Close this search box.
My Account

1951 Riley RMB

Riley RMB Chassis Work

Unfortunately our Riley RMB chassis is suffering badly with internal rust and corrosion building up. On the surface it looks to be in a relatively

Read More »

Riley Problem Solving

Currently, we’re doing a lot of research into our 1951 Riley as the restoration of it will need a lot of multi-trade skills from woodwork

Read More »

Riley Burning

Pricey has been burning off leftover under-sealer and old paint before it goes to sandblasting. He then scrapes it off so that as little is

Read More »

One Door Closes – Update on the Doors of the 1951 Riley RMB

The doors for the 1951 Riley RMB are currently at local joinery specialists Ashbocking Joinery to have the wooden sections of the doors assessed and replaced.

As you can see from the photos, the doors aren’t in the best condition, but Darren and the team at Ashbocking Joinery are working their way through each of them methodically to perfectly recreate the frames.

Darren and the team at Ashbocking Joinery are using what is left of the original wood as templates and then meticulously interpreting any missing pieces into the design.

This is all happening alongside the metalwork which is being down by our own in-house master fabricator, Clinton.

State of Play – Close Up on the Wings of the 1951 Riley RMB

Our master fabricator here at Bridge Classic Cars, Clinton, has sent through some close-up and detailed photos of the wings of the 1951 Riley RMB to illustrate the state of the panels before our teams begin working on them.

The level of corrosion and warpage on the original pieces is clear to see in the photos and takes a highly skilled and talented fabrication specialist to get the metal to be in the right shape and fitment. This is a photo of a single piece from the 1951 Riley RMB to highlight just how much work goes into each and every restoration that comes through the Bridge Classic Cars restoration workshop.

Progression – Working on the Wings of the 1951 Riley RMB

The Bridge Classic Cars in-house fabrication shop is working on the wings for the 1951 Riley RMB that we have in for restoration by our amazing teams.

The car is currently with our incredible fabricator Clinton, who has been working on repairing the wings for the classic Riley. He has carefully removed rusty or corroded sections of the wing of the Riley in order to repair them and thanks to his skill and talent, completely disappear into the existing metal.

The new pieces have been entirely hand-formed by Clinton in cour in-house fabrication shop for the Riley RMB using traditional techniques and practices. As you can see, the results are absolutely fantastic.

Fresh Finish – 1951 Riley RMB Chassis off to Sandblasting and Powdercoat

Since finishing the repairs on the chassis of the 1951 Riley RMB by our fabrication team, the whole chassis has been loaded up to head off to a local specialist to be media blasted in preparation for the whole frame being powerdercoated.

The frame is being media blasted to remove any surface rust that has built up during its time with us. Since coming back from the chemical treatment, any form of rust prevention has been stripped away from the piece so rust will build up on the surface. The best way to ensure it is all gotten rid of is to send it away for media blasting.

After this, the frame will be powdercoated to protect the piece for many years to come as it is hard wearing and durable, perfect for a classic car so loved by its owner.

In the Woodwork – Ashbocking Joinery Working on the Doors of the 1951 Riley RMB

Some of the coachwork for the 1951 Riley RMB that is in with Bridge Classic Cars for restoration has been sent off to a local joinery specialist to be remade in brand new timber.

The wooden components of the Riley were in a bad way. Thankfully, Bridge Classic Cars have many local specialists around us. So, when the joinery for the car was ready to be sent away to be remade it went to Ashbocking Joinery here in Suffolk.

They have entirely remade sections of the bodywork of the Riley from scratch. Their work looks outstanding! It’s always amazing to see other trades with the same approach, care and passion for their craft as we have for restoring classic cars.

Wing Walk – Working on the Rear Wing of the 1951 Riley RMB

James has been continuing with the bodywork of the 1951 Riley RMB that is in at Bridge Classic Cars for restoration. Our in-house fabrication team have had the rear wing of the Riley on the workbench to carry on with replacing the areas that needed attention.

Many of the flanges and construction have issues, whether it is rust or bad previous repairs, and needed to be entirely remade from scratch. James used the remaining original pieces to recreate them in the closest materials to the original and used original techniques to shape, move and mould the metal to where it needed to be.

James constantly test fitted pieces to the car to ensure they were fitting correctly and lined up with the original mounting points.

A Delicate Blend – Reworking the Fender of the 1951 Riley RMB

Here at Bridge Classic Cars, we have some of the best fabricators in the business we believe. One of the best showcases of this is the incredible work that our in-house fabricator, James, has done on the 1951 Riley RMB.

James has tried to use as much original material as possible during the restoration of the Riley. Only adding in or cutting the panels if needed, or entirely remaking them if completely necessary. Take for example this wing on the RMB, it’s partly original but with new sections, entirely made by hand, grafted into it. Using years of experience, feel and skill, James has managed to recreate the flanged lower section of the wing.

Along with making the panel from scratch, it takes huge amounts of talent that only comes with years of metalworking to carefully and patiently apply his craft to grafting the new piece into the old seamlessly. As you can see, James has pulled off an incredible job!

In Plain Sight – The 1951 Riley RMB Chassis back from Acid Dip

The frame for the 1951 Riley RMB that is being restored at Bridge Classic Cars has just arrived back from its appointment with an acid bath.

The chassis had been stripped back in-house but was recommended to be chemically treated by a specialist so that our in-house fabrication team could look into the true condition of the chassis. Overall the frame isn’t in too bad of a condition. Areas of it though will definitely need attention before it is to be used again for the car.

James and Clinton, our in-house metal fabrication experts, will be assessing the frame and coming up with a plan.

Back in Shape – Metalwork for the Scuttle/Windscreen Surround on the 1951 Riley RMB

Metalwork on classic cars is a craft. A skill that takes years to master and dedication to conquer. Our in-house bodywork experts at Bridge Classic Cars have those skills, experience and dedication.

Work is continuing on the windscreen/scuttle for the 1951 Riley RMB by our in-house expert James. Last time he worked on the top of the windshield surround but this time, it was the case of the lower scuttle.

Some of the metal bracing and reinforcement had deteriorated over time quite badly. These pieces help give that stunning spilt windscreen its shape and hold it rigid, so their placement and construction are crucial.

Using the existing pieces as a template, James cut the new parts roughly into shape to begin refining them closer to the originals. Then, offering the pieces up to the panel James could work on shaping them more and more till the fit was perfect.

All of the areas underneath the remade panels were rust treated carefully before being welded in.

Coming Together – Metalwork on the 1951 Riley RMB

As you might have seen in our previous post on the 1951 Riley RMB here at Bridge Classic Cars, James has been hard at work getting the wings into the best shape possible.

James, our expert in-house fabricator, has been working on the Riley for quite some time. A lot of the panels needed extensive repairs and reworking to be useable in the restoration of this beloved classic. The rear wings are currently the pieces on James’s bench.

After James worked the repair patches into the original wing, he then had to work them carefully and methodically to ensure they met the original shape and dimensions of the car. Also, he has to make sure both sides are identical. This takes a highly skilled hand and incremental adjustments to achieve the finish you see before you.

James has blended new pieces into the originals and almost seamlessly blended new and old together through the medium of metal. Any adjustment to the piece also means that the entire panel must be checked to see if it has caused any sort of distortion elsewhere.

But, these wings are looking absolutely incredible for when they eventually meet back up on the car.

Outside Help – Doors for the 1951 Riley RMB

The doors on the 1951 Riley RMB have got some beautiful wooden trims inset around the window openings. Sometimes it’s best to leave things like carpentry to the specialists who know and understand the material they’re working with more than anyone else.

So, the doors have been sent off to local joiners Ashbocking Joinery to be refurbished. These are a very important part of the aesthetic of the car not only the door so as with everything we do, we only want it to be the highest standard for our client.

We can’t wait to show you what they look like when we get them back! Keep an eye out here on the Bridge Classic Cars blog.

Getting into Shape – Windshield Surround on the 1951 Riley RMB

Our master fabricator James has been busy in the Bridge Classic Cars fabrication shop carefully and methodically recreating the windshield surround on the 1951 Riley RMB.

Using traditional shaping methods, James has recreated the original tops of the cowl/windshield surround. The shape is complex with many compound curves and edges but that is no trouble for our in-house fabrication shop. Carefully manipulating the metal through the English wheel and the shrink/stretcher, James managed to create the same sweeps and bends of the original.

Then with the hammer and dolly, finessing the final shape into place. Then, it was time to do it all over again for the otherside. The only way to create this piece was in two separate parts. The skill that our master fabricators have is the seamlessly blend them together.

The two halves were then welded together to create one entire panel that can be fitted into the windshield surround. Later, the welds will be ground back to create a smooth finished piece and then cut down to size for the perfect fit.

Gentle and Fair – Reworking the Rear Wing of the 1951 Riley RMB

With a car as intricate and flowing as the 1951 Riley RMB, it’s important that our in-house metalwork craftsmen at Bridge Classic Cars apply all their skills and knowledge to ensure each flow, curve and line are exactly right on the car.

Highlighted in this post is the extensive work our fabricator James has done on the rear wing of the Riley RMB. Much of the original material had pitted in places, and in some places to the point of allowing holes to grow in the metal itself especially along the rear flange. This piece has been replaced before as can be seen by the various patches and pieces along the length of the panel.

Carefully and with much reserve, James began to remove the affected piece from the panel. Removing only what needed to be and keep as much of the original piece as possible. The new section would have to be entirely handmade for this wing but that is no problem for our fabrication shop.

James measured not only the length but the thickness of the piece that would be needed to replace the original flange. Then, using the English wheel, James skillfully began to give the piece its shape and form. Constantly offering up the new piece and referring to the shape of the original. A combination of shrinking and stretching key areas of the panel allowed it to blend into the original piece.

Then, it came time to join the two parts together. Slowly and precisely James TIG welded the parts together at strategic points, allowing the piece to cool at the correct rate and distributing the heat in such a way as to minimise the warp caused to the panel from the process. Once completely married up, James then began to finesse the join.

Using a planishing hammer and a selection of dollies, James began to smooth the joint between the two panels together until there little to no signs they had never been together their entire lives. That is craftsmanship…

The Grindstone – Rust Removal On The 1951 Riley RMB

Our amazing technician Lydia has been hard at work removing the rust build-up on the wings of the 1951 Riley RMB with us here at Bridge Classic Cars for restoration.

Lydia carefully removed any rust from the material using both power and hand tools where necessary to avoid putting any extra heat or force into the panels which could cause unnecessary movement or warp in these handcrafted pieces.

This part of the restoration is taking place alongside the main bodywork being undertaken by our in-house fabricator James.

As you can see, Lydia has done an amazing job at complimenting the lines and craftsmanship put into this restoration by the team here at Bridge Classic Cars.

The Story Continues – Diving Deep Inside the 1951 Riley RMB

Since we have sent the Riley’s frame away to be dipped, we started work on the body.

We have begun to go far deeper into the 1951 Riley RMB that we have in with us here at Bridge Classic Cars. Our in-house technicians knew that the car was in very rough shape to begin with but the extent of the decay is only coming to light the more layers we peel away on this car.

But, fear not. Everything is fixable with the right skillset. Which thankfully our in-house fabricator James has in spades.

What he has uncovered on the Riley RMB is a series of cut corners to say the least. These were common place years ago but not something that would preserve the longevity of the car, which is what we at Bridge Classic Cars pride ourselves on.

James carefully undid and unwrapped the layers of porous metal that had been fixed one over another to make sure that he, and the other master fabricators that we have, could get at the root cause. This will need to be done before any work can be started on the handmade wooden frames that make up the roof structure, which have unfortunately perished through the many years this car had been enjoyed.

The other issue that the Riley has presented us with is the lack of datum points to create the handmade templates needed for each part. No bracket, panel or edge were symetrical side to side. Each had variations in side, depth and thickness to some lesser or sometimes extreme degree. No problem for our team, just careful removal and methodical approaches to each challenge that a restoration brings.

But that is in essence what we do with vehicle restorations here at Bridge Classic Cars, give new life to classic cars so that they can be enjoyed not just for prosperities sake but for enthusiasts for generations to come.

From the Ground Up – Restoring the frame on a 1951 Riley RMB

To achieve the best results with a restoration, every component must be given the same outstanding care and attention. It is vital that for great things to be built, the foundations must be strong.

This rings true with the 1951 Riley RMB we are painstakingly restoring in-house here at Bridge Classic Cars. As much attention has been given to the foundations of this beautiful classic as has been awarded to its flowing, classic bodywork being lovingly restored by our talented metalworking craftsmen. The frame had been sent out for media blasting to uncover and inspect any faults or deviations to this now 70-year-old frame. On the whole, the results were positive as to what returned from its careful strip down.

However, on closer inspection by our in-house team at Bridge Classic Cars, we found a couple of areas that we were not happy to leave be. So, for that, the decision was made to send the entire frame out to be dipped. The reason for this degree of investigation is to further expose any areas that would need attention and sympathetic repair befitting a classic car of this rarity and style.

Traditional Techniques for our Riley

James is hard at work in our Fabrication shop, working on our 1951 Riley RMB. As part of the front wing fabrication James has built a custom tool to create front wing support/stay. These beautiful hand-crafted vehicles require such skill and precision to achieve the perfect finish. Superb work, James.

Grinding away that surface corrosion

Lydia has been helping with the progress of the 1951 Riley RMB. There was surface corrosion on the inside of one of the original wings round the edges of the spot welds done by James. Lydia did this with various-sized grinding attachments on a drill. A small step in the process, but a vital one, nonetheless, since we don’t want that surface corrosion getting worse or showing through the paint when it goes into that stage.

Riley RMB Chassis Work

Unfortunately our Riley RMB chassis is suffering badly with internal rust and corrosion building up. On the surface it looks to be in a relatively solid state but when tipped up on one end large clumps of rust falls out.

This is a bit unexpected but most certainly needs to be addressed.

Having discussed the matter with the Riley’s owner we have decided to chemically dip the chassis. The chemical dip process works very well on cars and chassis’ and will remove paint, rust and underseal from complete car shells or individual panels. Its chemical formulation strips away contaminants from all internal and external areas.

James has also been fabricating the new strengthening panels on the chassis and subframe.

The repair process of a Riley chassis…

After coming back from the sandblasters, the chassis of the 1951 yellow Riley RMB is looking a little corroded so James is going to have to repair these sections. Lydia has begun the process by making cardboard templates of these parts, cutting where necessary to get the shaping right. These templates will be used by James to mark out around on the new metal. The original corroded metal will be removed and the new will be welded into place.

Repair work on the Riley.

James has been continuing his work on the yellow 1951 Riley. The air vent for the second panel was sandblasted last week, so could be welded into its new surrounding. James then used the finished one to determine how much metal to trim off the end. Back in July, he had to do some welding repair work on the left-hand wing. He’s now repaired the other wing. The subframe came back from the sandblasters and showed how much corrosion there was. James has started to make cardboard templates for the parts that need replacing, to mark out new pieces of metal for fabrication.

Small update on the Riley.

Here’s an update on the 1951 Riley RMB for you. It was found that there was hidden corrosion in between the layers of metal on one of the air vents. In order to get to this, James drilled through the spot welds and eased the metal apart. Lydia then went about sandblasting the main piece of the air vent to remove the corrosion and paint. She also removed existing layers of paint off the side and back of the body shell of the Riley.

Finishing the wing on the Riley!

James has been doing some more work on one of the wings of our 1951 yellow Riley RMB.

He’s been finishing by welding in the wire rolled edge of the left-hand wing and repairing a section at the front.

Repairs for the wings of the Riley!

James has been repairing the left-hand front wing on our 1951 yellow Riley. There were sections of corrosion, so he fabricated new sections where these were present. It was more efficient for James to replace large sections than lots of small sections.

He’ll be doing exactly the same method for the right-hand front wing next.

Shaping fresh air into Riley!

James has been getting on with making a pair of new air vent panels for the 1951 Riley! The original ones were heavily corroded, so it was easier and more efficient for him to make brand new ones…

They provide fresh air into the car, before air conditioning was around!

The new air vent panels were hand formed by James, using traditional methods. He started by making a wooden former and then cut a piece of sheet metal. He used the wooden former and a dolly to stretch and hammer the metal curve into shape. The original vent mechanisms were used. They were welded into the metal panels and coated with sink spray between the surfaces. The new air vent panels will be left plain until the running boards are sorted and both them and the new air vents are back on the car.

Lydia has also been continuing to paint strip panels to get rid of the existing layers of paint.

Riley Back From The Sandblasters

We’ve just received the chassis to our yellow 1951 Riley back from the sandblasters. With all the rust off, we can now start to build it back up.

Riley visitor to Bridge HQ

Today we had a visit from John Pettifer who used to own our yellow 1951 Riley RMB currently in restoration.

John bought her from his wife’s uncle Peter Kearns who was the town sergeant in the police force in Steyning Sussex who had owned the Riley since 1960.

40 years later and in the year 2000 she was passed to John and his wife who parted with the RMB in 2005.

Peter was also the South of England Director and Secretary of the Riley Motor Club.

Thank you John for calling in and thank you for bringing with you these amazing images.

Riley Problem Solving

Currently, we’re doing a lot of research into our 1951 Riley as the restoration of it will need a lot of multi-trade skills from woodwork to metalwork. Lydia has been cleaning off the glue and paint from the panels.

Once we’ve got the detail blueprints back, we can start to measure up the new parts and make them.