1949 Riley RMC Roadster 2,5 Litre Sold
With some early Competition history.
We are again fortunate in acquiring one of these rare and impressive Riley cars .. a genuine top-of-the line RMC Open-Top Roadster (3-seater), seldom seen on the roads today as only 507 were built, largely by hand, with only 100 RHD like this one for the home market, with floor-mounted gearshift and improved steering.
Unusual design features of this iconic model include sleek, low-slung bodywork, initially designed to appeal to the opulent North American market, with cutaway doors, compact hood, lower bonnet line, fold-flat windscreen. three-abreast seating, quite exceptional rear stowage area, 20 imperial gallon tank and unusual 4 over-riders per bumper – known as ‘cow catchers‘.
This highly usable example, with matching numbers, is offered at a fraction of the price of a Concours job. In last ownership for 25 years with a full engine rebuild around a 1000 miles ago! However, it is no pampered show queen, so please don’t come and nit-pick, but it is very honest and authentic-looking from the passage of time. Its sleek, art-deco bodywork still turns heads on the road. Finished in Olde English White, very solid panel work with only with only minor touching in here and there. Plush interior upholstery in deep red with matching carpets, polished wood, hood, sidescreens and tailored tonneau cover. Comes with history folder with bills for professional engine rebuild, which included new pistons, re-boring and crank regrinding. Gearbox repaired too as well as beefy, oversize tyres fitted for performance and economy. The manual fuel pump has also been superseded by a modern, electric SU pump.
The car was part of a classic collection and appears to have been sparingly used with only 3,620 miles recorded in the last 34 years, or just over 100 miles per annum, according to the milometer and DVLA records.
Check out similar models currently for sale on the internet at between £40k and £95k, but I would still prefer this old girl for use and fun whatever the weather. It’s a car with immense character which stands out from the crowd and drives like a Swiss timepiece. If you wanted to respray it and do some rechroming you could perhaps double your money, but hey, I would just leave it as it is and enjoy using this powerful and rare sportscar! First £19,995 owns it. Totally unrepeatable, so when its gone, its gone!
For more info, or to arrange viewing, call or text John on 07909 231414. Car located in Lytham St Annes, Lancs. Transport arranged at £1 pr/mile, one way only charged.
Interesting History of this actual Car
There is an old dealer plaque on the dashboard for Glanfield Lawrence Ltd, who probably supplied the car new. They were a well known motor firm who used to exhibit at Olympia in the thirties and ended up with six Centres and 100 employees. An early private owner of the Riley was a Mr P W J Parkes who was obviously a keen Motorsport enthusiast as his name appears in the list of drivers at the Lulsgate Aerodrome Racetrack for 15th April, 1950 where MHU541 was entered in the Sportscars over 2 litre class. The car also took part in the many trials of the 1952 Welsh Rally, and is featured in the 1996 book by Lynda Springate “A nostalgic look at Riley Cars” where there is a full page photo of MHU541 on p51, which the author obtained from the archives at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu (see last pic above) A copy of her book is included in the sale.
According to another dashboard plaque the car appeared in the 1985 film “Dance with a Stranger” the sad tale of Ruth Ellis. Latterly, it also appears to have participated in the Caen Normand Rally and the 2015 “Classic Cars on the Prom” line-up in Bournemouth.
History of the Marque
In the grim economic environment of the immediate post-war years, the UK motor industry was under intense government pressure to ‘export or die’. Efforts were largely directed towards the vast potential of the booming and profitable North American market, though it quickly became clear that the average British car was unsuited to both American tastes and road conditions.
Riley’s answer to this problem was the RMC Roadster, a glamorous convertible with a long, sweeping tail, exaggerated cow-catcher bumpers and an exposed spare wheel. A bench-type front seat was fitted, as was the USA-favoured column gear change, though this proved troublesome in operation and was quickly replaced with a conventional floor shift.
Based on the same low-slung chassis as its RMB saloon sibling, its sleek two-door bodywork featured cutaway doors, a compact hood, fold-flat windscreen and three abreast seating. An engaging drive courtesy of independent torsion bar front suspension, a ‘live’ rear axle, Girling four-wheel hydro-mechanical drum brakes and rack and pinion steering, it was powered by a 2443cc ‘twin-cam’ four-cylinder engine mated to four-speed manual transmission.
Quoted as having some 100bhp and 134lbft of torque on tap, it was reputedly capable of over 90mph. Woefully it omitted to wow the American public thus the RMC was quietly dropped in 1951 after just 507 are thought to have been made, virtually all in left-hand drive, and only 280 are now thought to survive worldwide.