Modified: 2009/06/29 09:21 by ctmadmin - Tagged as: Coventry Transport Museum, Coventrys Motorcycle Heritage, Riley

a Riley sales brochure for the Riley Kestrel

Riley were cycle and motor companies once located in Coventry.

William Riley (1851-1944) was originally part of a family of Coventry Weavers, yet purchased the Bonnick Cycle Company in 1890 after he saw the opportunities the growing cycle trade could bring. The Riley Cycle Company began six years later, and the family run business continued to produce cycles of high quality.

In 1898, Percy Riley, William’s son, took the lead in developing motorised transport with the production of a De Dion Bouton type car. Percy also began the Riley Engine Company in 1903 as a separate venture to that of Riley cycle production at this time.

Riley also built motorcycles until 1906 after which time they concentrated their efforts on car production. The first commercial four-wheeled cars were of 1,034cc selling for £168 and larger two-litre V-Twins followed two years later. The business was reformed as Riley (Coventry) Ltd in 1912 and continued along the same lines with the manufacture of two-cylinder machines, as well as a 2.9 model making an introduction. After the War, four-cylinder Riley’s were favoured including the ‘Redwing’ in 1923. The company ventured further into competitive racing into the 1930s releasing road versions of models such as the ‘Monaco’ and 1496cc ‘Sprite’. After the conclusion of WW2, new styled 1.5 litre cars were introduced, followed by the 2.5 litre ‘Roadster’ in 1948.

Eventually falling under the control of British Leyland, cars were sold under the Riley name until 1969.
Culture Coventry Limited; Registered in Cardiff, Wales, No. 8359113; Registered under the Charities Act 1960, Registration No. 1152899
Culture Coventry Ventures Limited - Registered in Cardiff, Wales, No. 5263892
Culture Coventry Events Limited – Registered in Cardiff, Wales, No. 8108478
Registered Offices – Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Jordan Well, Coventry CV1 5QP

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