1933 Riley 9 Falcon
Date of first registration: 29/07/1933
Chassis Number: 6022345
Registration: AAE 32
The Falcon was introduced in 1933 alongside the Kestrel and can be seen as a lower, sportier version of the Monaco saloon. The main difference visually can be seen at the rear where the luggage compartment extension was removed for a continuous near vertical slope and wide, twin windows are fitted. An interesting feature on the early examples were the Roofdoors, a patented Riley system whereby a section of the roof above the doors worked as a hatch that hinged upwards when the door opened. This allowed easier access into the lowered bodywork without having to bend down. This system was also available on the Lincock model. As novel as the system seemed however, it was discovered that it weakened the overall structure of the roof and so was removed early in the production run and conventional doors fitted along with a sunroof. The 9 Falcon was also unique in that it didn’t have winding windows, they are instead lift up. Despite the sportier design and radical features the model did not prove to be a success with only around 100 being built, perhaps bridging too small a gap between the practical Monaco and sportier Kestrel. A rebodied model was offered in 1934 that saw even less success and the model was withdrawn until it was relaunched in 12/4 form.
This particular car is one only six 9hp Falcons known to survive and has belonged to its current owner since 1971 who used it regularly locally and abroad until it was hit by a lorry in 1985. Since then the car has been off the road with the owner carrying out a slow restoration of the car. After retiring 10 years ago the restoration gained pace and the car has only recently returned to the road looking as it did before the crash. The owner carried out the restoration largely by himself with pictoral record documenting the process.
The car was dismantled right back to chassis and the body was deskinned with almost all of the ash frame replaced apart from a few pieces that were in good order. The aluminium body was reskinned with doors from another Falcon sourced to replace the crushed sections of the driver side doors. The restoration has gathered pace since the owner retired 10 years ago and the car has now been reassembled with a rebuilt engine. The owner has begun running the car in, covering 75 miles so far and tightening the head down twice in that distance.
The car presents well in black paint with cream wheels and is an attractive alternative to a Monaco with running boards integrated into the doors, flat rear end and wide twin rear windows. The brown interior has been fully retrimmed with good headroom despite the lower bodyline. On the dashboard the Hobson’s telegauge has been replaced with a more reliable digital version. All other gauges are correct. The owner has also provided a complete wiring diagram for the car.
The car is powered by a Riley 9 engine with twin SU carburettors and mated to an all helical gearbox. The car drives well but as described above is still in its running in stage and will require gentle driving for a few hundred more miles. Once run in however this will be a spritely and fun car to drive.
A rare opportunity to acquire one of these early Falcons with only six remaining and not all of them in the UK!