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Bonallack  Riley Shooting Brake / Estate Car

*all estates with sufficient information or photographs will be listed separately*


Bonallack & Sons of Forest Gate  The London-based company originally produced commercial vehicle bodies but due to steel shortages post ww2 which hit the motor trade started to produce special bodies on the Riley RMA chassis.  By 1951 began the production of non utility automobiles with the brand name  Bonallack and used to badge most of the vehicles before 1952 ended production.

Riley Cabriolets were  fabricated in aluminium with a one piece windscreen  1 1/2 L Dropheads built known as the 1 1/2 litre Rapid Coupe.  The firm also made a shooting brake conversion on the same chassis (Source R Mem 5/74 Refs 12/71 Refs: 2/72, 3/72, 4/72, 10/72, 5/74, 10/98, 3/99, 12/01 1/13, 1/14, 6/09 )A commercial vehicle trailer and container builder took over Bonallack in the 1960s (source R Mem 1/14) Other known reg numbers: CJD 257

Company History:-Jacob Bonallack came from Cornwall to London in 1825 to build horse wagons, which became renowned for their quality and were exported throughout the world. By 1846 he went into partnership with Joseph Briggs as coach makers and coach and cart wheelwrights, at Hanbury's Field, Brick Lane, with a shop in John Street and a shop and counting house in Church Lane; Briggs later became an insolvent debtor. The Engineer & Machinist's 1850 list of 'registered designs for articles of utility' includes Jacob Bonallack, of Whitechapel and Holloway, for staves and stays for vans and cart bodies. In 1869 he was living at 67 Church Street, Whitechapel, and was one of 19 signatories to a lease on the vaults under the Brick Lane chapel, then in Methodist hands - being Cornish, presumably he was a Methodist?  That same year, Jacob left the partnership, handing over the running of the business to his grandsons William John and Walter, as Bonallack & Sons, wheelwrights, of 149 Cable Street [the 1878 Vestry map,  shows premises on the other side of the road; far right are their premises, between Betts and Denmark Street, in Goad's 1899 insurance map). Jacob was then in partnership with James George Manning as Sheffield Ware Fancy & General Dealers at 107 Mile End Road, but this was dissolved in 1871 and Frederick Jacob Bonallack stepped in; by the end of the century he was a fancy goods importer, with shops in Sydenham, West Norwood, Bromley and South Norwood, but went bust in 1904.

Meanwhile, in 1886 Bonallack & Sons had taken over Stephen Gowar & Co, a long-established coachbuilding firm in Stratford, and in 1891 Walter bought out his brother William John. They were now van builders, wheelwrights & contractors, of Cable St and The Broadway, Stratford, making motor vehicle bodies. By 1921, Who's Who in Engineering records that Walter's co-directors were Francis and John; they had four branches, and produced commercial motor bodies to any design, horse-drawn vehicles, artillery and plain wheels and wheel components, motor roofing. They moved their factory to Nursery Lane, Forest Gate, and had a showroom in Romford Road. In 1927 the Municipal Journal & Public Works Engineer (vol 36, p164) describes one of their specialist vehicles. The next year they moved to a new factory in Basildon where they made specialist bodies, including fire tenders, refrigerated vans, ambulances, outside broadcast vans, ice cream vans, and took out several patents. By 1963 they formed a new company, Bonallack Mann Egerton (Refrigerated Vehicles) Ltd., and in 1971 they merged with Freight Development Company as Freight Bonallack Ltd, part of the Alcan Group of companies (originally James Booth Aluminium Ltd), with Sir Richard Bonallack (1904-96), described as a mechanical engineer, as chairman, running divisions in Basildon, Lancing, Norwich and Wakefield. It became known as Alcan Transport Products, but reverted to the Freight Bonallack name in 1985 following further company restructuring. They were involved in container trade exchanges around Europe, including Russia. 

source:- Cable Street Directory





  CAN 102 original Bonallack photo reproduced in R Mem 1/14 Photo's ©  RM Club Archives



SMX 882 Bonallack Woody original colour maroon RW R Mem 1/14 ©  RM Club Archives



A later picture of CAN 832 R Mem 6/09 ©  RM Club Archives





CAN 832 Bonallack shooting brake at the ARC Centenary of the Riley Car Gaydon 1998 R Mem 10/98 CAN 832 R Mem 1/14 ©  RM Club Archives





CJD 164 Riley RMA Bonallack all metal construction as in Bristols  R Mem 2/75 1/13 1/14 ©  RM Club Archives




Riley RMA Bonallack all metal construction as in Bristols   ©  RM Club Archives
Dowty Air Services Vehicle 1940s/50s (RM Club forum - September 2015)


Clubs in the Uk catering for this model:-

All other countries on the contact page. Due to public liability laws spares can only be sold to current club members. Both clubs have a considerable spare parts supply  so best join at least one to gain information, help, and  information from the experts who have already 'been there' . Cars are also cheaper with known histories sold via the clubs than ebay etc.


Riley Motor Club    rileymotorclub.org/  for all ages inc pre war cars originally a gents club of owners 

The Riley RM Club      https://www.rileyrmclub.org.uk  Started in the 70's to cater for the RM's only with large spares department