The Riley has joined the Lost Causes, a victim of the Leyland octopus. Mr. George Turnbull, Managing Director of Leyland’s Austin Morris Division, announced on July 9th that over the next few months current Riley models, which means the Elf Mk.III, Kestrel 5300 Mk.II and the 4/72, are being phased out of production. The explanation is that they account for less than 1% of total U.K. registrations—8,179 last year, of which 846 were exported.
Mr. Turnbull said that the decision to axe the Riley was not taken lightly and is “based on sound economic and business considerations”. A fat lot those of us who remember the highlights of the Coventry Rileys long run will care—the B.M.C. cars were not Rileys to those who recall the racing achievements of drivers such as F. W. Dixon, Cyril Paul, Percy Maclure, Hector Dobbs, and so many others, in cars with efficient engines having o.h. valves in hemispherical combustion chambers and light valve gear achieved by the use of high-set camshafts and short push-rods.
Members of the flourishing Riley Register will know what we mean.