Oooooh its a built in jack

Now thats interesting…. today I discover that the car has built in jacks on each of the rear wheels.. what fun. Seems a bit daft though because you still need a jack to lift the front wheels 🙂 I wonder if they actually work or are merely a large heavy lump of rust…

Note the vintage mud…. thats now all removed too…

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You’re only supposed to…

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Ah the classic line from the Italian Job… You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off”…

Ok fair enough I didnt actually need explosives, I used a screwdriver to ease apart the lace of rust and oops off came the door pillar along with the passenger front door. The rear door was a little more troublesome as it meant undoing a couple of rusty wood screws. I did this part nicely as I wanted to keep the original brass door hinges just-in-case I need them at a later date.

So now, pretty much all that is holding the last of the aluminum body work on is a large lump of solid rust that used to be a body mount, a bolt holding a small roof frame to the inner wheel arch and a join just above the windscreen. I might have to actually angle grind that apart.

I can almost get to the raw chassis rails now to see if we have any major problems. So far though, looking underneath the not-very-connected floor pan is a solid looking chassis 🙂

Oh and I managed to get the sunroof to open – bit pointless really but hey…

VSCC evaluation day

A key milestone today. The Vintage Sports Car Club wanted to visit the Riley to ascertain whether it could or could not be restored. If in their eyes the car could be restored then they would not permit me to rebody it as an open tourer AND enter it into their motorsport competitions. A lovely man drove over who must have been as old as the Riley and took a quick walk round it and said, “you have quite a project there”. We then went on to talk about what I planned to do with the car and he gave me a few tips about designing the bodywork – which I took to be a positive sign. But we have to wait and see, I am now on tenterhooks…

Either way, the body will be coming off from today. I was contacted by a Riley specialist who asked if he can have the remains of the floorpan as he has a customer who has nothing and wants him to build one. So step 1, get the seats out. I couldn’t work out how to get at the fixings which are inside the seat runners – which of course were seized with age. So I took the whole seat section of floorpan out with the seats still attached. That done, a liberal coating of PlusGas got the runners unseized and the seats (with a little coaxing) slid off the runners. I could then see the ‘screws’, these too received a spray of PlusGas and then every one of the 12 screws simply came out… stunning as I bet they havnt moved since 1935!

So seats are out, the last of the floor pan remains are out and 3 of the body mounts are disconnected / fell off… I am still trying to work out how to lift the whole bodyshell off but thats for another day.

So I jet washed the entire car, chassis, enginebay, steering – everything…. its amazing how much grease there is and how many parts are made of brass 🙂 nice.

It all starts here

01 taking away

This is a 1935 Riley Falcon, a 1.5 litre, 4 door luxury saloon that once upon  a time was someones pride and joy. The body is hand formed aluminum, with a full leather interior and lots of extras such as a sunroof, automatically oiled suspension, a tilting windscreen, rod operated brakes and of course the new fangled pre-select gearbox, oh and a hand throttle, distributor advance/retard controls on the steering column… fabulous what more could a man want…

Well the floor is missing entirely as is the boot, there is no chrome, glass or interior, the rear seat is missing and the two front ones appear to have been eaten by rats. There are no doors on the driver side because the door pillar rotted away as did a lot of the support for the rear bodywork which has collapsed. Apparently the body was supposed to have a wooden frame made from ash – well thats missing too…

But the engine is not seized, and the steering and brakes (ish) move and the cross-ply remould tyres hold air 🙂

The car has its original registration number and is recognised by the DVLA and the Riley Register so that makes it a real car and not just a pile of bits. Most importantly it is a narrow track car and it has the more powerful 1.5ltr engine which is a twin cam, hemi head and so is highly tunable for more speed.

The car is now recorded with the Vintage Sports Car Club as being rebodied. So the fun starts here…. look past what it looks like now and pop over to the “the future” page on this site for a taste of what might be in a few years time.