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 exist.

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 . 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). 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 ! 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.

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.

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 66M - 1936 Merlin standard with preselect box; 866M - 1936 Merlin special with preselect box; 67M - 1937 Merlin standard with preselect box; 867M - 1936 Merlin special series with preselect box; 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 :- 36 + one with 'after and before' video

1936 9 hp cars:-       BRU 35* ( Chassis number 66M115*),      BTB 56* ( S66M164*),      BVC 82* ( 66M204*)      BYC 40* ( 66M173*),,     CKJ 76* ( 66M40*),      CKM 34* ( 66M54*),      CKM 92* ( 66M116*),     CXL 71* ( 66M153*),     ;DME 15* ( 26M84*),      DTW 22* ( 66M184*)  and click here turn music down !      EJ 480*  ( 66M162*,     FV 781* ( 66M202*),       FT 393* ( 66M203*),      GL 354*  ( 66M173*),      JB 393* ( 66M783*),       NJ 963* ( 66M.... 1936 9),      VD 749*  ( 66M282*),       VY 872* ( 66M204*),       YS 793*  ( 66M155*),     69* YUB ( 66M191*),      YXG 54* ( 26M491* 1936  9),

1937 9 hp cars:-        DKJ 97*  ( 67M251*),

1936 12/4cars:-     ASL 68*  ( Chassis number 26M429*),      BFG 20* ( 66M466*,      BHA 48* ( 26M312*),     BLJ 56* ( 26M277*),      BK 87* ( 26M434*,      CXF 14* ( 26M468*),      CXF 14* ( 26M468*,      CXW 83* ( S26M444*),      CXU 85* ( 26M455*),      DAE 73* ( 26M490*),      DI 182* ( 26M403*),      DPE 16* ( 26M328*),      DPC 70* ( 26M282*),* see VD below ???),        ???  ( 66M358*,      VD 622*  ( 66M164* 1936 12/4 9), 

1937 12/4 cars:-       AV 892* ( S67M276*)       

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