1948 Riley RMC Roadster

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Ground Up Restoration 2010-2012

This rare and highly prized collector car arrived partially disassembled in the fall of 2010. Over two years, this vehicle was completely disassembled down to the smallest component. Then, each component was rebuilt, restored, or reproduced to authentic specifications. The vehicle body construction was traditional steel chassis-frame with wooden-framed and steel-skinned body panels employing period processes, tooling and craftsmanship. The result - a three seater roadster representing the life of elegance and affordable luxury.  

Engine: Riley 'Big Four' engine, 4 cylinder, twin cams, 2443 cc, 100hp with 4-speed gearbox.

Chassis: Torsh and bar suspension, rack-and-pinion steering.

Dimensions: Wheelbase 9'11";front track 4'4.25"; rear track 4' 4.25"; length 15' 6"; width 5'3.5"; height 4'11". Unladen weight approximately 3,135 pounds.

Typical Performance: Maximum speed 94mph; 0-60 mph 16.4 seconds; standing 1/4 mile 20.8 seconds; overall fuel consumption 21mpg.

 

 

 

 
 

About the 1948 Riley RMC Roadster

A result of the "Export or Die Policy", Riley Motors designed the Riley 100hp 2 1/2 litre open Sports 3-seater, later known as the RMC Roadster, for the post-war American market in 1948. Of 507 cars produced in a two-and-a-half year production run, only 313 were exported and of those only 50 crossed the Atlantic for the "open sports car" North American market with 11 going to Canada. The Roadster was considered a marketing failure mainly due to the lack of hard market research, as the car was made on what was "thought" to be the desires of growing American middle class and it's price tag.

While it has the traditional roadster elements - a fold flat windscreen, cutaway top to doors and the exposed spare wheel - the low slung, two-door three-seater's performance was shy of its sister the Riley RM Saloon. With that being said, no other prewar Riley had enjoyed the styling of the long-bonnet, long-tail look with wraparound fenders and cockpit type passenger compartment that created the impression as a high-performance, carefree motoring sports car that answered the demands of the fastidious driver.

Unique to this mark were the four overriders, a huge 20 gallon gas tank, an enormous boot and wraparound bumpers all designed to please the American market. With a dry weight of just over 3,000 pounds and better aerodynamics, the Roadster's performance was good rather than exciting compared to the Riley 2 1/2 litre Saloon. However, The Autocar's original road test commented enthusiastically that the Roadster "feels every bit as solid on the road as the closed car". Moreover, "it sits firm and square on the road, takes corners on an even keel even when high speeds are being held, and the driver is able to put it just where he wants on the road". The road test also showed a 0-60mph acceleration time of 19 seconds with top speeds of 94 mph just a bit shy of the 100 mph stated in the sales literature.

Source: Riley RM-Series, James Taylor & Motor Racing Publications Ltd, 1990

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