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Since 1890, Riley has been a British auto and bicycle manufacturer. In 1938, Riley joined the Nuffield Organization, and in 1968, it was combined with the British Leyland Motor Corporation. British Leyland said in July 1969 that Riley manufacturing would halt immediately, despite the fact that 1969 was a challenging year for the UK auto industry and that many of the vehicles in Riley's inventory may have been first registered in 1970.
The Riley trademark is currently held by BMW.


The company's original name was the Coventry, England-based Bonnick Cycle Company. William Riley Jr., who had interests in the textile industry, bought the firm in 1890 amid the pedal cycle craze that swept Britain towards the end of the 19th century. In 1896, he created a corporation to own it called The Riley Cycle firm Limited. Later, Sturmey Archer, a producer of bicycle gear, was included in the portfolio. Percy, Riley's middle child, graduated from high school the same year and quickly started experimenting with cars. At the age of 16, in 1898, he surreptitiously constructed his first automobile since his father disapproved. It had the first intake valve that was mechanically controlled. Percy Riley started building his first prototype four-wheeled quadricycle in 1899, switching from making motorcycles. Not much is known.

However, it is widely documented that the engine had manually controlled cylinder valves at a period when most engines relied on the descending piston's vacuum action to suction open the inlet valve(s). The courts were persuaded that the system used by British automakers was based on the one pioneered by Percy, which had comfortably anticipated equivalent developments in Germany. That was demonstrated a few years later when Benz developed and patented their own mechanically operated inlet valve process but were unable to collect royalties on their system from British companies. Riley only offered a single three-wheeled car for sale in 1900. Victor Riley, the older of the Riley brothers, focused his energy on the bicycle industry even though he supported his brother's fledgling auto business.

William Riley, the founder of Riley, remained adamantly opposed to converting the funds from his bicycle company into automobiles. As a result, in 1902, three of his sons—Victor, Percy, and younger brother Allan Riley—joined forces, borrowed money from their mother to make up the difference, and in 1903, they founded the independent Riley Engine Company, also in Coventry. After graduating from school a few years later, Stanley and Cecil Riley, the other two Riley brothers, joined their elder brothers in the company. At initially, the Riley Engine Company just provided engines for Riley motorcycles as well as to Singer, a nearby motorcycle manufacturer that was just getting started. However, the Riley Engine Company quickly turned its attention to four-wheeled autos. The Vee-Twin Tourer prototype they created in 1905 might be regarded as the first legitimate. The next year, the Riley Engine Company grew. William Riley changed his mind about his sons' desire for motorized vehicles, and Riley Cycle stopped making motorcycles in 1907 to concentrate on making cars. In 1911, bicycle manufacture also came to an end.

The detachable wheel had been invented (and patented) by Percy and distributed to over 180 motor manufacturers when William Riley focused the Riley Cycle Company in 1912 on becoming a supplier of wire-spoked wheels for the growing motor industry. By 1912, the father's business had also stopped making automobiles in order to focus capacity and resources on the wheels.
William Riley saw a commercial opportunity to capitalize on this brand-new, incredibly lucrative industry. However, after his motorbike and then automobile businesses, which had been the Riley Engine Company's primary clients, were abandoned, he was forced to reconsider the engine business.

Riley Model Range

Riley Motor Club › riley-model-range

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