The Talbot 105 was a high powered sports car developed by Talbot designer Georges Roesch. It was famously fast, described by one authority as the fastest four-seater to race at Brooklands; the car made its first appearance at the London Motor Show in 1926. At this stage it was formally named according to its fiscal and actual horsepower as the Talbot 14-45; the six-cylinder engine displaced a volume of 1,666 cc and was the basis for all Talbot engines until the Rootes takeover in 1935. The engine was bored out further, giving rise to a succession of performance improvements. Throughout these developments, the exterior dimensions of the original 14-45 engine block remained the same although the 18-70 had an updated block with spaced bores; the 105 had a different block again. The 1930 London Motor Show saw the debut of the 18-70 model and stroke both being increased to give an engine capacity increased to 2,276 cc. In this form the car was called the Talbot 70 or 75. Higher compression ratios and a bigger Zenith carburettor resulted in an increase in power and the birth of the 90.
Talbot's AO90s were successful in GP racing, coming third only to Speed 6 Bentleys in the 1931 Brooklands 500. An increase in the engine capacity, still without any change to the exterior dimensions of the engine block, yielded a cylinder displacement of 2,969 cc for the iconic Talbot 105 model. In 1931 four 105s were tuned to provide a reported 119 bhp, at 4,800 rpm. In "Brooklands trim" further tuning and in increased compression ratio of 10:1 gave rise to a claimed 125 bhp; the Talbot acquired its fame on the racing circuits, featuring prominently at Brooklands on the south-western fringes of London. In 1932 Talbot pulled out of racing, but a major Talbot dealer named Warwick Wright ran a team of three 105s that year, other teams operated by dealers and enthusiasts continued to race the cars at least till 1938
Sir Henry Ralph Stanley "Tim" Birkin, 3rd Baronet was a British racing driver, one of the "Bentley Boys" of the 1920s. Birkin was born into a wealthy Nottingham family in 1896, the son of Sir Thomas Stanley Birkin, 2nd Bt. and the Hon. Margaret Diana Hopetoun Chetwynd. In childhood, Henry Birkin gained the nickname "Tim", after the children's comic book character Tiger Tim, created by Julius Stafford Baker, popular at the time, it was his nickname for the rest of his life. Birkin married Audrey Clara Lilian Latham, daughter of Sir Thomas Paul Latham, 1st Bt. and Florence Clara Walley, on 12 July 1921. He and Audrey had two daughters and Sara, both of whom married and had issue; the elder daughter Pamela married two Buxton cousins in succession, her second husband was the Life Peer Baron Buxton of Alsa, KCVO, MC. She had seven children including wildlife film-maker Cindy Buxton; the younger daughter Sara married twice, had two sons by her first husband.. At his death in 1933, without sons of his own, he was succeeded by his next surviving male relative, his paternal uncle Sir Alexander Russell Birkin, 3rd Baronet.
His younger brother, Archie Birkin, was killed during practice for the 1927 Isle of Man TT motorcycle races. Birkin joined the Royal Flying Corps during World War I and gained the rank of Lieutenant in the service of the 108th Field Brigade, serving in Palestine where he contracted malaria, a disease from which he would suffer for the rest of his life. In 1921 Birkin turned to motor racing. Business and family pressures forced him to retire from the tracks until 1927 when he entered a three-litre Bentley for a six-hour race. For 1928 he acquired a 4½ litre car and after some good results decided to return to motor racing much against his family's wishes. Soon Birkin, racing with a blue and white spotted silk scarf around his neck, would be a familiar sight on the race tracks driving with the works team. In 1928 Birkin entered the Le Mans race again, leading the first twenty laps until a jammed wheel forced him to drop back, finishing fifth with co-driver Jean Chassagne who heroically rescued the abandoned, damaged car, winning the hearts of the crowds.
The next year Birkin was back as winner, racing the "Speed Six" as co-driver to Woolf Barnato. If Bentley wanted a more powerful car he developed the Speed Six was a huge car. Ettore Bugatti once referred to the Bentley as "the world's fastest lorry". Back in 1928 however, Birkin had come to the conclusion that the future lay in getting more power from a lighter model by fitting a supercharger to the 4½ litre Bentley; when Bentley Motors refused to create the supercharged model Birkin sought he determined to develop it himself. With technical help from Clive Gallop and supercharger specialist Amherst Villiers, with Dorothy Paget financing the project after his own money had run out, Birkin rebuilt the car at the engineering works he had set up for the purpose at Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire. Adding a huge Roots-type supercharger in front of the radiator driven straight from the crankshaft gave the car a unique appearance; the 242 bhp "blower Bentley" was born. The first car, a stripped down Brooklands racer known as Bentley Blower No.1, first appeared at the Essex six hour race at Brooklands on 29 June 1929.
However, the car proved to be unreliable. W. O. Bentley himself had never accepted the blower Bentley. With Wolf Barnato's support, Birkin persuaded "W. O." to produce the fifty supercharged cars necessary for the model to be accepted for the Le Mans twenty-four-hour race. In addition to these production cars built by Bentley Motors, Birkin put together a racing team of four remodelled "prototypes" and assembled a fifth car from spare parts. Birkin's blower Bentleys were too late for Le Mans in 1929 and only two of the cars reached the start line in 1930. After an epic duel between Dudley Benjafield and Birkin's entered blower Bentleys and Rudolf Caracciola's Mercedes SSK all three retired, leaving the victory to the Bentley works team Speed Six of Barnato and Glen Kidston. Birkin's courage and fearless driving, in particular his selflessly harrying Caracciola into submission, are regarded as embodying the true spirit of the Vintage Racing era. Back in 1925 the energetic motor sports enthusiast Eugène Azemar, involved with the Tourist Board in Saint-Gaudens in southern France, succeeded in persuading the Automobile Club du Midi to arrange a Grand Prix race in the region.
A great success, the Saint-Gaudens track got the honor of hosting the 1928 French Grand Prix. If they can, so can we, thought the city council in the nearby town of Pau and decided to try to take the French Grand Prix to their own town. Pau had some Grand Prix traditions, as the town held the honour of arranging the first race to be called a Grand Prix back in 1901. For the 1930 Grand Prix a triangular, Le Mans-type track outside the city was selected. Known as the Circuit de Morlaas it should not be confused with the well-known street track in the Parque Beaumont; the French had hoped to run the race to the International Formula, but when the response was poor the event was postponed and changed to a Formula Libre event instead. The new date meant that the Italian teams were unable to attend, leaving it to be an internal French affair with sixteen Bugattis, two Peugeots and a Delage among the twenty five starters. Among the top Bugatti drivers were Louis Chiron, Marcel Leho
Alfa Romeo 8C
The Alfa Romeo 8C was a range of Alfa Romeo road and sports cars of the 1930s. In 2004 Alfa Romeo revived the 8C name for a V8-engined concept car which made it into production for 2007, the 8C Competizione; the 8C designates 8 cylinders, a straight 8-cylinder engine. The Vittorio Jano designed 8C was Alfa Romeo's primary racing engine from its introduction in 1931 to its retirement in 1939. In addition to the two-seater sports cars it was used in the world's first genuine single-seat Grand Prix racing car, the Monoposto'Tipo B' - P3 from 1932 onwards. In its development it powered such vehicles as the twin-engined 1935 6.3-litre Bimotore, the 1935 3.8-litre Monoposto 8C 35 Type C, the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Mille Miglia Roadster. It powered top-of-the-range coach-built production models, including a Touring Spider and Touring Berlinetta. In 1924, Vittorio Jano created his first straight-eight-cylinder engine for Alfa Romeo, the 1987 cc P2, with common crankcase and four plated-steel two-cylinder blocks, which won the first World Championship in 1925.
Although it was a straight-8, the 8C designation was not used. The 8C engine, first entered at the 1931 Mille Miglia road race through Italy, had a common crankcase, now with two alloy four-cylinder blocks, which incorporated the heads; the bore and stroke, were the same as the 6C 1750. There was no separate head, no head gasket to fail, but this made valve maintenance more difficult. A central gear tower drove the overhead camshafts and ancillaries; as far as production cars are concerned, the 8C engine powered two models, the 8C 2300 and the more rare and expensive 8C 2900, bore increased to 68 mm and stroke to 100 mm. At the same time, since racing cars were no longer required to carry a mechanic, Alfa Romeo built the first single seater race car; as a first attempt, the 1931 Monoposto Tipo A used a pair of 6-cylinder engines fitted side by side in the chassis. As the resulting car was too heavy and complex, Jano designed a more suitable and successful racer called Monoposto Tipo B for the 1932 Grand Prix season.
The Tipo B proved itself the winning car of its era, winning straight from its first outing at the 1932 Italian Grand Prix, was powered with an enlarged version of the 8C engine now at 2,665 cc, fed through a pair of superchargers instead of a single one. Alfa Romeo announced that the 8C was not to be sold to private owners, but by autumn 1931 Alfa sold it as a rolling chassis in Lungo or Corto form with prices starting at over £1000; the chassis were fitted with bodies from a selection of Italian coach-builders such as Zagato, Carrozzeria Touring, Carrozzeria Castagna, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina and Brianza though Alfa Romeo did make bodies. Some chassis were clothed by coach-builders such as Graber and Tuscher of Switzerland and Figoni of France. Alfa Romeo had a practice of rebodying cars for clients, some racing vehicles were sold rebodied as road vehicles; some of the famous first owners include Baroness Maud Thyssen of the Thyssen family, the owner of the aircraft and now scooter company Piaggio Andrea Piaggio, Raymond Sommer, Tazio Nuvolari.
The first model was the 1931'8C 2300', a reference to the car's 2.3 L engine designed as a racing car, but produced in 188 units for road use. While the racing version of the 8C 2300 Spider, driven by Tazio Nuvolari won the 1931 and 1932 Targa Florio race in Sicily, the 1931 Italian Grand Prix victory at Monza gave the "Monza" name to the twin seater GP car, a shortened version of the Spider; the Alfa Romeo factory added the name of events won to the name of a car.'8C 2300 tipo Le Mans' was the sport version of the'8C 2300' and it had a successful debut in the 1931 Eireann Cup driven by Henry Birkin. It won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1931; the 8C 2300 Le Mans model on display at the Museo Alfa Romeo was bought by Sir Henry Birkin in 1931 for competition use, but it is not the car in which Birkin and Howe won the 1931 Le Mans 24 hours. A 1933 8C 2300 Le Mans, chassis #2311201, is part of the permanent collection at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, PA, US; the car was owned by Lord Howe who campaigned it in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1934 as well as in 1935 when it set the fastest lap before retiring.
In 1933 the supercharged dual overhead cam straight-8 engine, enlarged to 2.6 litres for the Tipo B, was fitted to the Scuderia Ferrari 8C Monzas. Scuderia Ferrari had become the "semi-official" racing department of Alfa Romeo, who were no longer entering races as a factory effort due to the poor economic situation of the company. With the initial 215 hp of the 2.6 engine, the Monoposto Tipo B racer could accelerate to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds and could reach 135 mph. For 1934 the race engines became 2.9 litres. Tazio Nuvolari won the 1935 German GP at the Nürburgring at the wheel of a 3.2 L Tipo B against the more powerful Silver Arrows from Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. Eight 3.8-litre versions, sharing no castings with the earlier blocks, were individually built for racing in five months, most being used in the Alfa Romeo Monoposto 8C 35 Type C, as raced by Scuderia Ferrari. The 3.8 produced 330 bhp at 5500 rpm, had 320 lb⋅ft from 900 rpm to 5500 rpm. It had 15.5-inch drum brakes all round, using Pirelli 5.25 or 5.50 x 19 tyres at the front and 7.00 or 7.50 x 19 tyres at the rear.
Giulio Ramponi was an Italian automobile technician and racing driver. He was born in Milan where he worked for the Florentia car maker and the Pelizzola maker of fuel pumps. In 1918 he became the mechanic of his stepfathers friend, opera singer Giuseppe Campari who won at Mugello in 1920 with Alfa Romeo. In 1924, Ramponi became chief riding mechanic and co-driver for Antonio Ascari and his Alfa Romeo P2, in which Ascari was killed in 1925. Ramponi was not in the car. Ascari died in his arms. Working under Vittorio Jano, he was test driver for Alfa Romeo 6C in 1927, again, chief mechanic and co-driver for Campari, they won Mille Miglia in 1928 and 1929. He raced in England, winning the 1928 Brooklands 6-hour race. Since losing his job in 1929, he worked for the Dorothy Paget team. In 1932 he was again at Alfa for the Alfa Romeo P3 project. On 10 September 1933 Giuseppe Campari was killed, at the same time causing Baconin Borzacchini to fatally crash, Ramponi having reluctantly removed the front brakes of his Maserati to reduce weight.
In 1934 he became team leader with Whitney Straight and they won the First South African Grand Prix. Since 1935 he worked for Dick Seaman. Ramponi became a British citizen in the 1930s. During World War II he was interred on the Isle of Man and his first wife died from peritonitis. In 1947 he married Irene Cooper, he worked for 20 years as a consultant to various aircraft companies. Ramponi had first visited South-Africa in 1934. Since 1968 he and his wife Irene lived in South Africa
The MG Midget is a small two-seater sports car produced by MG from 1961 to 1979. It revived a name, used on earlier models such as the MG M-type, MG D-type, MG J-type and MG T-type; the first version, announced at the end of June, 1961, was a more expensive badge-engineered version of the MkII Austin-Healey Sprite. The original'frogeye' Sprite had been introduced to fill the gap in the market left by the end of production of the MG T-type Midget as its replacement, the MGA had been a larger and more expensive car with greater performance. Many existing MG buyers turned to the Sprite to provide a modern low-cost sports car and so a badge-engineered MG version reusing the Midget name made sense; the new Midget differed from the Sprite only in its grille design, colour options and having both leather seats and more external chrome trim as standard to justify its higher purchase price. Mechanically the car was identical to its Austin-Healey counterpart, retaining the rear suspension using quarter-elliptic leaf springs and trailing arms from the'frogeye'.
The engine was a 948 cc A-Series with twin SU carburettors producing 46 hp at 5500 rpm and 53 lb⋅ft at 3000 rpm. Brakes were 7-inch drums all round. A hard top, heater and luggage rack were available as factory-fitted extras. In October, 1962, the engine was increased to 1098 cc, raising the output to 56 hp at 5500 rpm and 62 lb⋅ft at 3250 rpm, disc brakes replaced the drums at the front. Wire spoked wheels became available; the doors had no external handles or locks and the windows were sliding Perspex side-screens. A heater was an optional extra. Production was 16,080 of the small-engined version and 9601 of the 1098. A car with the 948 cc engine was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1962 and had a top speed of 87.9 mph and could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 18.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 40.2 miles per imperial gallon was recorded. The test car cost £689 including taxes on the UK market. Externally the main changes were to the doors, which gained wind-up windows, swivelling quarter lights, external handles, separate locks.
The windscreen was retained in a more substantial frame. The hood, though modified, continued to have a removable frame that had to be erected before the cover was put on; the rear springs were replaced by more conventional semi-elliptic types. The engine block was strengthened and larger main bearings were fitted, increasing the power to 59 hp at 5750 rpm and torque to 65 lb⋅ft at 3500 rpm. A total of 26,601 were made; the engine grew to 1275 cc using the development seen on the Mini-Cooper'S'. Enthusiasts were disappointed that this was a detuned version of the 76 bhp at 5800 rpm Cooper'S' engine, giving only 65 hp at 6000 rpm and 72 lb⋅ft at 3000 rpm. A reduced compression ratio of 8.8:1 was used instead of the 9.75:1 employed on the Cooper S engine. The Midget used the 12G940 cylinder head casting, common to other BMC 1300 cars, whereas the Cooper'S' had a special head with not only larger inlet, but larger exhaust valves; the detuned engine was used for reasons of model range placement – with the Cooper'S' spec engine, the Midget could have been faster than the more expensive MGB.
The hydraulic system gained a separate master cylinder for the clutch. The hood was now permanently attached to the car, with an improved mechanism making it much easier to use. In late 1967, US-spec cars received several safety additions: a padded fascia with smaller main gauges, collapsible steering column, scissor-type hood hinges, a third windshield wiper, additional side marker lights, anti-burst door latches; the rear axle gear ratio was increased from 4.22:1 to 3.9:1, giving 16.5 mph for every 1000 rpm. This increased final drive ratio gave the 1275 model better fuel economy than the 1098 model. Minor facelift changes were made to the body trim in late 1969, with the sills painted black, a revised recessed black grille, squared off taillights as on the MGB; the 13-inch Rubery Owen "Rostyle" wheels were standardized. Both fitted with either 520X13 Crossply tyres or 145HR13 Pirelli Cinturato CA67 These revised cars were presented with matt black-painted windscreen surrounds but this proved unpopular and after only a few hundred had been built the Midget reverted to the original brushed alloy.
In August 1971, the compression ratio on North American engines was reduced to 8.0:1. Engine power output fell to 54.5 bhp at 67 lb ⋅ ft at 3250 rpm. The square-shaped rear wheel arches became rounded in January 1972. In this year, a Triumph steering rack was fitted, giving a gearing, somewhat lower than earlier Midgets. A second exhaust silencer was added in 1972. Alternators were fitted instead of dynamos from 1973 onwards. Seven months into the 1974 model year, oversized rubber bumper blocks, nicknamed "Sabrinas" after the well-endowed British actress, were added to the chrome bumpers to meet the first US bumper impact regulations. Many consider the round-arch Midgets with chrome bumpers produced for model years 1972-1974 to be the most desirable; these round-arch cars started leaving the Abingdon factory in late 1971. Between 1966 and the 1969 face lift, 22,415 were made, a further 77,831 up to 1974. To meet US federal regulations, large black plastic bumpers were added to the front and rear and the ride heights
Otto Wilhelm Rudolf Caracciola was a racing driver from Remagen, Germany. He won the European Drivers' Championship, the pre-1950 equivalent of the modern Formula One World Championship, an unsurpassed three times, he won the European Hillclimbing Championship three times – twice in sports cars, once in Grand Prix cars. Caracciola raced for Mercedes-Benz during their original dominating Silver Arrows period, named after the silver colour of the cars, set speed records for the firm, he was affectionately dubbed Caratsch by the German public, was known by the title of Regenmeister, or "Rainmaster", for his prowess in wet conditions. Caracciola began racing while he was working as apprentice at the Fafnir automobile factory in Aachen during the early 1920s, first on motorcycles and in cars. Racing for Mercedes-Benz, he won his first two Hillclimbing Championships in 1930 and 1931, moved to Alfa Romeo for 1932, where he won the Hillclimbing Championship for the third time. In 1933, he established the privateer team Scuderia C.
C. with his fellow driver Louis Chiron, but a crash in practice for the Monaco Grand Prix left him with multiple fractures of his right thigh, which ruled him out of racing for more than a year. He returned to the newly reformed Mercedes-Benz racing team in 1934, with whom he won three European Championships, in 1935, 1937 and 1938. Like most German racing drivers in the 1930s, Caracciola was a member of the Nazi paramilitary group National Socialist Motor Corps, but never a member of the Nazi Party, he returned to racing after the Second World War, but crashed in qualifying for the 1946 Indianapolis 500. A second comeback in 1952 was halted in a sports car race in Switzerland. After he retired, Caracciola worked as a Mercedes-Benz salesman targeting North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops stationed in Europe, he died after suffering liver failure. He was buried in Switzerland, he is remembered as one of the greatest pre-1939 Grand Prix drivers, a perfectionist who excelled in all conditions.
His record of six German Grand Prix wins remains unbeaten. Rudolf Caracciola was born in Remagen, Germany, on 30 January 1901, he was the fourth child of Mathilde, who ran the Hotel Fürstenberg. His ancestors had migrated during the Thirty Years' War from Naples to the German Rhineland, where Prince Bartolomeo Caracciolo had commanded the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress near Koblenz. Caracciola was interested in cars from a young age, from his fourteenth birthday wanted to become a racing driver, he drove an early Mercedes during the First World War, gained his driver's license before the legal age of 18. After Caracciola's graduation from school soon after the war, his father wanted him to attend university, but when he died Caracciola instead became an apprentice in the Fafnir automobile factory in Aachen. Motorsport in Germany at the time, as in the rest of Europe, was an exclusive sport limited to the upper classes; as the sport became more professional in the early 1920s, specialist drivers, like Caracciola, began to dominate.
Caracciola enjoyed his first success in motorsport while working for Fafnir, taking his NSU motorcycle to several victories in endurance events. When Fafnir decided to take part in the first race at the Automobil-Verkehrs- und Übungs-Straße track in 1922, Caracciola drove one of the works cars to fourth overall, the first in his class and the quickest Fafnir, he followed this with victory in a race at the Opelbahn in Rüsselsheim. He did not stay long in Aachen, however, he moved to Dresden. In April of that year, Caracciola won the 1923 ADAC race at the Berlin Stadium in a borrowed Ego 4 hp. In his autobiography, Caracciola said he only sold one car for Fafnir, but due to inflation by "the time the car was delivered the money was just enough to pay for the horn and two headlights". In 1923, he was hired by the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft as a car salesman at their Dresden outlet. Caracciola continued racing, driving a Mercedes 6/25/40 hp to victory in four of the eight races he entered in 1923.
His success continued in 1924 with the new supercharged Mercedes 1.5-litre. He attended the Italian Grand Prix at Monza as a reserve driver for Mercedes, but did not take part in the race, he drove his 1.5-litre to five victories in 1925, won the hillclimbs at Kniebis and Freiburg in a Mercedes 24/100/140 hp. With his racing career becoming successful, he abandoned his plans to study mechanical engineering. Caracciola's breakthrough year was in 1926; the inaugural German Grand Prix was held at the AVUS track on 11 July, but the date clashed with a more prestigious race in Spain. The newly merged company Mercedes-Benz, conscious of export considerations, chose the latter race to run their main team. Hearing this, Caracciola took a short leave from his job and went to the Mercedes office in Stuttgart to ask for a car. Mercedes agreed to lend Caracciola and Adolf Rosenberger two 1923 2-litre M218s, provided they enter not as works drivers but independents. Rosenberger started well in front of the 230,000 spectators.
His riding mechanic, Eugen Salzer, jumped out and pushed the car to get it started, but by the time they began moving they had lost more than a minute to the leaders. It started to rain, Caracciola passed many cars that had retired in the poor conditions. Rosenberger lost control at the North
The Riley Nine was one of the most successful light sporting cars produced by the British motor industry in the inter war period. It was made by the Riley company of Coventry, England with a wide range of body styles between 1926 and 1938; the car was designed by two of the Riley brothers and Stanley. Stanley was responsible for the chassis and body and the older Percy designed the engine; the 1,087 cc four-cylinder engine had hemispherical combustion chambers with the valves inclined at 45 degrees in a crossflow head. To save the expense and complication of overhead camshafts, the valves were operated by two camshafts mounted high in the crankcase through short pushrods and rockers; the engine was mounted in the chassis by a rubber bushed bar that ran through the block with a further mount at the rear of the gearbox. Drive was to the rear wheels through a torque tube and spiral bevel live rear axle mounted on semi elliptic springs. At launch in July 1926 two body styles were available, a fabric bodied saloon called the Monaco at £285 and a fabric four-seat tourer for £235.
The saloon could give 40 mpg‑imp. A further two bodies were offered, the San Remo, an artillery wheeled basic saloon and a two-seater plus dickie open tourer and there was the option of steel panelling rather than fabric for the four-seater tourer. After the car's 1926 launch, Mark 1 production started in 1927 at Percy's engine factory, due to some resistance in the main works to the new design, it was such a critically acclaimed success that after fewer than a thousand cars had been produced the works shut down side-valve production and tooled up for the new Nine in early 1928. This switch to the main factory coincided with several modernisations of the Mark 1 - the cone clutch was dropped, the gear lever and handbrake were moved from the right to the centre of the car and a Riley steering box was adopted, thus making the car the Mark II; the Mark III was a gentle update of the II at the end of 1928, evolving stronger wheels and a different arrangement of rods to the rear brakes. The Mark IV was a thorough re working of the Nine.
Heavier Riley-made 6-stud hubs and axles replaced the bought-in five-stud items. A new cable braking system was introduced with larger drums; the range of bodies was further extended in 1929 with the Biarritz saloon, a de-luxe version of the Monaco. The improved brakes were fitted using the Riley continuous cable system and if the cable stretched it could be adjusted from the driver's seat. More body variants were added over the next few years and in 1934 a Preselector gearbox was offered for £27 extra; the range was slimmed down in 1935 to the Monaco saloon, Kestrel streamlined saloon and Lynx four-seat tourer as the works started gearing up for production of the new 12 hp model. In an attempt to keep costs down Riley entered into an agreement with Briggs Manufacturing to produce a steel body for a newly designed chassis; this new chassis was introduced in 1936 and incorporated such features as Girling rod operated brakes and a prop shaft final drive for the Nine. The Briggs body was named the Merlin and was available alongside the last nine Kestrel variant built on the "Merlin" chassis.
The Briggs body evolved through 1937 with a large boot extension to be called the Touring Saloon and an additional body style was added on the same chassis - the higher specified special series Monaco. The final version was the 1938 Victor available with 1496 cc engine; the Victor had the engine further forward to increase interior room, with the battery moved to the engine bay and smaller diameter wheels were fitted. The Riley company was bought by Lord Nuffield in 1938 and Nine production ceased as the company pursued a strict two-engine line up, continued after the war with the RM series; some saloonsOpen two-seatersTourers When compared with its contemporary Hillman Minx it had a sophisticated 1098 cc engine with hemispherical combustion chambers pumping out more than 25 per cent more horsepower than the 1185 cc Hillman. Riley's preselector gearbox provided easy progress through the gears; the Riley was adding to it. The Riley body was composite wood and metal, a style-leader — fabric top, centre-lock wire wheels.
The pressed steel Hillman body, ordinary. The Minx body rusted. Hillmans outsold Rileys better than 4.5:1But a Monaco was nearly double the price of a Minx. While the Monaco's handling was much better there was not a lot of difference in performance, the Minx was faster in a straight line. With a Riley "special series" twin carburettor engine you might reach 112 km/h. A 1931 Monaco weighed a 1937 model 1 160 kg. In spite of its standard twin carburettors the 1937 Monaco took half a minute to reach 50 mph and could exceed 62 mph or 100 km/h; the Automobile. February 1999. Modern Nines. Jonathan Wood The Production and Competition History of the Pre 1939 Riley Motor cars - AT Birmingham Photos of Tourer, Biarritz and Torpedo models