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29th Jun, 2022

Riley cars display celebrates inaugural journey from Coventry to Stratford

Ashleigh Osborne 19th Apr, 2022 Updated: 19th Apr, 2022

THEY’RE revving up at Bell Court in Stratford to commemorate a very special journey.

Motoring history will be coming to the centre with a number of Riley cars – including a replica of the fim’s very first model, the Riley Voiturette from 1898 – on show over the May Bank Holiday weekend from April 30 to May 2.

The Riley Voiturette’s first ever journey was a three hour return trip from Coventry to Stratford in the year it was made.

The display, which is a new feature of this year’s Stratford Festival of Motoring, will also tell the story of the Coventry car manufacturer.

Eighty-six-year-old Victor Riley, the grandson of the company’s founder William Riley, will also be on hand to answer questions and share his stories of the family business.

It was Victor Riley’s father – also called Victor – and his uncle Percy who drove to Stratford in 1898.

And it will be a replica of that car which will share the stage with six Riley models from across the decades.

Victor said: “When my father used to tell this story, he freely admitted to breaking the speed limit, which was only about 12 mph, because there was no one about in those days.

“The Riley car was never mass-produced, it was built by craftsmen and it had an elegance in its design that made it that little bit different. It also enjoyed huge motorsport success which excited crowds all over Europe. To sum up you could say it was for the discerning buyer.

“I think my uncle Percy, if asked how is it that these old cars are still going, would say ‘well, we built them properly!’ He wouldn’t be at all surprised that they are still running.”

Rich Jones, centre manager of Bell Court, said was looking forward to exhibition.

He added: “The archive is part of the area’s history and heritage and it seemed very fitting to be able to bring the vehicle back to Stratford which is where the vehicles’ first journey was made.”

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