2019 Shannons Melbourne Summer Classic Auction

1949 Riley RMB 2.5 Litre Saloon

$15,000 - $20,000

No Reserve


Engine 2.5 litre four-cylinder
Gearbox Four-speed manual
Engine No. B2551
Chassis No. 59S4170
Colour Black/burgundy
Interior Tan
Trim Leather
Wheels Steel
Brakes Drum/drum

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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 was capable of reaching 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 and 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 stop-gap 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".


  • 1949 Riley RMB in lovely condition throughout
  • Classic black over burgundy colour scheme
  • Excellent interior in leather & wood
  • Very well refurbished, ready to go
  • No Reserve
Deservedly, the Riley RMB is a staple of the collector car hobby these days, being popular for its mix of period charms, solid mechanicals and driving quality. Our car was purchased by the vendor in late 2009 needing work, finally earning its club plates in 2012. The tan leather interior was refurbished about nine years ago and it’s still in great condition, as is the beautiful woodwork on the dashboard. The engine underwent extensive work last year with new valves and guides and new rings, plus there’s new seals in the hydraulic brakes. An electric fuel pump and thermo fan have been added to enhance reliability. There’s been new rubbers and seals too, including in the bailey channel in the windows. The black over burgundy paint is in excellent condition, as is the black vinyl roof, and all the chrome has been redone. Options fitted to this example include a heater and a radio, and a nifty set of driving lights. Four brand new tyres were also fitted recently. A lovely car, it is being sold with a folder of receipts and owner’s notes, some history of the previous owner, a workshop manual and spare key. Kept undercover for the last nine years, this Riley RMB is being sold unregistered and with No Reserve.
Note: Shannons advise that all potential buyers research all vehicles before purchase to authenticate originality.


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Saturday 16 February

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Sunday 17 February

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Monday 18 February

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