Riley 1½ Kestrel. (1936-38)

Mechanically, the Kestrel 1½ was essentially a slightly reworked 12/4, which was renamed to suggest it was a completely new model. However, the body was completely new, sporting the six-light profile that soon found its way across all of the larger Kestrel Models. Seventy years after the new design was launched, opinion is still split as to whether it was an improvement or not! However, it proved popular at the time, selling around 1300-1500 including the Sprite engined models.
The new body remained almost unchanged over its 3 year production run, at least not that are readily identifiable without having 2 different cars parked side by side. There were many subtle changes to the styling, windscreen wipers alternated between top and bottom mounting, and so on. The biggest changes came for the 1938 cras, where the bonnet louvres were omitted, in line with the larger 16/4 model, although without any replacement emblem, and the new chrome slat grille was introduced.

Chassis Types [Approx. Production figures]: (S)26K [500-550] / 27K [375-400] / 28K [180-200]


4cyl ohv
RAC Rating 11.9hp
Bore 69 Stroke 100
Capacity 1496 cc
51bhp at 4800rpm
Carburation 1 or 2 Zenith


Armstrong Siddeley Preselector 4-speed gearbox.
Top gear ratio 5.22:1
3rd G/r 7.39:1
2nd G/r 10.91:1
1st G/r 18.79:1
Reverse 23.91:1




Girling Mechanical rod with wedge operated shoes
13" drums


0-50mph 23.1secs
Max speed 73mph
Fuel Consumption 27mpg


Wheelbase 9'4.5" (aprx 2840mm)
Track 4'3" (aprx 1280mm)
Length 14'6.5" (aprx 4430mm)
Width 5'1.5" (aprx 1530mm)
Wheels Dunlop centre lock wire 3.0x18
Tyres 4.75x18
Fuel Tank 11.5 galls
Weight 25cwt


1936-7 £350; 1938 £385
Special Series +£27