2016 Shannons Sydney Winter Classic Auction

1952 Riley 2.5 RMB Saloon




Engine In-line 4-cylinder, 2443cc
Gearbox 4-speed manual
Body Work Saloon
Colour Regency Red
Interior Red
Trim Leather
Wheels Steel Disc
Brakes Drums


This lot is no longer available

The RM series of saloons, dropheads and roadsters was Riley's first post-war model, with production initially taking place in Coventry before moving to MG’s factory in Abingdon. The original RMA appeared in late 1945, featuring torsion bar front suspension and a development of the pre-war overhead-valve four-cylinder engine, plus hydro-mechanical brakes. Marketed as the 1.5-litre, the RMA had attractive, traditional styling and was capable of reaching 75mph on the open road. A larger model, the 2.5-litre RMB, supplemented the original RMA from 1946, using a longer wheelbase chassis made from heavier gauge steel to accommodate the long-stroke four-cylinder engine which developed 100 horsepower. With twin overhead cams and fed by a pair of SU carburettors, the RMB was capable of reaching a top speed in excess of 90mph. In March 1948 Riley expanded the model line-up to include the flashy RMC Roadster, a model aimed squarely at the American market (it was initially only sold in left-hand drive format), followed by the drophead RMD in 1949, with the roster of customers including film star Clark Gable. Riley RMs also featured in international rallies and even the occasional circuit race, with a works-prepared RMC finishing 17th at Le Mans in 1950. The 2.5-litre Riley underwent constant development, with the original lever-arm rear suspension replaced with telescopic dampers in 1951 and a more powerful engine fitted the following year, when the RMB was replaced by the stop-gap RMF. Some 6,900 RMBs were built between 1946 and 1952, with Australia, rather than America, proving the strongest export market. The last Rileys to wear the famous blue diamond badge, the RM series was well received and The Motor described the RMB as offering "Sports car performance with town carriage manners". The blend of traditional and modern qualities that made the RM series so popular in the day was neatly summed up by Riley's slogan "as old as the industry - as modern as the hour".