Lot 17: Riley Kestrel 16/4 Blue Streak
October 22, 2016
Melbourne, AustraliaLive Auction
Riley Kestrel 16/4 Blue Streak
Chassis No. 38KX1180
Engine No. AX 1063
Riley were early pioneers within the British motoring industry, having made the transition from bicycle manufacture to motor car production and offering their first model of car to the public in 1899.
Over the next 40 years they produced a fine range of cars, sporting saloons and outright racing cars, the latter having many successes on the racetracks of the time, at speed trials and rallies, including Monte Carlo.
In 1927, Riley introduced a new '9hp' engine. Over the next 10 years, Riley developed successively larger engines, culminating in their most powerful engine in 1937, the 4 cylinder 2.5 litre, which became known as the 'Big 4'. This design produced the efficiency of an overhead camshaft engine. Under the old RAC rating system it was rated at 16 horsepower, thus all models (mainly Adelphi, Kestrel and Continental saloons), produced during their short pre-war production run were known 'Riley 16/4'.
The company being acquired in late 1938, by Lord Nuffield, who already owned Morris, Austin and Wolseley. Prior to this takeover, the total number of all 16/4 model types produced at the Riley factory was 314 (just over a hundred of all models were produced under the Nuffield ownership, before the outbreak of WW2 ceased all further production of Blue Streaks). There are no surviving records of the individual model numbers produced but it has been estimated that the number of 16/4 Kestrel bodied saloons built under Riley ownership is around the 110 mark. The 'Riley Register' car club for pre war Rileys, in their most recent census (November 2015), reflects just 15 of this model worldwide, although other sources suggest there are at least the same number again that still exist.
The Kestrel offered here is one of those number and is 1 of only 4 known in Australia. The car underwent a full body and engine restoration, in the UK, completed in 2007 and was acquired by the current owner in 2009. The body colour is black over dark blue and the interior leather is Teal blue. The rear seat retains it's original leather, which given its age is in fair to good condition.
The engine, as described above, is equipped with twin SU carburettors. It is mated to a 3 speed gearbox that has overdrive in second and top gear, giving 5 forward gears. Top overdrive provides a ratio of 3.97:1 and comfortably achieves 70mph/110kph. Based upon the previous and current owners' logbooks, the engine has completed just under 6000 miles since its rebuild.
The body is aluminium clad, as are the doors and bonnet panels. The underside of the car is fully undersealed and rustproofed. There is a very large portfolio of paperwork and photographs associated with the restoration plus historical papers and an original Workshop manual (and a working photocopy).