riley restoration

A Finished Riley

The time has almost come to say goodbye to our 1929 Riley 9 Tourer. After spending some time in the Bridge Classic Cars workshop, it

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A Riley Tonneau

Classic car technician Brian has continued his work on our 1929 Riley 9 Tourer. He first marked out where the front flap goes for the

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A Rare Body

The wooden body of our 1905 Riley 9HP has returned and has been put in place on the chassis of this potential prototype vehicle. After

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Carburettor Plate

When you are working on a car that is more than 100 years old, like our 1905 Riley 9HP, it is extremely challenging to find

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Coming Back To Life

Considering our 1905 Riley 9HP likely hasn’t been started since the 1940s, classic car technician Dave has been working extremely hard to get it back

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A New Ignition Coil

Classic car technician Dave has been continuing his work on our extremely rare 1905 Riley 9HP. After recently trial-fitting the wooden bodywork, Dave has, once

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The Wheels Are On

Our 1905 Riley 9HP looks very different to how it looked when it first arrived at the Bridge Classic Cars workshop. Working from photos, drawings,

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 »

A Finished Riley

The time has almost come to say goodbye to our 1929 Riley 9 Tourer. After spending some time in the Bridge Classic Cars workshop, it is clear to see the transformation that it has gone through.

When it first arrived, the interior needed quite a bit of work to bring it back to its current state. Fortunately, classic car technician Brian has been able to do a fantastic job and masterfully took the almost empty interior and turned it into one that perfectly fits this rare classic hill climber.


As you can see from the photos below, our Riley 9 Tourer has come a long way and we are very excited to see it return to its owner very soon.

A Riley Tonneau

Classic car technician Brian has continued his work on our 1929 Riley 9 Tourer.

He first marked out where the front flap goes for the rear tonneau before he made paper patterns for the steering wheel cover. These were then cut out and a vinyl mock-up of the cover was made. Once the steering wheel cover was trial fitted, Brian cut out the front and rear tonneau covers from mohair.

The previously marked-out flap was cut out from mohair, as was the steering wheel cover. Brian then went on to cut a slot in the front tonneau cover for the steering wheel cover.

A Rare Body

The wooden body of our 1905 Riley 9HP has returned and has been put in place on the chassis of this potential prototype vehicle.

After finding out that our Riley is likely even rarer than we initially thought, it’s great to be able to preserve so much of the original bodywork as we work to restore and bring this historic vehicle back to life.

As the bodywork was carefully lifted into place, you can clearly see the shape of the car really starting to come together.

Now that the body is back with us, the restoration can continue as our Riley 9 gets one step closer to driving out of the Bridge Classic Cars workshop.

From Ultra Rare To First Of The First

We have always known that our 1905 Riley 9HP is a very special vehicle. It was believed to be just 1 of 3 remaining examples since it first arrived in the Bridge Classic Cars workshop, however, we have recently learned that it might actually be even rarer and even more special than that!

After being contacted by Geoff Haviland, Chairman of The Riley Cars Heritage Trust, it appears that our Riley 9 is likely to be a prototype for the model that went into production, and was the first automobile to come with removable wheels. If this is the case, then it is a possibility that our Riley is the very first of the first cars to have removable wheels.

The Riley 9HP V-Twin was first released to the public at the 1906 Motor Show and was known as a 1907-season car. However, we have information to say that our Riley dates back to 1905, again, indicating its prototype status. The bench seat of our 9HP also shows its prototype potential as the vehicles that came off the production line had 2 seats instead of the one that ours has.

All signs seem to be pointing to the fact that our 1905 Riley 9HP is something extraordinarily special and helped to lay the foundations of the highly successful run of Riley vehicles that followed.

Carburettor Plate

When you are working on a car that is more than 100 years old, like our 1905 Riley 9HP, it is extremely challenging to find all of the parts you need in a ready-made state.

That’s why classic car technician Dave has been putting his experience and skills to good use by making a carburettor plate for our ultra-rare Riley.

Our 1905 Riley 9HP is believed to be one of just 3 examples left in existence so getting it back up and running is a task we are taking very seriously.

Coming Back To Life

Considering our 1905 Riley 9HP likely hasn’t been started since the 1940s, classic car technician Dave has been working extremely hard to get it back up and running.

At more than 100 years old, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the days of our ultra-rare Riley HP running are long gone, but we are incredibly excited to say that this is not the case!

With some help from workshop manager John, Dave was able to bring our Riley back to life and managed to start it up recently.

Starting a car like this isn’t as easy as turning a key in the ignition, a lot of effort is needed to turn the crank to get things fired up and running as they should.

Long before Dave knelt down next to the car and started his effort to ignite it back into life, he spent countless hours getting it into such a condition where starting it up was even considered a feasible option.

It may have only been running for a few seconds but, at more than 100 years old, after being sat in place since the 1940s, and with only 3 of these stunning cars thought to be left in existence – those few seconds of running were more than enough to get everyone here very excited about what the future holds for our 1905 Riley 9HP.

A New Ignition Coil

Classic car technician Dave has been continuing his work on our extremely rare 1905 Riley 9HP.

After recently trial-fitting the wooden bodywork, Dave has, once again, turned his attention to getting our Riley 9HP up and running.

Dave has installed a new (and much improved) ignition coil set up into this very special classic car. With this latest addition, our 1905 Riley 9HP continues to move closer to being started up and ready to drive once more.

The Wheels Are On

Our 1905 Riley 9HP looks very different to how it looked when it first arrived at the Bridge Classic Cars workshop.

Working from photos, drawings, and a whole lot of skill, our classic car technicians have been making progress on the restoration of this ultra-rare car.

Recently, the wheels have been attached to our 9HP making it look just a little bit more car-like. While there is still a long way to go before it can be driven out of the workshop, the addition of the wheels certainly does a good job of showing how far things have come with this classic car.

Going To Auction – 1934 Riley 9 Lynx

On the 19th October 2022, at 1 pm, an H and H Classics auction will take place at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. It is here that our 1934 Riley 9 Lynx Tourer will be available for sale.

This beautiful classic car has been with us for a little while but, the time has now come for it to move on to a new owner. If you want to know more about how you can become the new owner, take a look at it on the H and H website here.

H and H describe our 1934 Riley 9 Lynx as:

Introduced in 1933, the Lynx Tourer had much in common with its similarly rakish and elegant Kestrel Saloon sibling. Notably low-slung, both were four-seaters that placed their occupants between the front and rear axles. Powered by a ‘sports’ version of the Coventry marque’s advanced ‘twin-cam’ four-cylinder 1087cc engine mated to four-speed manual transmission, the pair enjoyed a level of performance that belied their 9hp tax rating. Based around a ladder-frame chassis equipped with all round semi-elliptic leaf-sprung suspension and bias-adjustable drum brakes, they were known for their crisp handling too.

Recently repatriated to the UK, ‘AXR 525’ is offered finished in a vivid Blue with a Black full leather interior. A 1934 Riley 9 Lynx Tourer, from the second year of production, the car hides its 88 years incredibly well. The car has lived part of its life in South Africa where the climate appears to have preserved both its paint, wood, bodywork and interior remarkably well, and evidently a testament to the level of care and attention given to the car by its previous owner. The Lynx Tourer comes with a UK V5C.

During the car’s residence with the vendor, we are told that it has been given an inspection by his restoration team. A ‘full’ service, carburettors rebuilt, rear lights and wiring were replaced, as well as a small repair carried out to its folding soft top roof. Additionally, the brakes have had some mechanical fettling, with adjustment all around and road tested on several occasions by the vendor. The gearbox is described as working smoothly, and the engine runs evenly and is said to be balanced through the revs. This is an attractive example of the 9 Lynx Tourer built by Riley which still wears its original brass chassis plate on the top of the firewall. A pre-war classic that would be a beautiful addition to an existing collection or as a single pride and joy for an enthusiast owner.

Blasted – Rear Axle of our 1905 Riley 9HP Blasted

The rear axle and differential on the 1905 Riley 9HP is on their way back to the Bridge Classic Cars workshop after being sent away for blasting.

The process that was suggested would preserve some of the 117-year-old Patina and help to show the originality of the car.

Good As New – Restored Radiator for the 1905 Riley 9HP

Friend of Bridge Classic Cars, Carl, has been down to pick up the restored radiator for our 1905 Riley 9HP from Newquay for the project.

The radiator, which was found during a house clearance, was taken to Newquay Radiators to be restored and reworked so it’s as good if not better than new. This is a massive piece of the restoration journey for 117-year-old Riley and we’re excited to start getting everything back together!

As good as New – The Steering Wheel of the 1905 Riley 9HP Gets Laser Cleaned

Our 1905 Riley 9HP has had its steering wheel removed by the workshop team here at Bridge Classic Cars to be sent off for a new cleaning process specifically made for delicate or antique parts. The steering well was sent to Re-Go Auto Parts in Kent where the team could carry out the process.

The original steering wheel shows 117 years of ageing across the wooden and metal surfaces of the piece. With a new process of Laser cleaning, the team could be extremely precise with just where and how strong the laser was. They cleaned up the main spokes of the steering wheel with a relative high-powered pass to clean off the steel but made sure that the power was turned down when passing over any softer materials like the aluminium.

The wood wasn’t touched by the laser. This was hand-cleaned by the team at Re-Go to bring it back to as close to the original as possible.

It looks absolutely incredible and we cannot wait to get it back to our Pettistree workshop to have a proper look at it.

Test Fit – Testing the Fit of the Rear Axle on the 1905 Riley 9HP

The workshop team at Bridge Classic Cars have begun the process of test fitting and aligning the original rear axle into the chassis of the 1905 Riley 9HP.

Dave, one of our technicians, has been trying to get the shackles around the axle in order to test fit the mounts to the trailing arms. The shackle bolts which came with the car are believed by dave to be replacement pieces as they are of a different style and size to the single original which came with the hoards of spare parts.

But, the team have managed to get everything into place to test the operation of the chain driven rear differential.

Sealed Tight – Fuel/Oil Tank of the 1905 Riley 9HP Refurbished

The tank for the 1905 Riley 9HP has been completely refurbished and tested prior to it being painted and reinstalled by Bridge Classic Cars.

Although the original tank was in fairly good condition, it did require a full refurbishment. Old school lead soldering and modern TIG welding in the same piece cause their own unique problems which had to be overcome during the refurbishment.

The tank is actually segregated to hold both petrol and oil in the same unit, so it has to be completely sealed.

The refurbished tank does feature the original brass fittings.

Updated – Lamps for the 1905 Riley 9HP Updated and Refinished

The lamps from the 1905 Riley 9HP have arrived back at the workshop of the Bridge Classic Cars Suffolk HQ and they look absolutely phenomenal. And, they’re hiding a small surprise.

Along with the lamps being sent off to a specialist to be entirely refurbished and reconditioned, we have taken the decision to have them upgraded to run much newer electric bulbs inside of the classic shells. This upgrade will be a welcome one for if the car is ever used in the darker hours of the day and also for the safety of the car instead of the use of paraffin or other gasses/fuels used to light and run the original lamps over 110 years ago.

With the shells, the finish on the refurbishment is truly incredible. It’s such a joy to see what these would have potentially looked like at the turn of the last century as this Riley left the production workshop.

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.

Starting Up – Beginning Work on the 1905 Riley 9HP

Bridge Classic Cars has the honour of beginning the restoration on this incredible 1905 Riley 9HP, believed to be one of just three remaining in the world. Our in-house restoration teams have this once in a lifetime opportunity to work on this amazing project.

The rebuild and assessment of the project will be headed up by our most experienced technician, Dave. Daves wealth of knowledge and experience across all eras of classic and vintage cars makes him our strongest team member to assess the car. Using reference photos from our visit to the National Motor Museum, which houses the only complete car publicly accessible, Dave and Gordon could begin to go through the parts and components we have amassed for this very special project.

It’s a very exciting prospect of working on such a rare and unique piece of automotive history for us all here at Bridge Classic Cars. So, expect to see some more updates on the 1905 Riley 9HP soon here on the Bridge Classic Cars newspage.

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.

In Need of a Clean – Send 1905 Riley 9hp Parts for Rebrassing

The brass parts of the 1905 Riley 9HP are in need of a clean and refurb. So, these are being carefully catalogued and packaged to be sent off to a specialist to come back as good as new.

These parts are over 100 years old so special care is needed with the refurbishment of them. Bridge Classic Cars works closely with a series of trusted and well-respected specialists for jobs such as this to ensure the best long-lasting results on the parts that are sent away from us here.

Starting Over – Inspecting and Rebuilding the Carburettors on the 1934 Riley 9 Lynx

The Bridge Classic Cars in-house restoration teams have been working on getting the beautiful 1934 Riley 12/4 Lynx running properly.

Our technician Jon, has been heading up the project. After the Riley had been fully serviced, Jonn noted the engine wasn’t running the best it could. With that, he removed the SU Carburettors and began to inspect and assess each and every component. There was quite a build-up of sediment inside the bowls of the carbs so Jon began to clean out both of the carburettors. Still, the car wouldn’t run right.

Our parts department managed to get hold of a set of rebuild kits for the SU’s and Jon began to take them apart in order to fully rebuild the carbs. After rebuilding the units and then getting them adjusted just right, the Riley Lynx ran perfectly!

Got it Covered – Repairing the Tourneau Cover of the 1934 Riley Lynx

The Bridge Classic Cars in-house trim shop have been working the magic on the 1934 Riley 12/4 Lynx. With the rest of the car in the workshop with our restoration technicians, some of the interior pieces have been handed over to our very own Kath to do what she does best.

First across the trim table is the Tourneau cover. This piece needed a few repairs doing to it which Kath has managed to get done by combining traditional techniques with modern materials and approaches. The edges of the pieces had become heavily frayed so Kath created all new edging to surround the deep back cover. Also, several small leather pieces inside the cover had deteriorated, which Kath managed to create a template for and replace with new material.

Kath also replaced several of the tin snaps which fix the cover to the body when the soft top is folded down and stowed. So, with that completed and pressed. It was time to get it back into the car and on to the next job for this beautiful 4 door tourer.

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…

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.

Monaco’s New Shoes

Scott has been fitting the newly relined brake shoes to our Riley Monaco. This has cured the squealing brakes and has now gone back to its owner.

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.