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Designed during the second war, the Riley RM series owes part of their style and technical innovation to Citroen from whom they based the rack and pinion steering. The body design, as Riley design studies will show, was influenced by pre war BMW styling, due to Riley acquiring a BMW 326 coupe following the departure of the German embassy at the beginning of the second war.
Mechanically the engine was based on the pre-war 2 ½ Litre high cam engine updated, consequently the RMB could reach speeds in excess of 90 mph accordingly to period road tests, and appealed to the smart set in post war Britain including motor racing and other personalities in the immediate post war years.
The earlier RMB's built at the Riley works in Filton, Coventry, are more representative of the pre war style retaining running boards and the earlier style of instrumentation, following the move to Abingdon in 1949, the dash board design changed to rectangular instruments common to other Nuffield Group models, and ultimately the body style was modernised.
With a detailed history file and documentation going back to the 1940's, JPX 337 is a rare example of the Police Version of the RMB supplied when new to the West Sussex Constabulary based at Chichester, it could be termed the ‘Goodwood Police Car' as most certainly it was used as a high speed patrol car in the late 1940's. With a top speed in excess of 90 MPH, it was at the time one of the fasted production saloon cars produced in the UK, and could not doubt effectively deal with errant motorists speeding across the Sussex Downs.
Originally equipped for UK police force use, as the photographs confirm JPX 337 was fitted with siren, light and a police radio, to support the additional equipment and batteries, the cars were modified by Riley to house a high output CAV dynamo and regulator with the front wing modified with an additional bulge to accommodate the CAV dynamo. Retired we believe the 1950's the Riley entered civilian use, but retained the larger high out dynamo still in place today.
In the history file are pictures of JPX in police service at the Chichester Police HQ, together with a copy of the original Surrey registration car. Little is know of the intermediate history, until the early 1990's when the Riley appears unrestored in Riley RM Register records, and then going through a full restoration, at which point by the late 1990's frame timbers had been replaced, and any remedial work to the body panels had been carried, the car had been rewired, re-roofed, and had undergone a document mechanical restoration with the engine being converted to run on shell bearing by vintage sunbeam specialist Holcombe Engineering, the engine received new liners and pistons.
Moving to new ownership in the early 2000's the car remained whilst relatively unused, it was maintained as invoices in the history file will confirm, following the death of a previous owner, the recommissioning of the car was recently completed by the immediate past owner, with the following work being carried out;
New exhaust manifold, rebuilt engine cooling fan, fitment of electric fan thermostat control, heater control valve, new fuel pump, new carpets supplied by Riley RM specialist and professionally fitted together with repairs to original leather interior, rebuilt air cleaner modified for removable filters, paintwork refreshed together with sundry small jobs.
Recently returned to the road and having successfully completed a 200 mile Rally in France, the previous owner reports that the car ran to expectations with no overheating, and constant oil pressure, with no noticeable use of oil.
Complete with period radio modified for FM, it starts on the button, and is capable of high cruising speeds, making it ideal for Riley RM Club events, or longer distance events. It was when launched one of the fastest production cars of its era, based on the Riley tradition of manufacturing sporting cars, it maintains that presence today supported by an excellent Club Spares scheme and active member's technical forum.