1925 Riley Redwing

Picture of By Craig Ranson
By Craig Ranson

Managing Director – Bridge Classic Cars


Introduced in 1922, Riley’s ‘Redwing’ series was aimed squarely at the sporting motorist.

With its distinctive polished aluminium coachwork (in either two- or four-seater form). Cardinal red wings, chassis, wheels and upholstery.

The Redwing (or Red Winger) was one of the most desirable light cars of its period.

The 1,496cc 10.8hp side valve engine had an aluminium crankcase with a detachable cast iron block and detachable head with a three-bearing crank.

This was mated to a four-speed non-synchro gearbox in a cast aluminium housing which transferred power to the spiral bevel drive rear axle via an open nickel chrome tubular steel propshaft.

Suspension was by semi-elliptic springs all round with Hertford friction dampers, attached to a shortened 9ft version of the excellent Riley touring chassis.

Steering was of the worm and full wheel pattern with front brakes only, although from 1925 four-wheel brakes were offered along with Marles-type steering. Wire wheels were standard, shod with 710 x 90 cord tyres.

Guaranteed to be capable of 70mph at 3,500rpm on level ground, the Redwing could safely rev to 4,200rpm so up to 90mph was attainable, especially downhill or with a following wind.

A born competition car, the Redwing became a favourite at MCC trials events and also did well at Brooklands with Victor Gillow winning the Light Car Handicap in 1924 at 77.5mph and achieving 81.63mph at the August Bank Holiday Meeting in the same year.

RW 4326 (Redwing) was registered on the 14/09/1925.

Going back as far as we can, this gorgeous rare car was owned by David Givertz of Leyton in 1946, Harold Moran of Richmond also in 1946, Robert West of Harwell near Didcot in 1948 and then into the family that owned her till now which was my friend Peters father, Douglas (Brian) Smith of Wantage. Douglas who was better known as Brian to all who knew him sadly died and it passed to his son Peter in 2006. Due to other family commitments we were recently lucky enough to acquire her.

Brian loved the car and it shows. His ethos was originality. Not over restored as you will see by the pictures.

The dilemma is that even in the second buff log book the aluminium body and wings were hand painted blue and Brian himself freshened up the paint in the same colour.

Here at Bridge we think that although everything else is definitely redwing, the body itself should be stripped and polished to match the bonnet and the wings repainted in its original cardinal red.

“We will see”.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery type=”image_grid” images=”20154,20155,20160,20161,20156,20159,20162,20163,20157,20165,20166,20167,20146,20150,20151,20152,20153,20164,20168,20169,20148,20149,20158,20140,20141,20142,20143,20144,20145,20147″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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