2019 Shannons Melbourne Spring Classic Auction

1950 Riley 2½ RMB Saloon

$25,000 - $30,000


Engine 2.5 litre four-cylinder
Gearbox Four-speed manual
Engine No. 7440
Chassis No. 60S7440
Body Work Sedan
Colour Autumn Red
Interior Burgundy
Trim Leather
Wheels Steel
Brakes Drum/Drum

Vehicle Report

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Riley's first post-war model was the RM series of saloons, dropheads and roadsters, built initially at Coventry although production later switched to the MG factory at Abingdon. The RMA was the first model to appear late in 1945 and featured torsion bar front suspension and a development of the pre-war overhead-valve four-cylinder engine, plus hydro-mechanical brakes. Marketed as the 1½ litre, the RMA had attractive, traditional styling and could reach 75 mph on the open road. Riley supplemented the RMA with the 2½ litre RMB from 1946, using a longer wheelbase chassis made from heavier gauge steel, to accommodate the long-stroke four-cylinder engine. With twin cams are fed by a pair of SU carburettors, the RMB had 100 horsepower on tap and could top 90mph. In March 1948 Riley expanded the model line-up to include the flashy RMC Roadster, a model aimed squarely at the American market (indeed it was initially only sold in left-hand drive guise), followed by the Drophead RMD in 1949, with buyers 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 2½-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 stopgap RMF. Some 6900 RMBs were built between 1946 and 1952, with Australia - not 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".


  • 1950 Riley RMB 2.5 litre Saloon
  • Autumn Red with Burgundy leather
  • Complete, ready for refurbishment
Examples of Riley’s ever popular RMB 2.5 litre are not uncommon in the Australian collector car world and make great cars for those starting out in the hobby. The vendor bought the car from the grandson of the original owner back in 1984. It had done just 36,000 miles at that stage and now shows an indicated 79,000 miles, so this is a car that’s been used, not stored. Finished in Autumn red which presents as a dark burgundy shade, its paint is tired with cracking, chips and various other blemishes apparent. Its chrome is pitted, including the pair of driving lights fitted up front. The Riley’s black vinyl roof is in generally good condition, as is the burgundy leather interior, which is said to be original save for a few small repairs. There’s some work to do on the driver’s door card pocket and a few other spots, while the woodwork is good again except for a couple of cracks. The carpets are near new and the headlining excellent. It’s all there and eminently useable but is ready for further refurbishment to bring it back to its glory days. It comes with an original sales brochure, instruction book, workshop manual and a couple of spares. Previously on full original Victorian registration, this Riley RMB 2.5 is being offered for sale unregistered.

Note: Shannons advise that all potential buyers research all vehicles before purchase to authenticate originality.


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