advanced search
To search within this site simply put in the model name,chassis number etc 

Riley Monaco

"A car that has had a very enviable reputation was the Riley Nine Monaco Saloon. Introduced in 1927, this model was one of the most famous British small cars for seven long years. The many past owners and admirers of this model will, therefore, be delighted to hear that, after a lapse of twelve months, the Riley Company have decided to re-introduce it. In its new guise the Monaco is a six- light coach-built saloon mounted on the well tried, twin carburetor, 9 h.p. chassis." 

This car made its original debut at Shelsey Wash in 1926 as it was in saloon format  rather than an open tourer with a fabric covered body over the wooden frame. The part that made it notable was the handling with a low centre of gravity  and use of wire wheels as standard rather than artillery. It also was the first outing for the overhead valve engine making it both efficient  and reliable.By the 1927 Motor Show various body formats were available  both open and saloon.  Production numbers  of the Monaco resulted in over 3500 being built starting price £235 to £285.

"The 1926 version with its built in luggage boot and fabric body had 4 stud wheels, a cone clutch and gear lever and hand brake on the right and rod brakes. Quickly this Mark I became a Mark II with plate clutch and 5 stud wheels. Mark III had better brakes, wheels and handbrake, whilst by 1929 the Mark IV had six stud wheels, cable brakes, better bearings, engine and transmission developments. That set the pattern, with improvements, until 1935. Then 1936 saw more engine improvements.

As with most of the cars, six stud wheels changed to knock-on hubs in 1934, bumpers came in 1935/6, bonnet sides lost their louvres and radiators had vertical slats instead of a honeycomb in 1938. Versions were guaranteed to do 60 mph and later 65 mph.

The Monaco had many variants – Falcon, Biarritz, San Remo and some with 2 doors – San Remo, Lincock and Ascot. The basic car had four seats, four doors and was fast. In 1937/8 it was introduced as a 6 light saloon, like the Adelphi, with a Special Series engine with twin carburetors.....Derivatives – 14/6, 15/6, Mentone and Alpine." RMC info

Engine:-  9hp 4 cyl ohv Bore 60.3 stroke 95.2 compression 5.2:1 Capacity 1087 cc 42bhp at 3600rpm; Carburation Zenith; Gearbox 4-speed. Top gear ratio 5.2:1  Semi-elliptic  suspension; Wheelbase 9' /2730mm;  Track 3'11" / 1180mm;  Length / width:  Tyres 27x4.40; Weight 17cwt (needed if doing an MOT etc

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

1932 9 Monaco click here of one shown prior to sale 1929 Monaco  details

click here for Riley Robs figures page click here

For early pics click here

1927 Monaco surviving in bold:-   

Chassis numbers used between 600001 and 6011012 in 1935
YU 360*  Chassis number 6024* Bought 1928 'used' click here
also the 'San Remo' which was a  Mk 1  Monaco sans boot plus artillery wheels due to a later sale

"The Sunshine roof of the Riley Nine is easily manipulated by one person and in either position it is absolutely free from rattle"

"The generous opening afforded by the Sunshine roof allows the occupants to take full advantage of any fair weather which comes their way "

ON the ROAD with a RILEY NINE. A Frank Analysis of the Merits of one of the Most Popular Small Cars Now Made By A. PERCY BRADLEY

The manufacturers of the Riley Nine describe their product as a "wonder" car. In many respects this appellation is true. To commence with, the annals of motoring history do not record another instance of a car stepping into popular favour with quite the same rapidity as did the Riley Nine. This sudden rise to the pinnacle of fame was all the more remarkable because up to the time of the introduction of the car the public were definitely indifferent to the claims of the 9-h.p. chassis. If my opinion were asked as to how the almost impossible was achieved, I would say that the modern and pleasing lines of the coachwork did the trick. Every motorist to-day is familiar with the Riley Nine Monaco saloon it is distinctive in design, it is pleasing to the eye, and it is modern in its inception. Of course a good body is only half the battle, for people may be attracted to the beautiful, but unless good looks are combined with something more solid in a motor-car, popularity is bound to be some what short-lived. The Riley Nine body, however, did not cover a multitude of chassis sins, rather, on the contrary, was it mounted on a mechanical masterpiece. The process of popularity was therefore something like this Attraction at first sight purchase satisfactory experience recom mendation to friends. Although this Riley Nine lias an engine which is almost dwarf like in dimensions, its performance is that of cars in a much higher category, as the following notes will show.

ENGINE. The power unit of the Riley Nine has 4-cylinders cast en bloc. It is manufactured specially for the job, and it is not a syndicated job which can be found in any other chassis. The R.A.C. rating is only 9" 1-h.p. The design is very compact and has many original features. For instance, the oil can be inserted in the engine through either one of the four quickly detachable caps which form part of the casing that covers the overhead valve gear. The magneto is placed in front of the engine and lies in a vertical plane, so that the contact breaker is on top in an accessible position. Nothing more handy could be imagined. The valves are inclined at 45 deg., and the combustion chambers have semi- spherical heads, thus promoting efficiency and economy. On the road I found that this engine was a real worker. I would not call it particularly fast, for my maximum speed proved to be 56-m.p.h. by speedo meter, but it has a very marked ability to accelerate well, which in these days of congested traffic is the most important feature that any engine can possess. My passengers were all delighted with its behaviour, but I, personally, when driving detected just a little vibration transmitted to my wrists through the steering wheel at some speeds. It was not sufficient to cause any undue worry, but, nevertheless, it was there. The engine starts up easily when cold, it is not noisy in operation, and from what I could find out it is more than usually economical on petrol and oil.

CLUTCH AND GEAR-BOX. The clutch proved to be a feather-weight, the pressure required to dis engage it was practically negligible, and it functioned smoothly, progressively, and without any sign of slip. The gear-box gives the driver four forward speeds and a reverse, and thus makes the Riley Nine one of the few really light cars to possess such a refinement. The gear lever is placed centrally, along with that which operates the brakes, but the controlling knob is easily moved, being in just the right place, and the gears are a sheer joy to change. The Riley Company have definitely produced one of the nicest small gear-boxes that has ever been made in this or in any other country. I cannot imagine anyone, no matter how timo rous, being frightened or ex pressing a dislike to change from one gear to another just for the fun of the thing. On the third gear I succeeded in gettingthecartodo46-m.p.h., which is quite a useful speed for gradients and town xvork. The gear-box is not noisy on any of its gears, and the reverse is well protected by a stop.

TRANSMISSION. The transmission on this Riley is quite orthodox, and gave no cause for anxiety or even com ment. Knowing many Riley owners, I have no hesitation in saying that it is quite a satisfactory part of the chassis. STEERING. The Riley steering as fitted to this 9-h.p. model is just as perfect as steering could be. Try as I would I could not pick a hole in it, and to crown all its good points the wheel presents itself to the driver at just the right angle. The steering on so many cars to-day is very poor, so that this particular example is all the more agreeable.

BRAKES. Four wheel brakes naturally form part of the car's standard equip ment, and they are brakes not only in word, but in action. No matter how hard one accelerates, or how fast corners are taken, there is always that comfortable feeling that no matter what emergency may present itself, the car can be pulled up quickly, without tail-wag," without difficulty, and without any great effort. There is a satisfactory reserve of stopping power which in spires confidence straightaway All brakes are fully compen sated, and in operation those operated not only by the pedal, but by the lever, can be adjusted whilst the car is travelling, without the aid of a special spanner oi auy tools. I would like to lay particular emphasis on the Riley brakes, because they are obviously the result of a determined effort to produce good brakes, in contra-distinction to what usually happens in the average motor factory. In nine cases out of ten brakes are a complete afterthought, yet on a well designed motor-car brakes should have just as much attention paid to them at the very beginning as is given to the engine, for they are both equally important.

SUSPENSION. The suspension was on the whole good, but if there was any fault it was on the side of harshness. However, the upholstery, which was of the pneumatic variety, was so efficient that no shocks were transmitted to the occupants of the car.

COACHWORK. The Monaco saloon which was the type of coachwork fitted to the Riley Nine I tested, has, as I mentioned before, extremely pleasing lines although it looks low, and is low so far as actual dimensions are concerned, it affords ample head-room for the driver and his passengers whilst travelling. As a result of a casual examination, it might be thought that the passengers in the back seats would find touring uncomfortable, for they sit remarkably close to the front seats. The angles, however, have been judiciously selected, and the deep wells in the floor boards for the passengers feet appear to work miracles, for few cars can possess more comfortable seating for everyone concerned. The saloon is fitted with four doors and is fabric-covered four lights are provided, and these give sufficient illumination inside and also permit the occupants to obtain a good view of the countryside, whilst all the doors open nicely and shut without slamming. Those on each side are slung from a common combined hinge, the front door opening backwards and the back door opening frontwards. They are not too wide, but are of sufficient width to allow people to get in and get out of the car without difficulty. A luggage locker is provided at the rear of the car, and on this the spare wheel is carried.

GENERAL REMARKS I must say I was a little disappointed that my maximum speed was not greater, but I understand that the particular specimen entrusted to my care was not up to standard in this respect. Most of us are inclined to get distorted ideas as to the speed capabilities of many motor-cars. A car which has partic ularly good acceleration can pass another even when it is only doing forty miles an hour, and the impression left with the occupants of the car which had been left behind is that a particularly fast vehicle has gone on ahead. If this is happening every day, and the overtaking vehicle is always of one make, it is easy to see why the impression is universal, and every quick acceleration is taken for all-out speed.

ACCELERATION TESTS of a RILEY NINE USING ALL GEARS TOP GEAR ONLY Time Taken to Reach Time Taken to Reach various Speeds from a Various Speeds from Standstill 10 m.p.h. 20 m.p.h. in 6 seconds 20 m.p.h. in 7 seconds 30 m.p.h. in 12½ seconds 30 m.p.h. in 14 seconds 40 m.p.h. in 20½ seconds 40 m.p.h. in 22 seconds 50 m.p.h. in 35 seconds 50 m.p.h. in 36 seconds

BRIEF SPECIFICATION of the RILEY NINE Engine. 4-cylinder overhead valves Capacity. 1,089 c.c. Ignition. H.T. magneto Carburretter. Horizontal type Clutch. Single plate Gear-box. Four speeds forward and reverse. Central change Transmission. Propeller shaft and spiral bevels Suspension. Semi-elliptic springs front and back; shock-absorbers all round Brakes. Foot On all four wheels, cable operated Hand: On rear wheels only Lighting. 12- volt, five lamps Petrol Capacity. Sufficient for 200 miles Annual Tax. £9 Price (Monaco saloon. £298. from The Sphere - Saturday 13 July 1929

Both Images 1937 9hp 'six light' Riley  Monaco in Factory Photographs

NEW RILEY CAR TEST By a Motoring Correspondent The manufacturers of Riley cars have always been to the forefront as regards transmission. Twenty years ago they produced the first " silent-third" gear-box ever made. This was fitted in 1927 to the now famous Riley Nine, on the latest model of which I have just concluded a searching load test. include a new flexible engine mounting which isolates the power unit from the frame. This results in an even smoother flow of power and an entire absence of vibration at all speeds and on every gear. A new-type frame, embodying box section construction. provides greater rigidity and increased stability and ioad holding, combined with lighter weight. The body is very handsome, but at the same time has more accommodation than any car .

The silent-third gear was soon adopted by other manufacturers, but a year ago Rileys went one better and produced a gear -box in which " all" the gears were silent. This type of box is available on the latest Rileys, but certain models can also be fitted with - pre-selectagears," a type of transmission which is again found first in Riley products. The pre-selectagear models are fitted with an automatic clutch employing mechanical and centrifugal action. The arrangement is such that the drive from the engine is not taken up by the clutch until a pre-determined number of r.p,m. is attained, this being in the neighbourhood of 600. In practice, the result is that by releasing the accelerator and momentarily depressing the clutch, a freewheel action is obtained. lf, however, free-wheeling is not for instance, during a sudden aplication of the brakes—the engine retains its retarding effect until the car is almost at a standstill. The car I drove was a pre-selectagear Monaco saloon, which sells for £325 complete. Its engine is an overhead valve four-cylinder, with a cubic - capacity of 1089 c.c. and an annual tax of £9. Improvements In the latest model know of the same horse-power: I soon found that the unique transmission system made driving a delight The clutch operated perfectly smoothly without a touch on the clutch pedal being necessary. The speed with which I gears could be changed was a revelation to me. and had a marked effect on the car's acceleration. From a stand- still I reached 20 miles per hour in 4 2-Sec . 30 in 7 1-sec.. and 40 in 1° 1-sec.; These are numbers which speak for themselves. Two types of chassis are listed, the standard and the special series, the latter having a two-carburetter higher efficiency engine.. The car I drove was the standard model but nevertheless it proved itself capable at a speed of 65 miles per hour; whilst ever 50 m.p.h. was obtainable in third gear. The excellence the brakes. steering  and supsension make high speeds safe  and contribute to the comfort  and pleasure of motoring.

Riley cars are handled in this district  by Messrs. H. Goodwin and Co., Ltd.. . . . Birmingham Daily Gazette - Thursday 19 October 1933

The Bystander Sept 10th 1930 showing the local Riley stockist run by Sammy Newsome

Riley Monaco in films and TV :

1930 Riley Nine Monaco in Youth Club, 1954 *

1932 Riley Nine Monaco in Eye of the Needle, 1981 **(AG 7384

1932 Riley Nine Monaco in Ripping Yarns, 1976-1979 ***( MO 2242

1932 Riley Nine Monaco in To-Day We Live: A Film of Life in Britain, 1936 **

1932 Riley Nine Monaco in Midland Journey, 1947 *

1934 Riley Nine Monaco in Christopher and His Kind, 2011**

1934 Riley Nine Monaco in La caduta degli dei, 1969 **



Shown below advert for the 'improved' plus Monaco