1952 Riley RMF
restoration and under 500 miles since; matching numbers; in wonderful
condition throughout; various modern upgrades including LED lights, electric
fan, high-level brake lights, flashing indicators, USB ports and even a
Last and best of the RM Series, the RMF was only in
production from 1952 – 53 and featured a number of improvements over its
predecessors, most obviously a larger rear window for better visibility. The RMF
also had fully hydraulic drum brakes rather than the hydromechanical system of
the earlier cars and featured independent torsion bar front suspension and
rack-and-pinion steering which gave excellent ride and handling for the era.
Under the bonnet was Riley’s wonderful 2.5-litre
'Big-Four' with twin camshafts mounted high at the sides of the cylinder block,
hemispherical combustion chambers and twin SU carbs. Driving through a
four-speed gearbox linked to a new hypoid bevel rear axle by an open propshaft,
in RMF form the engine produced 100bhp giving the car lively acceleration and a
top speed just a whisker shy of the magic ton. No wonder the Police loved
Only 1,050 RMFs were made before it was replaced by the
Pathfinder in 1954 and good ones are highly prized today. Just look at the
styling – isn’t it gorgeous?
This car is certainly one of the good ones. In fact we
would go so far as to say it is perhaps the best we have seen in over 15 years
of hosting these sales. It was bought as a rolling restoration by an American
Riley enthusiast in 2005 who promptly set about a ground-up restoration which
was to keep him happily employed for the next eight years.
The extent of the work carried out is far too detailed to
list in full here, but rest assured – every single nut and bolt on this car has
been either rebuilt or renewed, the owner being a gifted engineer who even
fabricated parts from scratch if replacements were not available or he
thought the original design could be improved upon. The whole process was
exhaustively documented in a blog that the owner constantly updated from 2005 to
2013, including thousands of words and hundreds of photos. In fact you wonder
how he found the time to work on both the car and the website at once!
The blog gained a considerable audience worldwide, our
vendor being one of many people who followed progress with equal measures of
interest and admiration. Sadly, just as the restoration was nearing completion,
the American owner suffered a change in his personal circumstances and was
forced to put the Riley up for sale, leading to a deluge of offers from which
our vendor was delighted to emerge victorious.
A Riley Club member himself, he had the car shipped back
to England and set about the final detailing which he only completed in the
summer of 2019. In the spirit of the American owner, he also incorporated modern
improvements of his own, including uprating the electrical system with negative
earth conversion to accommodate extras like LED lighting, high level brake
lights, flashing front indicators integrated into the torpedo sidelights and an
electric cooling fan.
On the inside he added double USB ports for sat nav and
iPod connectivity, a voltmeter, Delaney Gallay heater, Jaeger rev counter and
clock with electronic conversion and even a reversing camera to eliminate the
need for ugly wing mirrors! Care was taken to ensure that all these mods can be
easily undone should the new owner feel so inclined (but why would you?).
The car has only covered some 470 miles since the
restoration was completed and the engine (which is original to the car and was
fully rebuilt with new white metal bearings; crankshaft sludge traps correctly
cleaned out etc) is still at the running-in stage so it will need to be
gently treated for the next 500 miles or more before the performance can be
safely exploited to the full.
Supplied with a V5C and an original RMF handbook, the car
also comes with a USB stick containing all the restoration notes and photos.
Interested parties can be sent a link to the original blog by emailing our own
James Dennison on the address shown below. Be warned though, there is a helluva
lot to read!
Only reluctantly for sale because our vendor has now
acquired another project which is consuming all his time and resources, this
stunning ‘matching numbers’ Riley is in fabulous condition throughout and is
sure to turn heads wherever it goes.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or