The Ransley Riley MkI
What started life as a family 1935 Riley Kestrel saloon car became a racer of some note in 1949 – and this Riley special is still a regular competitor at classic meetings throughout the South Island
he Ransley Riley’s origin as a racing car came about due to a set of bizarre circumstances. The story passed down refers to the day that Don Ransley was driving to Dunedin at the end of 1947 in a post war 2.5-litre Riley. During that trip he was passed by a pre-war Riley Kestrel saloon. Not at all amused by this, he gave chase but struggled to keep up. However, when the Kestrel eventually stopped Don was quick to strike up a conversation with the driver. The end result was that he purchased the car.
The Kestrel, a 1935 six-cylinder aero-saloon (chassis number 44T2403), had originally been built to the order of an American owner who had requested “high performance”. At that time Riley dyno-tested their engines and any that performed beyond normal expectations were singled out for special purposes. The car ordered by that American eventually ended up in New Zealand and it is now known now as the Ransley Riley MkI.
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