Riley Brooklands

// Year


// Description


1929 Riley Brooklands - Chassis 8060


Watch period footage of this car in action:




'Almost as soon as these new (9hp) models arrived on the scene, interest was shown in the engine by J G Parry-Thomas, who joined forces with Reid Railton to produce an 1,100cc racing chassis which Railton drove to undreamed-of success at Brooklands. Later, after Thompson and Taylor had developed the chassis, Riley put into production the 9hp Speed Model, which quickly became a legend as the Brooklands Nine. It was a Brooklands Nine which won the Rudge Whitworth Cup at Le Mans in 1934.' - As Old As The Industry: Riley 1898 - 1969, David G Styles.


'There has been much controversy as to what constitutes a sports car, but one thing is certain; the Brooklands Riley qualifies on all counts.' - Road & Track.


Introduced in 1926, Percy Riley's 9hp, 1,087cc, twin-camshaft four was an outstanding engine design by any standards, various versions powering Rileys until 1957. Clothed in stylish bodywork by Stanley Riley, the Coventry marque's pre-war offerings were among the world's finest small-capacity sporting cars, none more so than the rare and highly desirable Brooklands Speed Model, 110 of which were made between 1928 and 1932. The production Brooklands boasted a chassis shortened to an 8' wheelbase from the standard Nine's 8' 10.5" and was low-slung in the extreme, it being possible for the driver to touch the ground while normally seated at the wheel! Body construction varied considerably, ranging from wood-framed, steel-panelled, two-door types intended for touring, to the lightweight, door-less, alloy ones used at Le Mans. The engine differed from the standard Nine's by virtue of its water pump, high-compression pistons, different camshafts, four-branch exhaust manifold and twin carburettors, in which form it produced around 50bhp at 5,000 rpm.


The Brooklands was enthusiastically received by the British motor racing fraternity as it provided a most competitive entry into the 1,100cc sports car class (Class G), hitherto dominated by Continental makes. As well as the aforementioned Le Mans marque award, Riley Brooklands successes included winning the Index of Performance at Le Mans in 1933 and 1934, various Class G world records, a class win in the RAC Tourist Trophy, an outright win at the 1932 Ulster Tourist Trophy at Ards and victory in the JCC 1,000 Miles Race and countless other events at Brooklands.


Chassis number '8060', carries the original alloy body from the 1932 Ards TT-winning and 1933 Le Mans Index-winning Riley Brooklands, 'VC 8304'. '8060' is verified as an original Riley Brooklands chassis in hand-written correspondence from Barbara Farquhar, the foremost and undisputed expert on the model. This particular Brooklands was supplied to Cox's Motor Company, Bridge Street, Cambridge on 17th December 1929, which is confirmed by a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust letter on file.


The chassis has been completely overhauled but maintains all its originality. Only one cross member has been replaced but even this retains the original end mountings to the chassis rails with only the centre sections being replaced. Chassis number '8060' has been recently MoT'd and is expected to have been issued with an age-related registration number by the time of sale, the original having been lost. The steering column is original Riley Brooklands and came with the body. It has the correct early control levers and original three-spoke Riley steering wheel. The front axle is polished as was often the case for racing, and the brake drums are lightened and drilled as are the rear half-shafts, hubs and brake shafts. A dashboard has been constructed as part of the painstaking restoration, containing original instrumentation including a Rotax switch panel, clock, ammeter, water temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge, speedometer and 6" Jaeger rev counter. All have been restored by a recognised expert, with the exception of the clock.


The engine is a works unit and is one, if not the last, built by the late Neville Farquhar, probably the most experienced restorer and racer of Riley Brooklands in post-war years. It is modified in original pre-war style with many lightened parts including the rockers and crankshaft, which is beautifully counterbalanced. Other non-standard features include strengthening webs, external lubrication system and large oil pump, etc. We are advised that the engine started almost instantly on the test bed, showing good oil pressure, and after an hour or two of bedding in gave excellent results. The engine came from George Slater, who was T C Harrison's mechanic after the war, actively involved in the latter's exploits with Rileys and ERAs. It is almost certain the engine was a race unit supplied to George Slater from the Riley factory and previously used by the great F W (Freddie) Dixon.


Original correspondence on file confirms this fact and that the engine originally had a 12:1 compression ratio. Interestingly, this engine was sold to Slater only because the one he wanted had been sold on. An accompanying letter states: 'We very much regret that the other engine was sold when we received your letter but the Dixon engine should be just as good. At any rate Dixon made these cars go a lot faster than anyone else.' The engine is currently fitted with twin SU carburettors for ease of tuning and operation but was supplied with four Amal carburettors; four such instruments are included in the sale. In addition, a newly overhauled BTH magneto that came with the engine will also be supplied, a magneto/distributor/coil conversion being installed at present. A four-branch, racing exhaust system has been fabricated along the lines of the one described in accompanying original correspondence, which also lists Brooklands technical engine specifications for reference. The four-speed, close-ratio, 'silent 3rd' gearbox is of the type originally fitted to the Brooklands. This too was overhauled, according to previous owners, by the late Neville Farquhar.



The body is undoubtedly the most original and important Riley body to be offered on the open market. Believed to have been destroyed but languishing in the back of a workshop for many years, this is the body from Riley Brooklands 'VC 8304', the winning car driven by C R Whitcroft in the 1932 Ards TT and winner of the Index of Performance at Le Mans in 1933 driven by Alex van der Becke and Kenneth Peacock.


This historic body was acquired in the late 1970s, together with chassis '8060' and various other Riley Brooklands parts, by the late Peter Cattell, arguably the foremost Riley restorer of his generation. It still bears the witness marks from its illustrious history and the utmost care has been taken over the conservation of this original patina, to which end the body has been left in aluminium, demonstrating its provenance beyond doubt. For example: removal of the handmade leather securing strap at the rear reveals clearly visible wear marks of the original straps, as shown in period photographs of the Ards TT-winning car. This body from 'VC 8304' remains virtually intact, as evidenced by period photographs. Interesting features are the panel-beaten sides to take a spare wheel and the internal supporting bracketry behind the rear seats. The slots in the body, which Barbara Farquhar has confirmed as correct in included correspondence, are adjacent to the mounting bolts to facilitate its swift removal. The body frame is of narrow-section tubing to reduce weight, with what appears to be cast or fabricated light-alloy reinforcing brackets. No extra holes have been made, and the body fitted snugly onto the chassis without need for extra drilling. Extra brackets have been fitted to reinforce the lightweight body frame and to attach road-legal wings for the MoT. These have been fitted utilising existing holes in the frame to preserve the historic integrity of this unique body. In addition, the aero screen and mirror fairing were constructed and fitted using the original rivet holes that had been welded up in the scuttle but were clearly visible from the underside and are shown in photographs. Peter Cattell even discovered the original windscreen support brackets, which are clearly visible in the famous picture of van der Beck and Peacock in their white overalls, sitting on the rear of the car after the 1933 Le Mans. Apparently, the TT and Le Mans regulations were different, hence two sets of distinguishable holes to take the auxiliary brake/rear lights, one of which has a period light, as might have been used, installed and working. The interior has been re-trimmed in high quality brown leather and the driver's leather armrest uses the appropriate existing holes. A new fuel tank has been fitted (the original large-capacity tank had long since disintegrated) together with a period under-dash oil feed tank. Two 'fast filler' tanks for racing use are included in the sale. To comply with modern requirements, especially for continental motoring, cycle wings, sidelights with indicators, 'pork pie' rear lights (again with indicators) have been fitted together with dipping Rotax headlamps.


This original vintage Riley Brooklands was purchased from Peter Cattell's family by the previous owner and is offered fresh from a painstaking and exhaustive restoration, which has been executed superbly by renowned marque specialists, Ashridge Automobiles of Great Billington, Bedfordshire. It boasts a most historic Riley Brooklands body from the important works competition car 'VC 8304' - believed lost for many years - and is eligible for all VSCC and a host of other prestigious historic motoring events.


'8060' was invited to participate at the 2012 edition of the Vernasca Silver Flag in Italy where it won 'Best Pre War Car' at the event. More recently the car has been overhauled mechanically at a cost of € 5000 by Rome based Riley Specialist. Now in 'fine fettle' and ready to be enjoyed by its lucky new owner.


Avaliable to view in our Kew showroom