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Riley Twelve & 16 hp by Nuffield . another Very rare beastie
Many of the Nuffield 16's are also introduced here for
ease of location and rarity
This model has suffered considerably as historically the Register covered cars until 1938 and the RM club from 1945 rendering them on their own with few spares and both clubs often making uninformed derogatory comments. They were designed by Riley as an Adelphi upgrade but adapted to use some pre-existing spares both from Nuffield and Riley and are now one of the rarest models with more Imps surviving than Nuffield 12's and 16's. If nothing else they are the transition between pre war bespoke Rileys that bankrupted the company and mass produced RM's with many common design features. (They are also waterproof in rainy UK). Luckily an almost pristine example sold by Nuffield to the RAAF survives in Australia as a pattern for any Uk restorations and recently a few have surfaced in barns and fields.
The Riley 12 was a medium-sized premium priced saloon (very similar to the Adelphi) or drop-head coupé (also available as a bare chassis) which was available from mid 1939 although it was not announced by The Motor magazine as a new car until July 1939. Only a few bodies were produced prior to the onset of war and the company turning over to 'war work' in September 1939, with some components were shared with Morris for economics . These interim models incorporated a number of mechanical alterations mainly a Nuffield synchromesh gearbox plus a simpler design causing a visual loss of Riley character . New 'management' responded to the concerns of the marque's buyers by re-introducing the Kestrel 2.5 litre Sports Saloon in updated form, but as the factory was turned over to wartime production this was a short-lived development. After World War II, Riley took up the old engines in new models, based on the 1936-8 'Continental', a fashionable 'notchback' design whose name had been changed prior to release to 'Close-Coupled Touring Saloon' owing to objections from Rolls-Royce.
Production of the twelve ended in 1941 with a few made probably after the last remaining parts were used and the model was not revived after the war but parts appear on many early Coventry RM's. Directly after the bankruptcy of Riley, the company's assets had come into the hands of the Nuffield Corporation which had drastically pruned and rationalized the Riley model range. This was one of the two Riley models produced following that until World War II put an end to Riley production Design.
The car superficially resembled a Wolseley 12/48
with a Riley radiator shell. However internally it
modified version of the "Light Nine"
chassis and except
for gearbox box & the rear axle the rest
had already been used by Riley or were a
logical development. Visually the car
front mudguards and a bigger boot with a shell body over
an ash frame as in the later RM's . Springs were
semi-elliptic fore and aft. Brakes were by Girling with
the handbrake only on the back. Steering was by Bishop
cam, the column adjustable for length. The wheels were
changed from the 'knock ons' to bolt on disc wheels
with hubcaps later re-used in the post war RM's. The
engine was an updated version of the one previously seen
in the 1935 Riley 12/4 model but now with a belt driven
dynamo. This resulted in them using Riley parts to
construct a car 'more Nuffield' and the design when
compared on the image page does
flow between these and the RM. Parts also common to other
Nuffield models are :-Steering
box (Bishop peg), back axle (same as MG VA and
Wolseley), and front stub axles (mowog cast in to
and Radiator core have mowog/Morris
cast in them. Riley parts were :-Front axle was from
the Merlin; modified 1935 9hp ie Merlin
chassis redesigned to take a flat petrol tank an
inboard flat spare wheel. The engine used a Sprite
type cross flow and water pump based on the 16hp.
The single timing chain used on RM's although meant
for this car waited until post war . Running board
strips replaced mats as in the RM's. Harry Rush had
all the parts ready for the finished design of the
RM on the earlier wide track chassis except
for the IFS which was left with the shelved design
due to WW2 until after 'hostilies' ceased
Parts re-used on the RM series:- Hub cap design but sizing different as larger wheels; boot hinges on 1945/1946 cars and some estates; strong similarity to radiator grille and running boards; hood irons as used on the RM Roadster are identical and missing on fakes/specials; back wings as the RM front although similar have a cowl to hold a cheaper Lucas headlamp; torpedo lights of course; D lights as on the very early RM's as the later ones used split lenses; the 1½ engines are interesting being very smilar to the postwar RM engine but with a sightly different sump, but particularly with a timing gears instead of a chain. They used to turn up in RM cars occasionally, and were a straight swap (thanks to Alec). . . . any more ?
1949 Transporter for Earls Court Motor Show, interestingly with Nuffield Wolseley's and RM's This also shows the first hydraulic car transported used to take cars to the docks due to the export drive. Pic from FB group from Matthew Patrick.
Further Reading :-
The New 12 Riley, Prioleau, John. The Observer, 27 Aug
Riley 12 & 16, The Motor magazine 4 July 1939
Riley Register Series Volume 3 on pdf list here the very best sources as facts not opinions and underpriced
Terenure Ireland 2014
In the Company Accounts & Balance Sheets to 31/12/1939 held at Warwick Univ. 574 12hp and 68 16hp are recorded as sold (now discovered that many were exported to Australia and USA/Canada so possibly as rolling chassis/nkd). In the 1940 Acc.& Bal. sales were £45K for 12hp and £13K for 16hp. In the 1941 A&B sales were just 12 hp @ £790. Some of the 16hp would have been 49K Kestrels but any 29S, SS or D's are to be treasured, and if you find a 49SS or D you have hit a jack-pot. . .
Known Nuffield 12 hp Cars so far :- Check the numbers on the chassis plate:- June 1939- 29D/or/S 8001-8650? Nuffield 12hp Rileys 1939 onwards; June 1939- 49D/or/K/or/S 1501-1613? Nuffield 16hp Rileys 1939 onwards. Build figures are 650 known to be sold of the 1939 saloon no known figures for 1940 so possibly already constructed cars were sold . Also 100 total of Dropheads making a known record of 750 but a caveat recent research has located ones NOT on Vernon's list
**Export data shows 76 saloons,12 dropheads and 24 rolling chassis were exported and on present information many went to 'the commonwealth' as military staff vehicles on a deal between Nuffield and the govt to shift 'old' stock cheaply. Twenty are documented as going to the Royal Australian Air Force alone with the one below surviving in stunning condition** Two dropheads out of fifteen are known to survive postwar oddly six survive and are on the list below.
Prices 1939 :- Standard Saloon £310; Sprite/Special Series Saloon £335 (best £25 ever spent);
Prices 1940 :- Standard Saloon £341; Sprite/Special Series Saloon Saloon £368.10s ;
Prices 1939 :- Drophead Touring Saloon £335; Sprite/Special Series Saloon Saloon £360
Prices 1940 :- Drophead Touring Saloon £368.10; Sprite/Special Series Saloon Saloon £396
Prices 1939 :- Chassis Only £235;
Prices 1940 :- Chassis Only £266;
Media Sources :-Riley Robs page http://www.rileyrob.co.uk/specs/nuffield/12saloon.htm
BCL 627 chassis 29S 8234 The more usual way they are discovered ! Possibly for sale see owner of the pics
Of the seventy seven known 12hp saloons exported they have turned up 11 in Oz ( of the twenty known to have gone there), twelve in India, twenty one in Singapore, nine in S Africa, four in Uraguay (?), eleven in Ireland and Channel Isles plus Europe and one in Thailand . Twenty four were also sent to Oz as NKD or rolling chassis ( different sources state different formats).
Riley Twelve drophead Interestingly the hood irons are those of the RM Drophead as are the wings plus RM (almost) hubcaps showing the transitional design from classic pre war Riley to RM. Number ???376 sold at H+H
Riley 12 Saloon 1939
1940 JPG 793 Riley Twelve Saloon from
16 hp Nuffield Pics from Wikiwand
16hp Nuffield This pic solved a puzzle ie the origin of the boot hinges on EVE which are identical flat and not handed/curved. . . now I know why they had a set left postwar ! Also check the almost RM hubcaps and overriders ( here the RM angled ones did the job better)
Surely the worst Riley advert ever ???