SOLD – 1928 Riley 9 Special

  • Sporting Riley 9 Special for sale at The Classic Motor Hub
  • Low and light, this car is wonderful to drive
  • Converted into its current look in the late 1950s
  • Well known to the Riley club
  • Lovely history file with lots of period pictures and invoices


In the inter-war period the Riley 9 was one of the most successful light sporting cars produced by the British motor industry and made by the Riley Car Company of Coventry, England with a wide range of body styles between 1926 and 1938.

When the car was launched in July 1926, two body styles were available: a fabric bodied saloon called the Monaco at £285 and a fabric four-seat tourer for £235. The saloon could reach 60mph with a respectably low consumption of around 40mpg. Soon after, two further bodies were offered: the San Remo (an artillery wheeled basic saloon) and a two-seater plus dickie open tourer.


According to the original registration document on file, this Riley 9 was first registered on the 7th of December 1928 and started life as a Monaco Saloon, registration VT 2188, a number it retains to this day. These small, luxury, light cars boasted a twin camshaft, overhead valve engine, displacing 1087cc, while breathing through Zenith carburettors gave a generous 42hp at 3600rpm. Combined with a 4 speed gearbox and a low centre of gravity – they set the standards for all light cars until the outbreak of WWII.

In the 1950’s Chris Wilder, a life-long racer, rebodied the Riley along with his brother Geoff using a sleek, lightweight racing shell made by Chris Gould of Worthing. They then proceeded to campaign it in VSCC and BARC Club events at circuits and hill climbs in England for the next decade, and a hoard of scrutineering tags in the history file show how active they were!

Following the Wilder brothers, the Riley found its way to a larger than live character, Charlie Mortimer. Charlie was a part time car dealer and during his ownership it was partially restored and the engine rebuilt, however his father managed to persuade him to sell it having scared him half to death during a trip to the local WH Smiths in nearby Newbury when Charlie tried to impress his father with his new acquisition’s performance. At the time Charlie could not hold down a job and had no idea what he was going to do, a position he held for the next 45 years! His father’s despair was so great he even wrote a book about it call ‘Dear Lupin, Letters to a Wayward Son’ that went on to be a Times best seller.

Anyway, back to the car. The Riley then passed into the hands of a Mr Michael Cook of Radstock in Somerset who wanted to convert the 9 into a grass-track racer. However, when he got the car home in 1971/2 it required a new set of tyres so it was parked at the back of the garage where it remained until 2013!!

A Mr Mills managed to prize the car away from him and set about getting the car up and running after 40 years of sitting idle. He exported the car to Malta and even entered it for the Mdina Grand Prix in 2014. The car was repatriated in 2017 and re-issued its original registration, at which time the car was acquired by the well know television presenter and petrol head Henry Cole, who has enjoyed the car since.

This lovely little vintage Riley 9 Special is now available for sale and immediate inspection at the Classic Motor Hub.

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