Various Riley cars were produced at Longbridge

Riley Elf


Riley Kestrel

Riley 1.5

Short History on the Company

The Riley Company started in the late 1800s as weavers then in 1890 William Riley Junior took over the Cycle business of Bonnick Co Ltd. Six years later on the 23rd May the two business were formed into The Riley Cycle Co Ltd and a new factory was built in King Street Coventry. A Quadricycle and a Tricycle which was powered by a petrol engine. In 1905 a Tricar which was powered by there own ‘V’ twin 9 hp engine, it had a steering wheel instead of the usually tiller.

Just two years on and the company announced there first car called the Riley 12/18 hp using a 2 litres ‘V’ twin engine. As production built up in 1913 the name was again changed to the Riley (Coventry) Ltd. Then came the War Years when like other firms, companies were turning their production to the War effort.

At the 1919 Motor Show was the lunched the Riley 11 hp and showing for the first the distinctive ‘V’ shaped radiator grill bearing the Riley badge.

Various models were brought out in the coming years such as the Ascot Coupe, Falcon, and Kestrel which would be used again by BMC.

At the AGM in November 1937 the Chairman announced that the previous 18 months accounts would have to be rechecked. It was not long before rumors were rife, and then the Press Release stated that the receivers had been called in. In September 1938 Lord Nuffield made a statement to the press that he had acquired the Riley Company with his own money. He then sold it to Morris Motors, and the company was renamed yet again to Riley (Coventry) Successors Ltd with Victor Riley taking over as the Managing Director. Because of this company joining with Morris Motors, it was decided to have an umbrella company which would be called the Nuffield
Organization which now included Morris, MG, Wolesley, and Riley.