Riley 16hp Drophead Touring Saloon. (1939-40)

Riley 16 Drophead Touring Saloon

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. It is thought that less than 15 16hp 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. The 16 Drophead is a very rare beast - none are thought to have survived. Of the 12 probably built, only one is known of, and that was scrapped in Hull in the 1960's.

Chassis Type 49D


4cyl ohv
RAC Rating 16.07hp
Bore 80.5 Stroke 120
Compression Ratio 6.1:1
Capacity 2443 cc
82bhp at 4300rpm
Carburation SU / Zenith


4-speed synchromesh gearbox.
Overall Gear Ratios:
1st Gear
2nd Gear 8.6:1
3rd Gear 5.67:1
Top gear 4:1
Reverse 14.6:1




Girling Brakes with 14" diameter drums.


0-50mph 14.9secs
Max speed 81mph
Fuel Consumption 25/34mpg


Wheelbase 9'8" (aprx 2930mm)
Track 4'3" (aprx 1280mm)
Length 14'11" (aprx 4510mm)
Width 5'3" (aprx 1580mm)
Wheels Dunlop Pressed Steel bolt-on 4.5x16
Tyres 6.25x16
Weight 29cwt
Fuel Tank 10galls.


1939 £410
1940 £451