Riley RMD DHC, 1951
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Updated: 22-September-2023 15:07

Riley RMD DHC, 1951

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Model information
Make history

Riley RMD Drophead Coupe, year 1951. Colour two-tone, dark red over black. Red leather interior with black carpet. Beige hood and black hood cover. This fantastic Riley is one of the only 502 ever built RMD Drophead Coupe models. The car was extensively and professionally restored to concours (show) condition! A beautiful four passenger tourer with a jaw dropping gorgeous dashboard, excellent hood and lovely frame-less roll up windows.


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Like many British motorcar factories Riley started as a bicycle manufacturer. Upgrading to motorized tricycles and ultimately automobiles. The firm was located in Coventry where other British car firms like Alvis, Daimler, Hillman, Humber, Jaguar, Riley and Triumph would emerge in the late 19th and early 20th century. Riley built their first automobile in 1907. The first four cylinder Riley saw the light of day in 1914. The firm was most successful building reliable light cars. The greatest success came with the Riley 9 series which was introduced in the year 1926. The cars featured four cylinder engines with overhead valves and high placed camshaft. The Riley 9 was available with several beautiful body styles. Also a 80 mph. Brooklands sporting version could be had. In the year 1929 Riley introduced a beautiful OHV six cylinder engine with the Riley 14 (14-6). The 14 succeeded the 9 within the same successful concept and dimensions. One of the most intriguing Riley models appeared in 1934, the six cylinder MPH. In the years before the successful Riley 9 the firm also built more up-market bigger cars like the 17 from 1914 until 1923. In the year 1935 Riley entered the big car market with the 8/90 a 2178 cc. V8 model. The V8 motor was engineered as a combination of two four cylinder Riley 9 engines. In the year 1938 the then financially shaky firm was taken over by the Nuffield organisation. From 1945 until the year 1957 'Nuffield' Riley cars retained their character and the Riley developed engines. In these years the beautiful RM series was marketed. The RM series featured robust yet stylish bodywork based on a timber frame. The delightful four cylinder OHV engines featured twin camshafts. We distinguish the following RM models: RMA 1496 cc. - Sports saloon 10.504 built between 1945-1952, RMB 2443 cc. - Sports saloon 6900 built between 1946-1952, RMC 2443 cc. - US market roadster 507 built between 1948-1951, RMD 2443 cc. - Drophead Coupe 502 built between 1948 -1951, RME 1496 cc. - Sports saloon 3446 built between 1952-1955. RMF 2443 cc. - Sports saloon 1050 built between 1952-1953.
 In 1953 the Pathfinder was presented. This slick saloon featured a fashionable 'ponton' style bodywork and was fitted with the splendid twin-cam Riley engine. From 1957 Riley became part of British Motor Corporation (BMC), the Riley engine was abandoned as was the character of the proud brand. From that year the Riley cars were badge engineered Wolseley, Morris and Austin cars. The most lovely Riley from the later period is the Morris Minor based 1.5 Saloon which was built from 1957 until 1965. After the BMC merger with Leyland Motors in 1968 the resulting firm of British Leyland Motor Corporation discontinued the Riley make in 1969.

Technical data

Four cylinder in-line engine (twin-cam)
cylinder capacity: 2443 cc.
capacity: 100 bhp. at 4000 rpm.
carburettor(s): 2 x S.U.
top speed: 145 km/h.
gearbox: 4-speed, manual
brakes: hydromech drum brakes all round
weight: 1400 kg.


Marc Vorgers
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Marc Vorgers