Rileys 1945-57 - The Nuffield Era
The RM Years - 1946-53
After the end of hostilities in May 1945, Car manufacturers around the country were eager to get new models rolling off the production lines and into showrooms.
Nuffield were no exception. However, with Riley, the 1939 range was 'ancient and outdated', being a mere stopgap until new Morris / Wolsley based products could be launched.
War had put pay to this idea, but fortunately there was still some life left in the old 1½ and Big Four engines. As such, a new chassis was rapidly developed, using traditional techniques, and an ash framed body designed to cover it.
An early decision was to use different wheelbase lengths for the two engines, and so different length bonnets. The first of this new design was the RMA, launched in late 1945.
For the immediate post-war period, the RM-series were as fresh in design as was possible, most manufacturers were churning out their 1939 models, and some were relying on even earlier designs. However, the design, quality, and handling of the new RMs was something to behold. The RMB was launched in early 1946, and was even more desirable, with the longer bonnet and more powerful engine.
By 1949, the RMC (3-abreast Roadster) and RMD (4-seater Drophead) had been launched, both on the RMB chassis, and both aimed squarely at the American market, to aid the export drive. However, neither faired well and were dropped in 1951, after only 500 of each had been built - today they are the most valuable of all RMs. There were also many specials built by outside coachbuilders, including 1½ 'RMDs', and Estate Cars, or woodies. The RM series succeeded in being a well-built 100mph luxury saloon, but failed in that few people could afford such a car after the war.
By 1952, the RM was starting to feel dated, alongside the newer rivals that had been launched, and so revisions were made, to create the RME and RMF.
The original plan was to revise both the mechanics and the styling in one go, however, with the advances being made by other manufacturers, and the recent formation of BMC, things got pushed along a bit.
This resulted in the Mechanical revisions being introduced in October 1952, and styling 12 months later.
However, the 2½litre sales were slow, so BMC decided to replace the RMF with an entirely new, Wolsely based model - the Pathfinder. Nuffield had already developed this car as a potential Riley, but it was BMC that completed the development.
A rumoured RME replacement, based on the Wolsley 4/44 is still unconfirmed, but the coding of the Pathfinder as RMH is a clear suggestion.