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Homepage. This page: Examples of four-door Rover 10 Riviera saloons, with full-length folding fabric sunroofs.
Original transport photographs
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1. Rover 10/25 Riviera.

For the motorist looking for the practicality, and weatherproofing, of a four-door saloon, but with the option of open-air motoring, then a car such as this would no doubt have appealed. The distinctive radiator, and the mascot upon it, confirm its identity as a vintage Rover, most likely a Rover 10/25. A closer look reveals its full-length fabric roof fully opened up. The full-length "sun roof" was a feature of the 10/25 Riviera model, introduced in 1929 and sold alongside the two-door 10/25 Sportsman's Coupe.
This example appears to have all-steel coachwork, but most I've seen photos of have the fabric-covered, Weymann type, coachwork. Asking price for this model in 1929 was 250 GBP. The all-steel version was added to the range in 1931. The car below's registration was VT 4098, a Stoke-on-Trent series used from June 1927 to September 1933.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Rover 10/25 Riviera

2. An earlier Rover "sunshine saloon" in black-out trim.

Later 10/25s, on spoked wheels, had a longer chassis when compared to the earlier types on the solid artillery-type wheels, as fitted to the second car on this page. The depth of the scuttle on the earlier cars also appears to vary slightly, depending on which car you look at. John kindly sent over this next Rover photograph, a family shot that sees his father Leslie sat behind the wheel in the early years of WW2. This car also has the full-length opening roof, referred to in some adverts of the time as the "sunshine saloon", but usually known as the Riviera.
Alas the registration number isn't visible, but the car dates to the late 1920s. In deference to black-out restrictions introduced during the Second World War, the wings have received a coat of white paint to their edges, and a mask has been fitted to the nearside headlamp. The car was obviously kept in fabulous condition, the reflection of the cast aluminium number plate can just be made out on the front apron, above the nearside front spring.
An earlier Rover 10/25 Riviera

More news regarding the Rover shown above.

Amazingly, several years after publishing the above photograph, more information on both the Rover's early life - and incredibly its survival to this day - turned up in July 2014. Thanks to Ian Smith for the following updates:
"For your information the above Rover on your web site is in fact KR 1576 that was bought by my father in 1939, and as you say is decked out ready for the blackouts. This car was used right up to about 1960 when it was disposed of. It was refurbished around 1986 as it was a total wreck, and much of the wooden body was replaced and new fabric fitted changing the colour from black to red. I bought the car April of this year, and I am in the process of refurbishing the interior. So this car has come full circle in its life, strange as it may seem. By the way, the people in the web site photo (above) are my late uncle and my mother."
Amazing, to think that not only the car survives but has returned to the family of its pre-war owners is staggering. Along with Ian's email came a number of photographs showing the Rover. The first is another view of the car at the same location as portrayed above, in 1939, along with a scan of its tax disc from that year (itself quite a rare survivor).
The Rover and its 1939 tax disc
The Rover survived the war, and is shown below on the Isle of Wight in 1953. The blackout additions have now disappeared, as you'd expect, and the car continues to glisten.
The 10/25 Rover in 1953
The story of how Ian came to discover his family's old motor is now described:
"Whilst staying in the South of France with friends in 2013 in a idle moment I put the make and registration of the car into their computer, & it came up on an auction site (Brightwells) in the UK for 2012 but was unsold, end of story I thought."
"In April of this year (2014) a friend informed me that the car was in fact in an auction at Sandown Park Race course. Well in short I travelled to there from Leigh on Sea, and I was transported back forty odd years when seeing the Rover and opening the rear door and smelling the mixture petrol/oil/and old leather. I bid for the car and got it!"
"The thought of driving it around the M25 to Leigh on Sea in Essex filled me with horror, what with double de-clutching and not knowing whether there were any dire things mechanically that would manifest themselves on the motorway, despite it being intimated being sound mechanically. A transporter brought it over to Leigh on Sea, so in a way it has come full circle for as child we would travel in it from South London to Leigh in our many trips around the south coast of England/Devon/Cornwall. At one point in its long life it was owned by an elderly lady in Cornwall for about 7 years and used regularly. I am a full-time artist and have painted the car a few times from memory, but know I can paint it from life."
What a great story, thanks for getting in touch. Here is the car as it is today:
Same car but in 2014

The purchase receipt from 1939.

Ian's father clearly threw very little away, at least when it came to old documentation. For tucked away in a file, survives the bill of sale from when he purchased the car in 1939. The supplying garage was Lane's, an AA- and RAC-Approved business located at 236 Norwood Road, West Norwood, London. They also had offices in Herne Hill. The garage's owner was a Mr F. W. Lane. In addition to selling used cars, this emporium could also supply brand new examples of Austin, Hillman, Ford, Morris and Wolseley, although that situation wouldn't remain for too much longer.
Lane's garage

3. Another early Rover 10/25 Riviera saloon.

Credit for the following photos goes to Steve Musgrave, he found these in a family album and was keen for the car to be identified. The distinctive radiator gives it away as being a Rover, and the line of the fabric towards the rear of the roof - visible from certain angles - confirms that it's a 10/25 Riviera with the wide, full-length, fabric sunroof. The photographs dates to 1937 or thereabouts, and were probably taken in Mansfield. Steve's brother is the young lad peering out of the Rover's roof in one of the snaps, and stood alongside the car in another, while his mother can be seen occupying the front passenger seat also. Many thanks for permitting me to share your photos on this page Steve.
A Rover 10/25 Riviera with its roof open
A Rover 10/25 Riviera in Mansfield
Rear 3/4 view of the Rover Riviera
A Rover 10/25 Riviera in Mansfield
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