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Riley RM series
 


 

By the time the RM series appeared in 1945, the great days of Riley had passed. Founded in 1898, the Company made its reputation in the 1920s and 1930s with a series of well-built saloons and thoroughbred small sports cars. It forged a fine racing record too, but, by the late 1930s, finances were looking shaky and the Nuffield organization took the helm in 1938.

Even so, the immediate [lost-war cars managed to retain their individuality: RMA and RMB models had a classic high-cam four-cylinder engine, torsion-liar independent front suspension and elegant fabric-topped, timber-framed, steel bodywork bodies. The 1 ˝ liter RMB could manage 75inph (120 kph) the 90 bhp - later 100 bhp – 2 ˝ liter RMB a highly respectable 95 mph (152 kph) with long-geared cruising at about 85 mph (136 kph).

With the longest stroke of any post- war British production car, the RMBs were extremely torqucy, too. They handled well, though heavy steering at low speeds was a constant source of criticism, For enthusiasts, the ultimate RM variant will always be the RMC, an open, three-seater roadster with sweeping, rakish lines. This was built to capture American sales (hence the column gear change). A fold-flat screen and lowered bonnet line were other recognition points. 507 were built, plus a further 502 four-seater drop head RMDs which had more conventional lines.

Last of the RM line were the 1952 RME (1496cc) and RMF (2443cc) with full hydraulic brakes, a hypoid back axle and bigger rear windows. For the run-out 1954 model year the styling of the RME underwent subtle changes: no running boards, streamlined headlight pods and rear wheel spats.


By that time the flagship RMF had been replaced by the unfortunate Gerald Palmer-designed Pathfinder, which had nothing but the traditional four-cylinder Riley engine to recommend it.

After the death of the RME in 1955, there were no more thoroughbreds Riley’s; instead the famous jewel badge was progressively debased on a succession of badge-engineered BMC saloons until the end of the 60s.

ENGINE TYPE In-line 4
CAPACITY 1496/ 2443 cc
POWER 54-100 bhp
TRANSMISSION 4-speed manual
TOP SPEED 75-100 mph (120-160km/h)
NUMBER BUILT RMA 10,504/ RMB 6,900/

RMC 507/ RMD 502/

RME 3,446/ RMF 1,050