RILEY MOTOR CARS -
as Old as the Industry, as modern as the Hour
The Riley Nine was by far the most prolific and successful of the chassis Riley offered up to 1938. In total around 30,000 were sold between launch in 1926 and the end in 1938. Over the first few years, the chassis and engine were steadily updated, passing through Mk I - Mk IV, then Plus and Plus Ultra designations. However, from 1933 to 36 the rate of change was reduced, and following another update in 1936, the chassis development all but ceased as Riley looked more upmarket with the newer, larger ranges.
Due to the length of production, the Nine enjoyed more models than any other Riley Chassis, a staggering 33 factory production cars were marketed over the 12 years, alongside the Brooklands, Imp and Ulster Imp Sports / Racing models. There were also a number of better and lesser known specials produced over the years. In the early years, the models were generally described rather than named, but by 1931 all models except the tourer (sometimes known as the Monaco Tourer) were named. The Monaco was, of course, the definitive body on early Nines, although in truth it covered a range of fabric, half panelled and metal saloons, with a variety of bodystyles offered through the years.
In 1933, the famous trio of Kestrel, Lynx and Falcon were launched, and so the range became more rationalised, with another new Monaco sitting at the bottom of the Nine range, and the March Special, followed by the Imp providing for the sports car market. Another refresh of the range came in 1936 with the demise of the monaco, in favour of the Briggs- bodied Merlin. Indeed, only the Kestrel continued, but the Monaco name was re-introduced the following year, on a scaled down Adelphi body. The end was now near, and for the final few months of prodcution, only the Victor was offered on the Nine chassis.
Throughout production, the Nines represented the smallest of the Riley range, and so even where the bodies were similar to those on larger chassis, th general size and / or stance of the car is identifiably smaller. The use of the Briggs Body on later cars makes differentiation somewhat harder, as they shared the same body and chassis as the 12/4 equivalents. Indeed, with the Merlin and Victor it seems that there was little effort to even provide different trim levels, with the Victor in particular being sold for the same price with either engine!