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Riley Continental

The pre war 2½ Litre  was called various names  16/4, Big Four and Blue Streak amongst them. The quality of the engine was superb but released on the outbreak of the second world war and in too many formats  so unfortunately launched too late (1937 to 1940). It slotted into Riley's range immediately below the 18 hp V8 model. Announced in September 1937 for the Earls Court Motor Show  it became one of the two genuine Riley models in the 'rationalised' range that followed the 1938 takeover by the Nuffield Organization. Using   a 2443cc straight-four engine with twin cams and S.U carburettor which developed 82 bhp  that had first seen the light of day in 1927.  It was capable of a top speed of around 80 mph utilising a its 3-speed Borg-Warner gearbox with Freewheel and Dual Overdrive, which engaged automatically by easing one’s throttle foot above a certain speed in either top or the middle gear . Another anomaly was the fact that both its inlet and exhaust manifolds were  on the nearside, despite its still retaining the principle of the crossflow cylinder head so an easy quick identify for 'loose engines' . The chassis was a lengthened version of the one used on the Riley 12 hp which was introduced at the same time and  offered with 5 bodies plus as a chassis, all but 4 or 5 of the vehicles sold had either the Adelphi, Kestrel or Continental bodies.

  Due to a protracted legal challenge by Bentley over the using the 'Continental' name, the car was also known in adverts as 'Touring Saloon', and 'Close-Coupled Saloon' and for once sold a few more than  most other big fours  before the receivers were called in in early 1938

Clubs for this model:  The Riley Register,     The Riley Motor Club,    &  those from other countries listed here






1938 Riley Continental 16/4 © CLIFF JONES PHOTOGRAPHY






Riley 12/4 Sprite Continental Touring 1937 for sale in NL (rare car)



Riley Continental in Films and TV:-
1937 Riley 12/4 Continental in Under Suspicion, 1991 *(BVE 51*)
1937 Riley 12/4 Continental in Poirot, 1989-2013 ** (CAO 13*)


1937 Riley Continental