After driving around in Riley Blue for a few months we decided that if we were to enjoy the car as we wanted i.e. to tour in, we’d have to make some changes. Its original seats had fixed backs and we couldn’t sit comfortably enough for the long journeys we hoped to make. A pair of MGF Mk1 seats complete with runners and head restraints were bought for next to nothing on Ebay and re-trimmed to match the blue interior. They slid back further, reclined and had far better padding and support than the originals; we could now drive for hours without aching backs.
On my drive home from Coventry after purchasing the car I’d discovered that skinny crossply tyres, greasy roads and enthusiastic driving (the only way I know) didn’t mix so a set of Minilite replica alloy wheels with wider radial tyres soon arrived and were fitted and a servo was added to the braking system. We were ready to ‘rock and roll’.
And we did too, ‘rock and roll’ for several years, going to shows and events up and down the country until one day the annual MoT test fell due and a new inspector found rust where none had been found before. Not just a few rust holes, not just small rust holes, not just rust holes where they didn’t really matter but widespread rust, some of it in places where it mattered a lot.
It was in the front wings, around the suspension mounts, in the front panel, in the front doors, in the rear doors, in both sills, in the rear wings, in the rear arches; enough to make us talk about scrapping Riley Blue. However, we were having too much fun and besides, we’d already invested money in seats, wheels, tyres, a steering wheel and other bits and pieces.
Fortunately we had a good friend who was a car restorer so Riley Blue went into his body shop for disassembly, rectification, paint and rebuild. It took a long while but we were chuffed to bits with the result. Gael chose the colour, blue naturally, but a more vivid shade than the original BMC Bermuda Blue – this blue…