Riley Blue

My previous Riley, a 1954 RME, had been a few inches too long to fit in my new garage so it had to go but what should be its replacement? Another Riley or a car of another make and if another make, which?

Riley Blue, our 1963 Riley One-Point-Five.

I decided to remain loyal to Riley but which? A pre-war car was ruled out, much as I would have liked one – the six-cylinder Lincock I lusted after was way beyond my price range so it would be something post-war, from the 1960s BMC era, but that didn’t give me a huge choice.

A Mini-based Riley Elf perhaps? Too small and my very first car had been a Mini Traveller. A Riley 1300? A possibility but I’d previously owned an Austin 1300GT, a virtually identical car. A Riley 4/72? Based on the Austin Cambridge / Morris Oxford Farina designed saloon, not really ‘me’.

That left the Riley One-Point-Five (catchy name, eh?), a four-door rather dumpy looking saloon originally intended to replace the Morris Minor. The Minor continued to sell well (too well?) with 1,368,291 hitting the streets between 1948 and 1971, whilst sales of the One-Point-Five didn’t top 40,000 during the whole of its eight year production run.

Four Riley One-Point-Fives (and a MG) on the front row at Silverstone in the 1950s.

It might look staid but the One-Point-Five had a bit of competition history. Stirling Moss’s sister Pat had rallied one and several had raced in the British Saloon Car Championship back in the late ’50s and early ’60s so it was a 1963 One-Point-Five that I bought, this 1963 One-Point-Five. Gael immediately named it ‘Riley Blue’.

Riley Blue with its original coat of several colours.