Riley 8/90 Kestrel. (1936-37)

The 8/90 engine was introduced in the 1936 Adelphi, and later made available with a new 6-light Kestrel body. The new Kestrel was greeted with high expectations, which it sadly failed to meet. The price of £450 was not unreasonable for a V8 car, but didn't provide much profit for Riley.

The chassis used was essentially that of the 8/90 Adelphi, itself a development of the 15/6 chassis. The engine was essentially 2 Riley 9 blocks set at 90 degrees (hence 8/90). The body was also essentially the same as the Kestrel 15/6, albeit with a higher standard of trim. However, hindsight suggests that rushed development led to gremlins sneaking in and the cars were not as high class as the customers expected. That and the predictions of another war and economic uncertainty led to few orders.

Despite numerous modifications to try and improve the engine/chassis combination the Kestrel was withdrawn in 1937. At least two made it out of the factory however, with cars known to have existed simultaneously in the Manchester and London areas in the late 1950s / early 1960s. Whether either survive today is sadly unknown, nor is there any survivng record of the chassis or registration numbers.

Chassis Types 86K


V8cyl ohv
RAC rating 18.05hp
Bore 60.3 Stroke 95.2
Firing Order 1, 5, 4, 8, 6, 3, 7, 2
Capacity 2178 cc
80bhp at 4500rpm
Carburation 2 Zenith


4-speed Armstrong Siddeley Preselector Gearbox.
Top gear ratio 4.5:1
3rd g/r 6.71:1
2nd g/r 10.3:1
1st g/r 18.2:1
Reverse 20.33:1




Girling Mechanical Rod with wedge operated shoes.
13" Drums


0-50mph 15.7secs
Standing Quarter Mile 23secs
Max speed 82mph
Fuel Consumption 17mpg


Wheelbase 9'4.5" (aprx 2950mm)
Track 4'3" (aprx 1280mm)
Length 14'3.5" (aprx 4350mm)
Width 5'1.5" (aprx 1560mm)
Fuel Tank 11½ galls (aprx
Wheels Dunlop 3.25x18" centre lock wire
Tyres 5.25x18
Weight 31cwt