as Old as the Industry, as modern as the Hour

See Also:

  • Pre-war Riley Bodies
  • A Note on Riley Model Names
  • Pre-war Riley Colour Schemes
    As with any company offering a range of models, Riley had a range of prices. Here we look at how those prices changed in the period 1926-38, and how they compared across the different ranges. As such, two body types that were available across the range are used as examples.

    Monaco, Mentone & Alpine

    We start in 1926 with the basic Monaco saloon, which sustained a 10 year production span, albeit with a host of changes over the years. The Alpine was effectively a Monaco on a the 14/6 chassis, being the standard saloon offering, whilst the Mentone was an Alpine with the smaller 12/6 engine.

    Monaco 9 £285£285£285£298£298£298£298£298£298£298
    Mentone 12/6£338£348
    Alpine 14/6 £395£395£365£365£365£375

    As can be seen, there was very little price change for any of the models from beginning to end. In 10 years, the cost of the Monaco increased by a mere £13, the Mentone by £10 for its second year, and the Alpine ended up cheaper than it had started! The Mentone was clearly positioned, pricewise, closer to the Alpine than the Monaco, but that is perhaps to be expected. However, with the Alpine's reduction in price the difference between top and bottom of the range was reduced overall.


    The Kestrel was available on more chassis, for more years than any other bodystyle offered by Riley, and as such it offers a good example of changes in pricing.

    Kestrel 9 £308£308£325£325£295
    Kestrel 12/6£348£358
    Kestrel 12/4£345£350£350£385
    Kestrel 14/6£375£375£380
    Kestrel 15/6£380£380£385£415
    Kestrel 16/4£415£410£451
    Kestrel 8/90£450

    As can be seen, the prices were fairly stable until 1938, when the situation in Europe presumably caused metal prices to increase. The Kestrel 9 was reduced in cost for 1937, probably as an attempt to maintain sales for the ageing Nines. The 12/4 range was launched to undercut the 12/6 that it replaced, but the 15/6 was increased in price to match the new 16/4 model which was supposed to be replacing it.
    If the 8/90 is ignored, it is clear that the difference between the bottom Nine and the top of the Riley range was never more than £60 or £70 until the Kestrel 9 was reduced for 1937. It was then dropped completely for 1938, reducing the difference between the two remaining four cylinder models to a mere £30, less than 10% of the total costs. In todays (2016) market, the differece between (for example) a 2 Litre Audi A4 at £28k and a 3L model at £34k is much nearer 20%; and BMWs have a 30% price difference on the 5 series.