Riley 12/4 Sprite – 1936

One of the rarest and most sought after of 1930s British sports cars

One of the 55 Riley Sprite produced which ran the 1937 MCC Trial and the 1949 Lands and Trial
Entrant in seven editions of the Mille Miglia and winner of Coppa delle Dame in 2016
The car was extensively prepared for the Mille Miglia to achieve mechanical perfection yet leave the exterior unchanged, thereby preserving the well worn patina
Riley 12/4 Sprites have a technically advanced twin cam engine, a preselector gearbox and a tuned version of the 1.5 litre 4 cylinder engine
With a large files of datas and old original documentation
With Fiva certificate

The best of the series was the Sprite, which… had a distinctly lively performance up to its maximum of nearly 90mph…’ – John Stamford, ‘The Sports Car’, Batsford 1957.

In its ‘TT’ guise the Sprite winning the Ulster Tourist Trophy in both 1935 and 1936 with the legendary Freddie Dixon at the wheel, while there were numerous privateer successes at Brooklands and elsewhere.

Dixon’s winning car formed the basis for the production Sprite two-seater introduced at the 1935 Motor Show.

Clearly related to that of the existing Imp and MPH sports cars, the Sprite’s handsome streamlined bodywork was distinguished by a ‘fencer’s mask’ front grille.

The chassis was MPH based and under-slung at the rear, while there was a choice of either manual or Wilson pre-selector transmissions.

The Sprite was priced at £425 when launched and continued in production until 1938. Only 55 Riley Sprite were built.

The body was a two-seater roadster. The model had installed the engine of 12/4, namely a four-cylinder overhead valve from 1,496 cc displacement. Compared to the power unit of the12/4, this engine produced more power, 61 hp, 10 more than the original 51 hp, because it had installed two SU carburetors. Compared to the 12/4, the Sprite had a weight and smaller dimensions.

The model, sporty and elegant, could reach a top speed of 141 km / h.

 

ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC EXAMPLE

This Riley Sprite was produced the 16th. of July 1936 and the first recorded owner is Mr. Heaton in 1937 who owned the car till 1945, the next recorded owner is Mr. E. B. Kay who bought the car in 1947, it is believed that he kept the car until the mid-1970s. It passed then to the collector Mr. John Thomas Golderin in 1976, remaining in his ownership until 2003.
In 2003 the Riley was purchased by an Austrian actor, Mr. Klaus Wildbolz. He was well known for the TV Series Derrick Detective, which was produced between 1974 and 1998, Derrick is considered to be one of the most successful television programs in the German television history.

The car was sold in 2011 to Italy where it passed into the hands of an even more meticulous owner than the previous enthusiast, who performed various complementary works for the Riley and rebuilding the engine making a huge upgrade in the power of the Riley.
In 2018 the Riley was purchased by it’s current owner from Belgium where it is currently registered.

This extremely rare Riley is in generally very good technical condition. No costs are spared for the preparation of this car.

Since 2012 it has been used on a regular basis and successfully participated in the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 Mille Miglia.

The car was extensively prepared for the Mille Miglia to achieve mechanical perfection yet leave the exterior unchanged, thereby preserving the well worn patina.

The body of the Riley is absolutely amazing, it has a wonderful shape and lining, here and there it is possible to find a minor scratch or stone chip but this belongs to a car with a serious history.

The car comes with an impressive history file which includes invoices, a variety of photo albums from rallies including the Mille Miglia and extremely beautiful old photos of the car during its racing career and in the 1937 MCC Trial and the 1949 Lands and Trial.

We have driven a few rallies in this car ourselves and enjoyed the experience immensely.

Its rarity, but also its sporty and powerful appearance, make this vehicle a very good choice for a subscription in the Mille Miglia.


CONDITION INTERIOR

The beautiful interior features Brown leather seats, the car has been the subject of a considerable amount of work, both mechanical and structural but its interior has been left largely undisturbed so it still feels like a proper old car when you sit in it.
A beautiful patina that can never be achieved when an interior is renewed.

DRIVING EXPERIENCE

On the road it feels very taut and the car goes extremely well, there is no doubt its performance will put many other 1930’s cars including many sports cars of the period to shame.

When you compare the specification and sporting nature of Riley Sprites with many other 1930’s they really offer good value for a very stylish and quick motor car.

Riley Sprites 12/4 are extremely difficult to find, especially in such good driving condition as this one. The car is driving extremely well. The handling is just perfect and the car is rather fast.

It’s easy to drive, it’s reliable and easy to maintain. Other road users and pedestrians also love it; they come and talk to you about it and want to find out more.

This car is a very unique and rare appearance. It has a beautiful history since new and an amazing Mille Miglia story.

It is now waiting for a new owner who will continue the unique history of this car.

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Details

Price  485.000
Kilometers n/a
Color White
Transmission Manual
Body
Drive Type Rear
Engine 4 cylinder in-line 1.5L

Specifications

Year 1936
Make Riley
Model 12/4 Sprite
Seats 2
Doors 2
Drive Type Rear
Transmission Type Manual
Fuel Type [:en]Gasoline[:nl]Benzine[:de]Benzin
Engine Displacement (cc) 1500
Engine Type in-line
Engine (l) 1.5
Engine Cylinders 4
Country United Kingdom