Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Victor Riley

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1904.

(William) Victor Riley (1876-1958)

1876 Born in Coventry, the son of William Riley, (Junior) and his wife Emma

1901 Living at Holly Bank, Radford Road, Coventry with parents, aged 25, a Cycle Works Manager [1]

1912 With 3 of his brothers, all interested in the business opportunities in making cars, Victor set up a new company, Riley Motor Manufacturing Co in Aldbourne Road, Coventry. It took on the production of the existing two Riley cars and introduced a third one which was exhibited at the London Motor Show in 1913

1936 Acquired Armstrong, Stevens and Son Ltd from Sheffield Steel Products with John Harper Bean; they then sold shares to the public[2].

1937 Victor Riley felt that big cars spelt big profits, and had established a new company called Autovia earlier that year to build a top-of-the-range 24hp, V8-engined saloon and limousine that even tilted at Rolls-Royce's exalted position in the marketplace.

In February 1938 Autovia went bust.

1938 Riley was in financial difficulties; Victor appealed to Lord Nuffield to buy the company, which he did for about £143,000 and then sold onto Morris Motors for a nominal £100[3]

1947 Retired from the managing directorship of Riley


1958 Obituary (abbreviated)[4]

William Victor Riley aged 82 the son of William Riley who founded the Riley Motor Company. He held the position of Managing Director until his retirement in 1947 and retained a directorship of Beans Industries. In 1934 he married Dorothy Champney, a well-known competitor in motor competitions and he leaves a son and a daughter.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1901 Census
  2. The Times, 29 July 1936
  3. The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Feb 11, 1958
  4. The Times of Tuesday, Feb 11, 1958
  • Biography of the Riley family, ODNB