1933 Riley 9 Special – Supercharged 1½ Litre


The Riley story began in the late 1800’s when industrialist William Riley began making cycles. It was William Riley’s sons who were fascinated by engines and indeed motor cars. The cycles became motor cycles and the Rileys also built and sold engines. In 1912 the Riley Cycle Company changed its name to Riley (Coventry) Limited to focus on the manufacture of wheels for the booming car industry. The attention soon turned to building cars, however, it was post the first World War that Riley really made its name in the car industry.

It was in 1926 that Riley introduced the Riley 9, a car that was to be the most popular early Riley produced with some 30,000 cars built over a ten year period. Many different models and body styles were built. Most were powered by a 1097cc four cylinder engine that was considered quite revolutionary in the day. Riley enjoyed significant success in motorsport throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s which further enhanced the reputation of these cars.

Oldtimer Australia is delighted offer a very unique and fabulous 1933 Riley 9 Special with a 1½ Litre Supercharged engine.

The chassis, suspension and brakes are from a Riley 9 but have been modified to handle the significantly enhanced performance of its 1.5 litre supercharged engine. The engine is fitted with a Rootes-type blower SC14. The body, styled on the Grebe 6 roadster, is coach built with aluminium panels over a timber frame. The Grebe 6 design was derived from a limited production factory racing TT Riley of 1933. Very few of the originals were built and examples are now highly sought after. That chassis, with half-elliptic springs and rigid axle front and rear, was based on the car prepared for the 1933 TT races.

This well presented and handsome sports racing car has excellent performance and road-handling. The unique Riley mechanical brakes are retained and work very efficiently. The coachwork was fabricated by Historic & Vintage Restorations of Melbourne and the frame built by the late Anton Walker of Geelong. The engine was prepared by Motor Improvements.

This car, one that the legendary Harry Firth commenced modifying as a competition car, underwent a total rebuild almost ten years ago and has had minimal use since. The current owner acquired the car some twelve months ago and engaged Melbourne based classic car specialists Historic & Vintage to make it a more usable classic.  The car was given a major service, the brakes overhauled and a number of safety improvements made.  The owner being 6’4” also instructed H&V to modify the car to allow him a more comfortable driving experience which included fitting a quick release steering wheel. In total $25,000 was recently spent on this car.

As you would expect given all of the recent work the car is mechanically ‘on the button’. It starts easily and soon settles into a smooth idle, though the engine and exhaust note certainly give this car an ‘edge’. It sounds incredible! The car is surprisingly easy to drive and whilst it would prefer to be out on the open road it is quite happy to burble along in traffic. The paintwork is in excellent condition (though there is the odd very minor stone chip evident), with a high gloss. All of the exterior trim and bright work are in excellent condition. The interior is ‘like new’ and all of the instruments are in working order.  This is pretty much like a ‘new car’!

Ready for driving, competition and much enjoyment, this car is understood to be eligible for a CAMS log book as a pre-war special as it meets all the relevant criteria to compete in the Group K category.

The car is accompanied by a reasonable history file with photographs of the cars build, numerous receipts for the recent works undertaken, a period tool kit and jack.

Unfortunately a change in circumstances have resulted in this spectacular little car now being offered for sale.



  • -
  • Riley 9
  • 1933
  • Sports
  • Manual
  • 71 miles
  • 1496cc


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