2022 | London Auction
1934 Riley MPH Sports Two-Seater
£375,000 - £475,000| Without Reserve
44 T 2255
One of as Few as 16 Examples Built
Highly Documented by Riley Marque Historians
Eligible for a Wide Variety of Events
Engaging Presence with Distinctive Exhaust Note
Accompanied by Extensive History File
1,726 CC OHV Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Three SU Carburetors
Estimated 70 BHP at 4,800 RPM
4-Speed Preselector Gearbox
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes
Front Solid Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Rear Live Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Please note that this vehicle has entered the UK on a temporary import bond, which must be cancelled either by exporting the Lot outside the UK on an approved Bill of Lading with supporting customs documentation or by paying the applicable VAT and import duties to have the Lot remain in the UK. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Hector Dobbs, Botley, Southampton, UK (purchased new)
Arthur Dobson, UK
F.C. Clarke, Lewisham, UK (acquired in the late 1950s)
Peter Still, Somerset, UK (acquired in 1964)
Barry Pook (acquired in early 1969)
Roland Duce, Nottinghamshire, UK
Werner Oswald, UK
Chris Mann, London, UK (acquired from the above circa 1986)
Joseph Cyril Bamford (acquired circa 1986)
Eckhart Berg, Tönisvorst, Germany (acquired from the above in 1987)
Bill Roberts, Bainbridge Island, Washington (acquired in 1989)
David Cohen, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (acquired from the above)
Current Owner (acquired in 2008)
Temporary UK Import
See UK Registration/Import Status Guide in catalogue.
Established at the dawn of motoring and revered for its rakish and fast sports cars, Riley followed its victorious Brooklands Nine with the aptly named MPH, launched in prototype form at the 1934 Scottish Rally. One of the most beautiful prewar sports cars, the MPH bristled with advanced competition engineering, earning a formidable victory record despite low production, with as few as 16 examples built.
Built in October 1934, this well-known Riley MPH Sports Two-Seater, chassis 44 T 2255, is believed to have been owned new by Hector Dobbs, a Riley distributor in Southampton, UK and an innovative and highly successful racer. While the question of Dobbs’ early ownership of this MPH remains a topic of friendly debate among Riley historians, its Southampton County “OW 7925” registration is consistent with the location of Dobbs’ business premises. The car also includes several modifications reportedly favored by Dobbs, including deletion of the front torsion bar, Bowden cable-operated brakes, and lightened steering-box mount. According to the 1990-issued FIA papers for the Riley, Dobbs modified this car into his preferred offset single-seater body configuration and campaigned it with relative success, often at Brooklands. Arthur Dobson, another noted Riley racer in the 1930s, is listed as the next owner.
The Riley was eventually advertised for sale in the June 1954 issue of Motor Sport, pictured with a proper two-seater body. The first refurbishment was under Peter Still in the 1960s, including replacement of the damaged original engine. The MPH remained in England with a succession of owners until acquisition by Eckhart Berg of Germany in 1987, who had it restored, with Historic Vehicle Identity paperwork issued in 1990. Next, the MPH was purchased by American collector Bill Roberts, who had the mechanicals professionally serviced and sorted. Passing subsequently through David Cohen of West Vancouver, BC, Canada, the current owner acquired the MPH in August 2008.
Since the late 1980s, the Riley has been a regular entrant in numerous circuit races, road rallies, and long-distance touring events, including the California Classic Rally, Colorado Grand, Coppa d'Oro delle Dolomiti, Nürburgring Invitational (1988–1994), and the 1992 Historic Festival at Silverstone. As listed on the FIA papers, the MPH scored a 2nd Place podium at the 1989 AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix (at the Nürburgring). This well-known Riley is specifically discussed in the book As Old as the Industry: Riley, in which author David G. Styles opines that the car is an original MPH. While successful in many races and tours, it remains highly presentable with a lovely patina and adventurous character, ready for continued enjoyment. A historic sports car with outstanding provenance, it includes a wealth of documentation and correspondence. This Riley MPH offers a fabulous opportunity to acquire a superb example of an exceedingly rare and successful dual-purpose prewar British sports car.