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Charles Leith Ltd
Fordingbridge Hampshire

Tel:  01425292788
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1935 Riley 12/4 Sports Special Zagato style SOLD

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  • £65,000 As stated
  • 1935
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Price £65,000 As stated
Ad Type For Sale
Category Classic Cars
Make Riley
Model 12/4 Sports Spl Zagato Style
Year 1935
Mileage 2,000 miles
Country UK
Region Hampshire
Telephone 01425 292788
Status Trade
Date 10-Jul-2020
Ref C1244320
NOW SOLD : 1935 Riley 12/4 Sports Special Zagato Style - STUNNING

This very attractive Zagato-style Riley Special is based on a matching-numbers Riley 22T Kestrel rolling chassis with its’ correct engine, gearbox, transmission, etc. Originally registered 6th March 1935, VL 6625 was lovingly rebuilt with no expense spared by previous owner but one, John Worrell. The original saloon body had already been lost by a previous custodian when the restoration started.

The fabulous ash-framed Alfa Romeo 1750 Zagato-style body in black with crimson red leather upholstery and red wire wheels was beautifully crafted by Western Coachworks, well known in Alfa Romeo circles. Believed therefore to be as professional a job as you will see anywhere - this car is probably as well put together than many manufactured at the Riley works. The result looks just right – it being quite easy to imagine the Coventry factory producing such a car.

Invoices list that work by John Worrell commenced around the year 2000 and completed in 2006 when an officer of the Riley Register inspected the car before the updated V5C registration was then issued.

Engine work included Omega high-compression pistons, re-profiled Riley Sprite cams, twin SU carburettors, and a four-branch exhaust manifold. We are told that the 1½-litre four-cylinder twin-cam engine produces approximately 70bhp. Power is transmitted via a Wilson pre-selector gearbox, and the brakes are Girling, rod-operated.

The engine revs freely, and coupled with light bodywork this car moves along with a good turn of speed. The car sits well on the road with no roll, precise steering and strong brakes, the preselect gearbox easy to operate combined with a restored traffic clutch suited to road use. The engine bay is clean and tidy, including a Kenlowe electric cooling fan in case of traffic, along with new radiator. Touring luggage for two can be packed in behind the front seats in squashy bags or stowed via a key operated hatch in the tail, next to the quick-release fuel filler cap.

In the cockpit the aluminium dashboard is machine-turned and the instruments are the usual Riley gauges, with the rev counter reading counter-clockwise like the XK Jaguars and 1960s Alfa Romeos. The speedometer currently reads less than 2000 miles. The car comes with a full mohair tonneau cover and a fold flat windscreen for those wind in the hair moments.

Once built, it appears that John Worrell used the car very sparingly and kept this car until 2011 when it went to Germany for 2 years or so. Purchased by my client around 2013, himself the owner of a large car collection this car was largely used for display at concours events and classic car shows, hence the recorded mileage of less than 2000 miles since restoration. The history file contains numerous restoration invoices, an old-style continuation logbook and UK V5C registration document.

So nice is this car that Mark Dixon deputy editor of Octane magazine has written a 7-page colour article on this car.

This car is undoubtedly a head-turner!

More spacious than a Riley MPH, IMP or Sprite – all of which I defy most people able to fit into and sit behind the wheel - due to the lack of space - the measurements of the car we have for sale are as follows, the same length as an MPH and Sprite but 12” longer in wheelbase, providing more space for the driver and passenger, more predictable handling in wet conditions together with a saving of about £625,000** between our car and an original MPH for instance!

(**See £695,612 Riley MPH here - details above )


Overall Length  Wheelbase  Engine

This car:   12’3”      9’ 1”    1496cc

Compare with Riley Factory cars :

Kestrel 12/4 13’7”      9’ 1”    1496cc

MPH    12’0”      8’ 1”    1458cc

Sprite    12’ 4”      8’ 1 ½”   1496cc

Incidentally, this rather ugly Riley Special recently sold for well over £70,000 - rather more money than we are asking: - details above

Asking £65,000


Note Riley IMP and RILEY MPH cockpit photos at the end are included to show you just how small the factory cars are - questionable whether you would be able fit into these cars - even if you could afford the 6-figure price tags.

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