William Riley founded the Riley Cycle Co

Saturday 23rd May 1896

William Riley founded the Riley Cycle Co. Ltd in Coventry in the West Midlands. In 1905 they went on to produce a Tricar powered by their own ‘V’ twin 9-bhp engine, which had a steering wheel instead of the usual tiller of the 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.

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