1936 RILEY 9HP MERLIN FOUR DOOR SPORTS SALOON
Registration No. BRU 350
Chassis No. 66 M 1159
Engine No. originally M1159, now SM 1295
Black with dark green interior
Engine: four cylinders in line, inclined overhead valves, 1,087cc, twin SU carburettors, 30bhp at 4,500rpm; Gearbox: four speed manual; Suspension: front and rear, semi-elliptic springs front and rear; Brakes: four-wheel cable operated drum. Right hand drive.
The 60mph Nine was a turning point for the company. Powered by a highly efficient 1,087cc hemispherical head engine, its four occupants accommodated neatly within the wheelbase, with four wheel brakes adjustable from the driver's seat, the Nine offered great controllability, refinement, precision in controls, an excellent gearbox, by 1933 with all helical constant-mesh gears. It was an immediate success and in the manner of the time at Riley, there was a host of variants, from the staid 1927 two-seater tourer, via Reid Railton and Parry Thomas's low-slung Brooklands Nine sports-racer, to the company's own sports tourers.
Decoding Riley's system of chassis numbers for this period designates this car as an example of the steel-bodied Merlin, a new model at the 1935 London Show. As ever with Riley their coachwork and detail features put them in a class of their own and it was these aspects which made the cars all the more appealing then as they do today, such as the clever incorporation of the 'Vee' angles of their diamond logo into the bodywork designs.
A V5 registration document with the car confirms it to have taken to the road first on 12th February 1936, though no other history is known. It does however also confirm that the car has been in the collection since before 1975.
Last road taxed to December 1971, by which time its mileage was 64,750, today after many years of storage the car is in somewhat tired order. The paintwork would certainly need restoration, but in our opinion the rather charming interior may well be able to be preserved rather than replaced, though naturally it could provide a template for refurbishment. The car also benefits from having a sliding sunroof.
In apparent complete order, the Riley represents a straightforward restoration project.