Riley Merlin 1936-7

 The Riley Merlin is another like the Kestrel with streamlined Art Deco styling designed by Percy and Stanley Riley  and spruced up by the factory design team  the ‘Nine’ was the highest-selling quality light  car in the inter-war period. Early models  were the fabric-bodied Riley Monaco and  four seater tourer, both powered by the four cylinder 1087cc engine in production from 1927. Due to steady sales, other body  options followed quickly; almost cornering the light-car market, offering vehicles that appealed to all. An improved Wilson or Armstrong Siddeley pre-selector gearbox arrived in 1934 and  a deal was made with the manufacturer Briggs to produce a  steel body for the updated chassis 12/4. Merlin's were the first in the  new saloon body,  equipped with Girling rod brakes. For 1936, the Riley Monaco name was  dropped after almost nine years and replaced with the Merlin although a few '36 Monaco exist.

The Merlin was NOT a cheap version of the Falcon as some state as the chassis was three inches shorter in the wheelbase ( 8 foot 10 inches) with differing crankcase/crankpins ( Birmingham p 189). For technical specs Styles " As old as' p.101

Whoever thought a 9 engine plus a hefty steel Briggs saloon body was a good idea was obviously a much slower driver than me ( weight on the road was 863.64 kilo). The 9hp car although it is improved with the pre select gearbox is lumpy and slowish and even being £30 cheaper than the 1937 re-introduced Monaco was gradually phased out as sales flatlined and few special series and the better 12/4 survived. If you find a 12/4 Merlin treasure it as a useful car, decent engine, decent gearbox and woefully under priced until chopped by an idiot to construct a 'special' when it often triples its value (9's are nice but slower and less fun than the 12/4 so check and buy the better engine. . .  my opinion only). This means the remaining 12/4 saloons are becoming seriously rare and when driven are a delight. If you like to drive well within most speed limits go for the 9hp engined version but not if in a hilly area !

Specials made from destroyed cars (woodworm/crashes etc) now need full documentation for both the VSCC and the clubs which hopefully means saloons will cease to be donors whilts some still remain. Some known cars  listed on the special page and further down the page were rebuilt after major crashes and as such are 'historic specials' done to 'make do and mend' and never to be confused with modern chop tops. Remember in the Uk it rains, snows, is cold etc and that pretty open top special if constructed from a previously sound car does not make you look cool, just a rich person with little taste who destroys history for a few weeks in summer.

Merlin Links :- Video of restored 9 ( turn down the music first helps )   1. Bodywork,  2. Engine,  3. Driving + Finished,  Riley Robs 9 Merlin Page, Riley Robs 12/4 Merlin Page ,  Bonhams sale DKO 509  ,  694 YUB when sold,  JT 6009 when being sold 2019,  Page on JT as the ONLY untouched early Merlin totally original,  ASL 682 when sold by Robin Lawton (video)

Chassis plate numbers used 

26M  - 1936 Merlin 12/4 Saloon   @  £308 + purchase tax,  The rolling chassis only format  @  £256 + purchase tax

S26M  - 1936 Merlin 12/4 Saloon Special Series @  £335 + purchase tax,  The rolling chassis only format  @  £256 + £27 purchase tax

66M - 1936 Merlin Standard  Saloon with preselect box @  £269 + purchase tax  

S66M  - 1936 Merlin Saloon Special Series with preselect box @  £279 + purchase tax

67M - 1937 Merlin Standard  Saloon with preselect box  @  £275 + purchase tax 

 S67M  - 1936 Merlin Saloon Special Series with preselect box  @  £285 + purchase tax 

36M - 1936 Merlin saloon;

Clubs for this model:  The Riley Register,     The Riley Motor Club,    &  those from other countries listed here

Remaining Known Riley Merlin cars :-

50 + one with 'after and before' video with additional (gratefully received) research done by Andrew Hassam inc pictures

Remember pre war the car 'year' was from September to September ie from the Motor Show so Sept 1935 was the new1936 model . Also the asterisks are used when data is from the Riley Register membership lists due to data protection laws and a members complaint however photographs in the public domain will show the data


1935 12/4 cars:-      

DPE 168 Registered 30 December 1935, but classed as a 1936 model see above

1935 9 hp cars:-      

CKJ 76* ( 66M-40*) Registered 7 November 1935 @ Lulworth Castle Classic Car Show 9 June 2013 ,

CKM 34* ( 66M-54*) Registered 3 December 1935 @ DVCA auctions in Dorset ,

JB 393* ( 66M-783*) Registered 4 December 1935 @ Cromford Steam Rally 2011

1936 9 hp cars:-

BHP 963 Registered 11 March 1936  from Anamera portal 14 June 2007:

BRU 35* ( Chassis number 66M-115* Engine no: SM-1295) Registered 12 February1936

BTB 56* ( S66M-164*) On  Riley Register database nothing else known

BVC 82* ( 66M-204*)  On  Riley Register database nothing else known

BYC 40* ( 66M-173*),Registered 30 December 1936 @ Riley Register Coventry Rally 25 June 2017 ,

CKM 92* ( 66M-116*) Registered 3 February 1936,

CXL 71* ( 66M-153*) On  Riley Register database nothing else known

DME 15* ( 26M-84*) On  Riley Register database nothing else known

DTW 22* ( 66M-184*) and click here turn music down !

CPP 528 (Chassis no: 66M-218 Engine no: M-218)  Registered 2 July 1936  @ H&H Classics 23 July 2008: sold – £6600 ,

CXB 507 (Chassis no: 66M-1483 ) Registered 30 March 1936  Offered for sale Thornfalcon Classics: sold – £18,750.00 Was owned by Lady Colwyn Photographed by Robin Lawton at Eathorpe Park Coventry Rally in 1965. Then in its original grey livery see below.

DTW 222  Registered 1936; re-registered 16 March 1982 also at youtube

EJ 480* ( 66M-162*) Registered 1936; re-registered 14 September 1983@ Tatton Park, Manchester, Classic Car Show 18 August 2012 also youtube

FV 781* ( 66M-202*) Registered 31 July 1936

FT 393* ( 66M-203*), On  Riley Register database nothing else known

GL 354* ( 66M-173*) Registered 13 May 1936 @ Riley Register Coventry Rally 6 July 2008 ,

JA 7366 Registered 18 June 1936 Photograph posted 22 March 2019

JC 3504 (Chassis no: 66M-1407 Engine no: M-1407) Registered 24 March 1936  @ Brightwells 28 November 2012: sold (hammer price) – £10,000.00 Also at Brightwells 2007

JT 6009 (Chassis no: 67M-2674 Engine no: M-2674) The only totally original car Registered 19 November 1936 (but as after September with the 1937 prefix number) @ South Western Vehicle Auctions 25 January 2019: sold as non running project – £9,400.00 + buyers premium Page on here plus youtube

NJ 963* ( 66M.... 1936 ),Registered 17 August 1936 For sale 11 May 2019 – £12,000 ono

VL 7697 1 January 2019 same car in 2017

VY 872* ( 66M-204*) On  Riley Register database nothing else known

YS 793* ( 66M-155*) On  Riley Register database nothing else known

69* YUB ( 66M-191*  Engine no: 17.1917), Registered 26 August 1936  Auctioned Brooklands Museum 4 March 2017: sold – £16,800 also at . In 2012, as DGJ 529 prior to restoration pictures 1 , pictures 2

YXG 54* ( 26M 491* 1936 9) On  Riley Register database nothing else known

Unknown registration car 1 Riley 9 Merlin for restoration. Off the road and garaged since 1963, all complete and fitted with pre select gearbox but engine out and dismantled. Pretty solid oily rag conditon, or could be built into a valuable special, though this would seem a shame.’ Oxfordshire. Sold – £4,250.,. . .1936 Riley 9 Owner: Peter Hunt Acquired: 1 November 2017 Location: Hook Norton, Oxfordshire ‘I bought this Riley as a retirement project having been looking for years for a suitable car. It's a bit of a wreck but I am currently weighing up whether it is restorable as a saloon or to use the chassis and running gear to recreate a sports special. It will be under wraps until the Healey is finished.’

Unknown  registration in NZ 1936 Riley Nine Merlin Photographed at the Southward Car Museum, Paraparaumu, NZ

ZH 361 737 Swiss / 1936 Riley 9 Merlin, registered in Switzerland by Simon Kernahan

26M 3987 In Brisbane   (poorly)

26M 4051 turned into a special in Oz believed  now in the UK.

1936 12/4 cars:- 

ASL 682 (1936; re-registered 12 May 1999  Chassis no: 26M-4295 Engine no: M-4295),

BFG 206 Registered 31 December 1936 Riley Register Coventry Rally 25 June 2017,

CLY 459 Registered 25 March 1936  Rick Ford 15 May 2013 ,

CXU 853 Registered 16 May 1936,    and also on alamy in quantity

CXW 835 Registered 16 May 1936,   

DMH 9  Registered 1936; re-registered 1 September 1999 also at

RV  7952  (26M-3414) Registered January 1936  pic above

YXG 543 Registered 1936; re-registered 1 October 2014  Riley Register Coventry Rally 25 June 2017

1937 9 hp cars:-       

DKJ 97*  ( 67M -251*) On  Riley Register database nothing else known

ABK 526 (Chassis no: S66M-2100 Engine no: M-612 Special Series )Registered 12 February 1937   Also on Blue Diamond from their restoration, ,

AV 892* ( S67M-276* Special Series ) Registered 6 January 1937 @ Near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, May 2009 ,

DKO 509 (Chassis no: 67M-2790 Engine no: SZ-3251) Registered 1 February 1937  @ H & H Auctions Donnington Park 16 November 2016: sold as restoration completion project (interior work) – £9,400.00 Also at Bonhams click here

SIN 313 Riley Merlin 9hp, 1937 Oldtimer in Obwalden, Switzerland 2013

VD 749* ( 66M-282*),Registered 9 February 1937 Riley cars at the 28th Scottish Transport Extravaganza Glamis 2002

1937 12/4 cars:-     

+ Registration Unknown Riley 12/4 Merlin complete car vintage special VSCC Prewar. Fitted with a Brooklands Enginecraft 4-branch manifold and new stainless exhaust system. Offered for sale on eBay 5 December 2018 at £12,500    

Originally Riley Merlins / Historic  Converted  Specials  :-   All are on  the Riley Register database nothing else known as yet. I have not added modern re-bodied cars as unless informed otherwise many were constructed recently by chopping saloons. If your car is a historic conversion please do tell me via the link below

1935 12/4:- 

BOJ 652 Registered 16 November 1935

1935 12/4:-  

DHX 88*  (26M388*)

1936 9 :-

ADV 90* New CHASSIS M Bits;

CXW 91*  (66M140*);

WG 585*  (66M195*);

1936 12/4  :- 

AKV  65* (26M290*);

ATJ  8* (66M158*);

ED  968* (66M62*);   

SMH 24* JM*; ??* (26M353*);    

WSJ 70* (26M322*);   

1 DIB 27* (26M405*);   

59* YUP (??* );    

MJ  8778 (66M31*) was a 9hp now 12/4

 

The last chassis and registration number is replaced with an *asterisk but known to the clubs .There will be others in other clubs and countries please click + email info




1937 Merlin sold at H&H in 2016 pics by them



Advert from The Sphere - Saturday 05 October 1935

Riley Merlin in Films + TV:-
1936 Riley Nine Merlin Saloon in A Private Function, 1984 **** (FV 7818)
1936 Riley Nine Merlin Saloon in Eye of the Needle, 1981 **
1936 Riley Nine Merlin Saloon in Roadways, 1937 *



1935 Riley 9hp Merlin Saloon from DVCA auctions in Dorset



1936 Riley Merlin  © CLIFF JONES PHOTOGRAPHY