Driving report - Riley RMD Convertible

You don't expect a revelation from vintage cars from the 1950s in terms of chassis or handling; you can see that they have somewhat indirect steering and need a lot of corrections even when driving straight. Sure, there are sports cars from the time that are comparatively direct, but when you get into the black Riley 2.5 liter RMD convertible from 1950, you don't expect this. But as soon as the first crankshaft revs, you become suspicious as to whether it was really meant to be just a leisurely convertible. The left hand engages first gear, and with a bit of intermediate throttle, the gear change succeeds surprisingly well.

Off onto the road. You can immediately feel the large displacement, which provides for quite a brisk propulsion thanks to a direct throttle response. The 101 hp seem alert and sports car feeling comes up. The first bend comes, you automatically take the throttle out and expect a stronger rolling motion towards the outside of the bend - and then the Riley steers directly and surprisingly precisely into the bend. At the same time, it hardly tilts noticeably and conveys a pleasant feeling of safety. With increased confidence, you take aim at the next bends and immediately forget that you're sitting in a 70-year-old car. However, you are quickly reminded of this when you take your foot off the gas and apply the brakes. The drum brakes give their all, but you should give them enough room to decelerate the convertible.

Perplexed, you get out after the ride, unbelieving what this old Brit still achieves at his age. It's a pity that only 502 of them were built and that you never actually see any of them on the roads, especially in Germany. All the nicer, however, as a driver, when you can enjoy all the sympathetic looks and gestures that the Riley evokes in passers-by and other drivers.


All in all, it's a great car that can provide a lot of fun for experienced classic car enthusiasts as well as beginners. At the same time, it is surprisingly sporty and despite all the prejudices, it also runs as reliably as one would actually not believe an Englishman from the years.