Riley Continental or Close-Coupled Touring Saloon

Chassis:

  • 12/4 1937-8
  • 16/4 1937-9
  • The Continental may have been a poor seller, but it is nevertheless an important model in the Riley history, forming as it does the basis of the design of the post-war RM series models.

    The Continental was yet another Large saloon body designed by Riley in a desparate attempt to give their models more appeal, and so more sales. It was never particularly popular on the 12/4 chassis, possibly owing to the problems with the name. It seems that Bentley had a prior claim to the 'Continental' tag, and following a mooted legal challenge Riley renamed the model as Close-Coupled Touring Saloon. A bit of a mouthful, and with brochures and dealers still telling people it was a 'Continental', confusion seems to have been rife.

    When the body was made available on the 16/4 chassis a few months later, it remained as unloved as ever, with a grand total in the region of thirty being built. However, the body did seem to sit slightly better on the bigger chassis, and if it hadn't been cut off in it's infancy by Riley's insolvency, it should have been a strong seller. Nowhere is this more apparent than the fact that it was used as the template for the RM Series models after the war. They were closely modelled on the Continental body, albeit tidied up and refreshed for a new post-war audience.