Wanted: details of a maroon and rare Riley Riviera in Portsmouth

Mike North is researching a lost collection of cars made by a company based in Salisbury, Andover and Winchester in the early 1960s.

Monday, 8th May 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:39 pm
A Riley Riviera  do you know of one that existed, or might still exist, in the Portsmouth area? Below an article from Autocar in the 1960s featuring the car

Its was Wessex Motors and it was a licensed dealer for BMC cars, which produced Austin, Morris, Riley, Wolseley and Vanden Plas models.

Mike says: ‘Wessex Motors would take delivery of a standard Riley 4/68 or 4/72 model (primarily the same shape as an Austin Cambridge or Morris Oxford), make modifications like adding wire wheels, reprofiling the rear wings and extra spotlights, along with replacing the standard engine with an MGA modified one to give the cars higher performance.

‘It rebadged these cars as either a Riley Riviera or a Riley Silhouette.’

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An Autocar article from the 1960s

Mike says BMC was told Wessex were modifying the cars without permission and threatened to revoke its licence to sell its cars and the project was shelved.

He adds: ‘However, it is rumoured about 20 examples were completed and sold in the Hampshire/Wiltshire area. Only three cars’ whereabouts are known. Recently, it was discovered one was sold and was still being used in the Portsmouth area until the late 1970s.

‘I would love to track the history of this particular car. I don’t know the registration, just that the car was probably maroon.’

The Autocar article from the 1960s
An Autocar article from the 1960s
The Autocar article from the 1960s