29th Nov, 2023 13:00

Pavilion Gardens | Buxton, Derbyshire

  Lot 47

1959 Riley 2.6 Saloon


(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: 698 EHT
Chassis No: UAUT12306
MOT: September 2024

  • Believed to be just one of some twelve 2.6 cars left on the road
  • Subject to an extensive restoration by Bob Hodgkins of Rileys Revived
  • Offered with an operation manual plus original sales brochure
  • A very late example

The Riley Pathfinder that replaced the company's venerable RMF model in 1953 is generally regarded as the last proper example of the marque. In common with the visually similar Wolseley 6/90, it had been designed for the Nuffield Organisation before the merger with BMC, and was powered by Riley's own twin-cam four-cylinder engine. Some 5,536 examples were manufactured before the model was superseded by the 2.6 in 1956. Clearly from the same mould, the newcomer's beating heart was, however, no longer a Riley engine, but the BMC C-Series straight-six unit of 2639cc (hence the car's name), the output of which was 101bhp. The external differences between old and new bodies were few, the most obvious being that while the Pathfinder's radiator grille had lifted with the bonnet, that of the 2.6 was fixed. As befitted the trend, there was now a choice of both monotone and duotone paint schemes - the latter being facilitated by a chrome strip along the waistline. The model was short-lived, and replaced by the 4/68 in 1959 after just 2,000 had left the factory. Good examples are not surprisingly now hard to find. Even in its original production, the 2.6 (Two Point Six) stood as an exceptionally exclusive vehicle, with only 2,000 units ever made. The coachwork is arguably among the most elegant designs of the 1950s, meticulously crafted by Gerald Palmer and featuring subtle hints of the Lancia Aurelia Berlina and more overt styling cues from the 1948 Bentley Cresta, designed by Pininfarina and bodied by Facel.

First registered on the 1st April, 1959. Previous keeper Royston Nowell of Bristol, this example is believed to be just one of some twelve 2.6 cars left on the road.

From a letter to the vendor from Bernard Peal of the Riley Motor Club –

Very little is known about the early life of ‘698 EHT’ other than its first owner was Mr Ernest Hunt, who resided in Portishead, Bristol. The car was discovered by Mike Stanton several years ago. After a bit of detective work, the owner was traced, a deal was struck with Bob Hodgkins of Rileys Revived in the West Midlands to rescue what was left of the car. Apparently had it been left in a lock up garage in Bristol from about 1974 until it was extracted by Bob a few years ago.

The car is a very late example (chassis UAUT1/ 2304 - making it the 194th car from the end of production) and was first registered in April 1959, although we believe it left the Cowley factory on 28th January 1959. The duo colour scheme is Shannon and Leaf Green and the interior was also (originally – Ed.) in duotone Green with Green carpet. Once fully restored, this will be the youngest 2.6 on the road. There are only two other cars.…with higher chassis numbers; one is in Wales and the other is in the Republic of Ireland, but both of these will probably never see the light of day again. I was so pleased to learn it is going to a good home, knowing that it will be maintained perfectly and with your renowned attention to detail, it will ultimately resemble a car that came straight out of the Riley dealership in 1959!

In recent years, purchased from the aforementioned Bob Hodgkins of Rileys Revived, at the time the car was described as having had a ‘full engine overhaul’ and rebore, which included new .020" pistons, a crank regrind and new shells, new valves, new timing chain, tensioner and water pump, oil pressure relief valve, cam followers and clutch. In addition the gearbox benefitted from new input and output gearbox seals, Front bearing and gear linkages fettled.

Externally there was also a ‘full body restoration' by Bob Hodgkins, a re-chromed front bumper and aluminium sill covers were forwarded post-restoration. whilst internally receiving a new headlining, door cards, carpets, recovered seats in 2 tone leather, re-veneered dashboard, new boot carpet and liner. In 2022 new cross-ply tyres and new inner tubes were sourced at a cost in excess of £700. In a move to make the use of the car more reliable in modern use, in July, 2023 the 2.6 gained an electric washer pump and an electric cooling fan. Early 2023 saw the 2.6 received a clutch slave and master cylinder kit, a gear change rubber, front hub seals and a radiator thermostat, bumper overrider beading, contact points, headlamp to body gaskets, an ignition coil and condenser, starter and dynamo brushes, a carb service kit, radiator hoses, rev counter and speedo cables and a fan belt.

The 2.6 is being offered with a file of documentation and correspondence, an operation manual, an original sales brochure, photographs of the restoration and a copy of the book ‘Wolsley Six-Ninety: A Super Profile’. Furthermore, the 2.6 is accompanied by a current MOT certificate, dated until 20th September, 2024.

For more information, please contact:
James McWilliam
07943 584760


Auction: Pavilion Gardens | Buxton, Derbyshire, 29th Nov, 2023

Established in 1993, H&H has sold some of the world's most significant motorcars and motorcycles over the past 30 years. Trusted by over 75,000 clients worldwide, we are the longest established auction house of our kind in Europe and the only one owned and managed by its employees. 

An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars to be held in the beautiful surrounds of the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire.  



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Tuesday 28th November 2023 from 12pm to 8pm
Wednesday 29th November 2023 from 9am

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