Riley 12hp Drophead Touring Saloon. (1939-40)

With the takeover of Riley by the Nuffield group in 1938, the entire model range was revised, and reduced to the 12/4 and 16/4 engines. There were also only 2 body styles avaialble on each chassis - a 6-light 4-door saloon with swept tail, or 2-door drophead coupe. Whilst the saloon had been developed prior to Nuffield taking over Riley, the drophead may have a little more Nuffield influence in it. Approximately 175-200 12hp Dropheads were built.

Essentially, the drophead body is a two-door, roofless version of the saloon, virtually identical at front and rear. The middle however is markedly different, with much longer, heavier doors to maintain access to the rear seats, and obviously a folding fabric roof in place of steel. Combined, these proved to destroy the bodies on many dropheads, with the heavy doors distorting bodies when opened, unless the cars were well looked after and structurally maintained.
One good thing with the new Riley 12hp (later renamed 1½ litre) was that the 12hp Sprite engine was still available. The cars were discontinued in early 1940 with the outbreak of war.

Chassis Types: 29D, 29SD


4cyl ohv
RAC Rating 12hp
Bore 69 Stroke 100
Capacity 1496 cc
51bhp at 4800rpm
Carburation SU


4-speed gearbox.
Top gear ratio 4.88:1
3rd g/r 7.25:1
2nd g/r 11.2:1
1st g/r 19.4:1
Reverse 19.4:1




Girling Mechanical rod with wedge operated shoes
13" Drums.


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


Wheelbase 9' (aprx 2730mm)
Track 4' (aprx 1220mm)
Length 14'3" (aprx 4310mm)
Width 5'3" (aprx 1580mm)
Wheels Dunlop pressed steel disc bolt on 4.0x16
Tyres 5.75x16
Weight 24cwt
Fuel Tank 10galls.


1939 £335; Sprite: £360
1940 £368 10s; Sprite: £396