The Riley has been a bit of a love
hate relationship over the years. When it was fully on song it was
fantastic, good performance ( for a 1928 car) excellent handling and
In the beginning the car was a
well sorted very competitive vintage car, but as with all things that
are highly strung a lot of TLC was required to keep things together. It
was fitted with a Phoenix crankshaft and rods which gave good strength
to engine , even though it is only a two bearing crankshaft.
It would be difficult to list all
the issues but some that come to mind were , Magneto , Propshaft and
differential. These were really quickly sorted but more was to come.
It was decided that more power was
required and so the idea of fitting a supercharger came about.
Most 'blowers' on this engine have
been fitted to the front of the engine and driven at crankshaft speed
but we decided that we should drive the blower at around 10% above the
crankshaft speed. Here started the problems as to be eligible for VSCC
vintage class the blower had to be chain driven , belts are not allowed.
So a design was sorted parts were
collected ,a suitable blower was sourced and refurbished and the work
In will not go into all the detail
but there were many issues, mainly getting the right gearing and keeping
the chain in the right position with the correct tension.
While we were at it the engine was
stripped down , new rings and shells fitted and a better , external, oil
feed was incorporated together with a modern pressure relief valve.
Eventually it was done and the
trials seemed very promising, much more torque and a more drivable car.
The success was short lived and
reliability became a major problem. I believe the increased performance
and greater enthusiasm by the driver resulted in 3 big end failures.
Despite modifications to the sump ( the oil pump had already been
uprated) and rechecking the oil to the bearings , no direct cause could
After the last re build and
attention by a 'marque expert' I decided that it was time to say goodbye
to the Riley.
A very good offer was made and I
believe the car is now in Holland.
I hope that it proves to be great
fun for the current owner