1930 Riley Nine Brooklands

Highlights


• Original Nine Brooklands
• History since day one - Raced from New York to Los Angeles – 4200 miles in 102 hours
• Recent mechanical restoration
• Fully rebuilt engine
• Fantastic overall condition

The Background


Developed by Percy and Stanley Riley the Riley Nine was a hugely successful car for the firm. The Brooklands, although based on a revised version of the Nine chassis, was quite the departure from that original car.

From 1928-1932 the Riley Brooklands was produced and built for racing and rallies. These vehicles were used in numerous races including; LeMans, Nürburgring, Tourist Trophy and Brooklands.

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The History


This Riley with chassis number 8070 was built in 1930 and shipped to America to promote the Riley Nine. The Riley company was known for proving its reliability in long distance events around the world. In 1930 this Riley 8070 was delivered to America to drive from New York to Los Angeles, stopping only for fuel and rest breaks. The Pemberton-Billing / Rupert Riley team managed this trip in under 6 days.

On July 6, 1930, the team made their way to Los Angeles at 10:30 am. Rupert Riley, who is not a member of the Riley family, became part of the company in 1929. In New Jersey, the team was stopped by the police while driving through red lights. 

To accomplish the record they drove day and night. The average speed was 48mph (77km / h). The actual driving time was 102 hours and 4,200 miles (6,759 kilometers). The team needed exactly 5 days, 20 hours and 13 minutes for this trip. A detailed report on this trip can be found in the book, Sporting Rileys - The Forgotten Champions by David G. Styles.

In 1936 Rupert Riley replied to a photo regarding a Riley Brooklands owned by George H. Parris of Santa Anna, California. It was more than likely the car he had driven.

In 1941 a picture of a Riley Brooklands was published in the Riley Record magazine: the car being a much darker colour and has a registration 3W84 40 .

After this record run, the vehicle stayed in America and was converted into a racing car with a V8 engine (the V8 engine is included in the sale). In the 1940s, the vehicle was then used in races in America. A picture of Lucas Forster competing at Palos Verdes Hill Climb, California published in American Road Racing 1948 – 50 by Joel Finn, identified as 2Mercury V8 Riley Special”

Where the vehicle was in America from 1940`s to 1978 is currently unknown. In 1978 this Brooklands, Chassis No. 8070 was sold to the Netherlands. A report of the arrival was published in Riley Bulletin No. 100 published on 12/1980.

At the end of the 80s, 8070 was sold by the Mercedes car dealership Lueg in Düsseldorf. The owner used the vehicle at numerous racing events, including the Avd Oldtimer Grand Prix on the Nürburgring. At this point in time the V8 engine was still installed.

In 1992 Barrie Gillies in England installed an original Riley Brooklands engine with 1100 cc (72PS). The vehicle was last used in a race in 1993 at the Klaussen race in Switzerland. 8070 was then kept in Germany and formed part of a classic car collection for the next 30 years.

The current owner purchased this Riley in 2020 and with a plan to bring the car back to life after standing for more than 20 years. The car still retains its original steel body and is presented in good mechanical order. 

Having undergone a refresh and engine rebuild it is in great shape overall with no rust having covered  a mere 1000 miles since the work was completed.

The Paperwork


The Brooklands was driven in a timed run from New York to Los Angeles in 1930 by a Mr Pemberton-Billing and Rupert Riley. A well documented account of this comes with the car including news stories of the adventure. 

The prominent 390 number sticker still proudly adorns the Riley since its participation in the 1993 Klausenrennen memorial hill climb event in the Swiss Alps.

The car is registered in Germany with Historic Approval and is assigned with registration VIE 1930 H. Also present in the document file is the FIA - Historic Regularity Car Pass, various newspaper clippings and photographs of the vehicle in recent years.

The Interior


The interior, although rather spartan, is all present and correct. All of the correct gauges are installed but the speedometer is currently being fixed and the tachometer is being refurbished by a specialist prior to sale.

The black leather seats are in great shape with just some age-related hazing to the hide which is in keeping with the overall aesthetic. The matching door cards present well and the aluminium dash looks great in contrast with the wood-rimmed steering wheel which is also in top condition.

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The Exterior


The car is by no means concours, it is 91 years old after all, but that's not to say that it is in bad shape. Far from it. The light blue paintwork looks great and there doesn't appear to be any rust to speak of anywhere on the car. The chassis and body are both solid and the original wire wheels with period Blockley 6 ply tyres look good.

The bonnet straps and springs are all present and in good condition, as are the rest of the trim pieces and the windscreens are undamaged. The car comes with a new tonneau cover that is free from any rips or tears.

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The Mechanics


The engine looks great thanks to the recent rebuild and many new parts have been fitted, including an uprated oil pump, Phoenix crankshaft, RSSL pistons, adjustable camshafts and radiator, as well as a fully rebuilt Magneto ignition system and aluminium fuel tank.

The shock absorbers are also new, as are the wrapped leaf springs and the entire braking system has been replaced so this Brooklands stops as well as it drives, and drives as good as it looks.

Not forgetting the V8 engine is also included in the sale.

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The Appeal


This is not a car for the feint of heart. It requires an experienced hand to pilot competently but once mastered you won't look back - it is a truly rewarding drive and the sense of speed, what with being so low to the ground, is exhilarating.

Often overlooked in favour of the Bugattis and English Racing Automobiles of the time, the Riley Brooklands was a successful racer with a superb engine and it deserves its place among those greats of that pre-war period.

Maybe its next pilot should consider recreating the fast road trip from east to west coast for the Brooklands centenary in 2030.
Just imagine blatting it up the hill at Shelsley Walsh or hooning it around the circuit at Goodwood. We can think of few better ways to spend the weekends.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1930
  • Make Riley
  • Model Nine Brooklands
  • Colour Blue
  • Odometer 1,000 Miles
  • Engine size 1087
  • Town Grefrath
  • Location International
  • Country Germany
Bidding history
29 bids
  • jonatha•••• €120,000 26/11/21
  • nick.yo•••• €118,000 26/11/21
  • morris.•••• €116,500 26/11/21
  • laurent•••• €116,000 26/11/21
  • morris.•••• €115,500 26/11/21
  • laurent•••• €115,000 26/11/21
  • nick.yo•••• €114,500 26/11/21
  • laurent•••• €113,500 26/11/21
  • nick.yo•••• €113,000 26/11/21
  • laurent•••• €111,500 26/11/21

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