Riley Monaco “Special.” Popular 1,1 10 c.c. Car of High Efficiency.
HEN Mr. Leverett set the seal on the British successes in the Monte Carlo Rally by winning the 1,100 c.c. class on his Riley, yet another example was provided of the fact that other types than Brooklands models have a very good right to be
termed sports cars.
Much as we all like to take the air on occasion in a stripped racer we must admit that the number of people to whom this can be of constant use is limited, and that many motorists who use their cars for competitions and trials, also use them for getting about the country in a normal manner, and therefore need a car which can be used for both purposes.
It is to such as these that the Monaco ” Special ” model of the famous Riley ” 9 ” should make a special appeal, and as it was good enough for Mr. Leverett to go from Stavanger to Monte Carlo in such a manner as to win his class, it should be good enough for other motorists whose tastes run to high performance, but whose pockets do not allow of high maintenance. The specification is based on the standard chassis, which is of very high efficiency design, but modified to give a definitely increased performance. The engine is a 4-cylinder of 60.3 mm., and 95.2 mm. bore and stroke incorporating many special features. It has push-rod operated overhead valves, but owing to the arrangement of the 2 camshafts, it is possible to use a cylinder head with hemispherical combustion chambers and valves set at 90°. This gives an efficiency similar to that obtainable by the use of two overhead camshafts, but without the complication of drive, and lack of accessibility which this arrangement requires. Lubrication is by pressure to all main and big-end bearings by a submerged plunger type pump, which also supplies oil at a lower pressure to the valve gear. The magneto is in a
particularly accessible position, high up at the front of the engine.
The special models differ from the standard in having two carburetters, while internal modifications include different pistons giving a higher compression ratio and increased power output. The 4-speed gearbox has a constant mesh type third gear with helical teeth, and in actual running this gear is definitely inaudible. Naturally, on a car of small engine size the gearbox plays a great part in getting a good performance, and the ability to put in long spells of hard climbing on third gear without any sound from the box adds greatly to the pleasure of driving.
When first taking over the latest model we were immediately conscious of an improvement over previous models, without, however, being fully able to decide where the improvement had been made. A model which has attained such success as this one hat during the last few years is naturally unlikely to show any radical changes, and the improvements can be traced simply to a very exacting attention to details both of chassis and body.
The very low build of the car makes it handle in saloon form, better than the majority of open •cars, and under all conditions the control is remarkable, and gives an idea of how this car was able, under appalling conditions of ice and snow to put up a higher average speed over the worst sections of the Monte Carlo Rally than many cars of much greater power.
The engine is more silent, and smoother in running, than any previous Riley we have driven, and from a mere crawl on top gear is without vibration up to its maximum revs. This model has a guaranteed road speed of 65 m.p.h. but we found that this was a conservative estimate and the car we tried attained 68 m.p.h.
without difficulty, and showed no signs of fuss at 45 m.p.h. on third gear. The brakes contribute greatly to the high average speeds possible, and the embodiment of hand adjust
ment which can be worked from the driver’s seat while running is a great convenience. They bring the car to rest from 40 m.p.h. in 65 ft. without harshness or affecting the steering. During the few hundred miles running we had on this car we were particularly struck by the remarkable fuel economy even when driven really hard. Many sports car enthusiasts are apt to scoff at the idea of going to any special trouble to tune for economy, and where this can only be obtained at
the expense of performance there is something to be said for this. When a really remarkable performance is combined with economy it is a proof of, very efficient design, and as sports car owners cover, as a rule, a greater mileage in the year than their slower brethren, it is specially important in these hard times to consider running costs with extra care. That a cheap car to buy is often dear to run is an old saying, but an economical car need not be expensive to buy, and even if it costs a few pounds more than a similar vehicle of lower efficiency it will prove a considerable saving in the end. The bodywork of the Riley ” 9 ” is probably better known in external appearance than any other single type on the roads to-day, but many people do not realise the ingenuity which has gone into the detail work of
that body. In addition to its very pleasing lines, its accommodation and convenience are far in advance of many larger cars, and strength and lightness have been very skilfully combined. We have no wish to boost the closed car at the expense of the ultra sporting or pukka racing vehicle, which is suitable for entirely different work, and in the case of the Riley there is no need. This concern make one of the most successful 1,100 c.c. racers of recent years, a n d the repeated vic
tories of this model in the hands of private owners will give increased confidence to the buyer of a more sober model, by the knowledge that the reserve of power which is utilised to give the Brooklands Riley such a remarkable turn of speed, means that his own model will have an abnormal factor of reliability. It has also given him a performance which is most exhilarating, and makes the Monaco ” Special ” a very attractive proposition to the man who wants to cover a big mileage, with the minimum expenditure of time and money.