a non-standard front bumper bar - is partially obscured by the tall chat sporting a floppy flat cap (not unlike my own). The car resembles the example shown in photo number 3, above. The young lad in the foreground is smartly dressed too, topped off by a jauntily-angled beret. A shop called Harrison's Corner can be seen in the background, situated alongside "The Arcade".
Update. Bruce dropped me a line: "I am sure this was taken on Worthing sea front, Marine Parade looking west. The bandstand is in the background. South Street comes in on the right and the pier would be on the left. The 'IN' is on the entry to the Marine Hotel." He also sends a photo of the Monaco-based special he owned in 1959: Riley 9 Special. Thanks Bruce.
A Riley 9 Monaco saloon in the early 1930s

6. Side view of a Monaco.

Next, another contemporary photo of a 9hp saloon - this time a side-on view - of a fabric-bodied Monaco, shown with a lady behind the wheel, and another sat staring out from the shady rear compartment. The car looks like the second version of the Monaco saloon, dating to 1929 or 1930.
Side view of a Riley Monaco

7. 1932 Riley 9.

Character in the car's rear window
Photographs now follow of London-registered Riley 9 GX 165, sporting a very in-period registration plate with separate aluminium letters attached to the backplate. An AA badge is fitted at a jaunty angle to the Riley's honeycomb radiator. This registration series only ran from March 1932 to June 1932, so it's reasonable to think that this car was registered in March of that year. Photograph number one sees the Riley parked at a roadside location, with a lady and two children sat on the verge alongside. Most of the car's door glasses are lowered which, combined with the mother and father's attire, suggest a warm time of year. The car is immaculate, so perhaps it was new, or almost new, at the time of these images.A cut-out of a cartoon character can be seen hanging in the rear window - the proportions don't look correct for 1930's Mickey Mouse, unless of course it was a home-made character loosely based on Mickey (see right).
1932 Riley
Another photo of the car in the same position. This time the man of the household is posed with the prized motor-car. Look very closely and the young boy's face can just be made out, peeking through the nearside rear window.
Front view
The final photo of this particular car was taken on a different occasion. Warm coats are now in evidence, and the character in the rear window is still in place. Note the spare wheel cover, emblazoned with the car's manufacturer across it.
Rear view

Further images of GX 165.

A further six photographs of, I believe, the same Riley as shown above - GX 165. The people shown with the Riley certainly look the same. The last in this latest group also reveals the same "Mickey Mouse" hanging inside the rear window, although the car exhibits a couple of alterations when compared to the photos above. Firstly, the Riley is now graced with a sizeable radiator mascot not evident above, and secondly it has gained a bolt-on peak over the windscreen.
So, to the car. Three youngsters are in the next scene, in winter's clothing. The additions to the Riley are clearly visible in this front 3/4 view.
Front view of the Monaco
I believe that the following two photos were also taken at the same time and location, only the people in them alternate depending on who was behind the camera at the time.
Family with their Riley 9
More family photos with their car
A rear 3/4 view of the Riley now.
Rear corner view of the Riley
Again, four members of the family are stood alongside the vintage Riley. The clothing suggests a chilly time of year.
Riley 9hp Monaco
The weather is noticeably warmer when the following final photograph was taken, the family's clothing is much lighter and the Riley's sliding roof is open, as are the door windows.
Another roadside stop

8. 1934 Riley.

I believe that the following 1934-registered Riley saloon belonged to the same family as the car shown above, certainly the individuals shown with the car look very similar. Like the previous example, it's London-registered (AXN 330), and also a four-door, although with its divided rear window, and enclosed boot space, it may be a different variant of the Nine (Biarritz or Mentone perhaps?). In the first photo, the mother and father of the family are sat with the car on what must have been a jolly pleasant ride out in the Devon countryside, according to the hand-written note. Close inspection of the photo reveals semaphore indicators fitted in separate boxes, ie not flush in the bodywork, to the windscreen pillars. With the rear-hinged, suicide-type front doors, care would have been required when entering or exiting the car not to catch the indicator units.
A 1934 Riley in Devon
In the next photo of AXN 330, we see the parked Riley with members of the family sat alongside. This side-on view clearly shows the distinctive shape of the bonnet louvres often found on pre-war Rileys, which is echoed in the shape of the upper door frames, and their respective panes of glass. All the photos are printed on Velox photographic paper, but whether they were all taken on the same trip to Lynton in Devon, I'm not sure. What I do know for sure is that the Riley is no longer registered with DVLA.
Side view of the Riley
The dad, in a cheerful striped blazer, and his daughter, are shown now, stood on the front seats and looking out from the Riley's open sunroof.
Sunroof open
In this rear quarter view, the Riley's distinctive divided rear window, and enclosed bootlid, are visible.
Rear view of the car
Last in this set is a side-on look at the Riley, with its rear-hinged doors and sliding sunroof open. If anyone could confirm the exact model of Riley shown, that'd be useful, thanks.
Another side view with the doors open
Return to Old Car Photos Page No. 9.
Other Rileys to feature in this section include a mid-1960s' shot of a Riley 9 Brooklands, at the time stored in a Belfast garage but later lost due to the property being firebombed. A receipt issued in 1933 recalls the sale of a Riley 9 at a garage in London, a scan of that document may now be found here.

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