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Riley Pathfinder

Riley Pathfinder

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Riley Pathfinder Riley Pathfinder
Lot number 17
Hammer value £3000
Description Riley Pathfinder
Year 1955

History

Registration No. SLK 818 Chassis No. MAE 13/4065 Engine no. DP 25 R/2/1599 During the Spring of 1948, the production of Riley cars was moved from the war-damaged Coventry plant to Abingdon, home of the MG. Thus the two specialist car manufacturers of the Nuffield empire would share the same factory, and the essentially handmade models would be produced together. At this time the RM series of saloons and roadsters was available in 1? and 2? litre form, both engines being of the advanced pushrod twin-cam shaft layout with hemispherical combustion chambers and other established Riley features. In 1953, the 2? litre RMF model was replaced by the exciting new Pathfinder, whilst the fabric-roofed RME 1? litre car continued virtually as before. The new Pathfinder closely resembled the contemporary Wolseley Six-Ninety whose body shell it shared, but the difference lay in the incorporation of the magnificent Riley Big Four engine and four-speed gearbox with right-hand change. This produced a solid 110bhp and resulted in a best speed of over 100 mph with matching acceleration and all in a comfortable luxury body with seating for five. The chassis was of massive ladder-construction, and was fitted with servo-assisted hydraulic brakes and a hydraulic clutch. Suspension was independent at the front with torsion bars and wishbones and used a live rear axle with coil springs and radius arms. An anti-roll bar was incorporated behind the rear axle. Bodywork was in the 1950s style, with curves everywhere and a long bonnet matched at the rear by a capacious boot. The interior was all leather with bench seating and a splendid well stocked wood-veneered dashboard. This late 1955 example has been in the owner?s possession since 1989 and has been the subject of a ten-year restoration from the ground upwards, being literally rebuilt from the bare chassis. All panels, doors etc were welded and primed, and the shell repaired and remounted onto the carefully prepared and protected chassis, and brake parts replaced. The bodywork was then resprayed in original Connaught Green to a very high standard, and the interior retrimmed in the correct biscuit coloured hide, but retaining the original rear seat squab. The carpets and headlining have also been renewed. The engine was completely rebuilt with new ancillaries, including a reground crank, with new bearings all round, and the block was rebored and fitted with new pistons by Speyer & Walker. Hardended exhaust-valve seats were included to allow the use of unleaded petrol. Finally the clutch was replaced and the gearbox rebuilt. The car was rewired and items of trim replated where possible, or replaced with brass or aluminum castings where necessary. In 1993, the car?s original 1955 registration of SLK 818 was returned and a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate confirms the details. The enthusiastic owner who carried out the rebuild himself, has used the car for the last six years, covering some 5,000 miles, and in the process winning the coveted ?Best RM Riley? trophy at the Riley Register National Rally in 2001. The rebuild and subsequent enjoyment of the car are chronicled in two articles by the owner in the ?Riley Record? and these are included in the sale, along with a workshop manual, owner?s handbook and some spares including a fuel tank. Altogether a magnificent example of a now very rare and sought after classic Riley, with the best and most powerful ?proper? 2? litre engine, in splendid condition, almost as it was on completion of its total and very expensive rebuild. The car is taxed, has a V5C document is ready to use on a daily basis and has a most reasonable estimate. Truly one of the last of the classic Rileys.

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