“RV 8381 was first registered in March 1936 as a black Riley “Adelphi” saloon, and in that form was last road-taxed on 31/10/65.
It was badly stored in the years following resulting in the body apparently being beyond restoration, and came up for sale as a rolling chassis in 2002.
I bought it for £4200 and work began in earnest about 2 years later, at the workshop of my friend Jock Mackinnon (ex Edinburgh Academy) – who had sold his polythene business, and was mainly concentrating on sorting out the ills of friends’ 1920’s Bentleys. We had a fairly good chassis, and running gear, a seized engine and a gearbox which would probably work.
We did what Rileys would have done in the ‘thirties when they were adapting a basic design to produce a sports car or similar for racing. The chassis was shortened by 11.5 inches, and the engine moved back 7.5 inches, which in turn meant re-siting three cross-members and shortening the prop-shaft. Having done that and eventually getting the engine apart and rebuilding it, we built a body. This entailed making a frame of tubular steel and covering same with an aluminium skin. Original instruments were found and restored, and an oak dashboard was cut from a solid plank.
The car was first MOT’d in 2008 and was allowed to keep its original registration. There followed, over the next 4 years, lots of finishing work, and painting in Sapphire Blue.
There were some expensive hiccups up to 7000 miles, but have since enjoyed 10,000 miles of good motoring, travelling to enthusiast’s week-ends in Tighnabruaich, Kingussie, Ballachulish to name a few; and to Northampton to please great-nephew and great-niece at a Steam Rally two years ago. The “down-side” is when it rains heavily in stationery traffic, and driving through Glencoe is an ordeal!
The car will do over 80mph and possibly more, and is great to handle- always a pleasure to drive a few miles on a summer’s night.”
Roger Platfoot (56-59)