Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Victor Riley

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(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


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