1951 Riley RMB

Riley RMB Chassis Work

Unfortunately our Riley RMB chassis is suffering badly with internal rust and corrosion building up. On the surface it looks to be in a relatively

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Riley Problem Solving

Currently, we’re doing a lot of research into our 1951 Riley as the restoration of it will need a lot of multi-trade skills from woodwork

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Riley Burning

Pricey has been burning off leftover under-sealer and old paint before it goes to sandblasting. He then scrapes it off so that as little is

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1951 Riley Disassembly

We’ve started on the restoration on our Riley which is in for body refurbishment and paint. Currently the fabrication bay have taken the body from

Read More »

The Grindstone – Rust Removal On The 1951 Riley RMB

Our amazing technician Lydia has been hard at work removing the rust build-up on the wings of the 1951 Riley RMB with us here at Bridge Classic Cars for restoration.

Lydia carefully removed any rust from the material using both power and hand tools where necessary to avoid putting any extra heat or force into the panels which could cause unnecessary movement or warp in these handcrafted pieces.

This part of the restoration is taking place alongside the main bodywork being undertaken by our in-house fabricator James.

As you can see, Lydia has done an amazing job at complimenting the lines and craftsmanship put into this restoration by the team here at Bridge Classic Cars.

The Story Continues – Diving Deep Inside the 1951 Riley RMB

Since we have sent the Riley’s frame away to be dipped, we started work on the body.

We have begun to go far deeper into the 1951 Riley RMB that we have in with us here at Bridge Classic Cars. Our in-house technicians knew that the car was in very rough shape to begin with but the extent of the decay is only coming to light the more layers we peel away on this car.

But, fear not. Everything is fixable with the right skillset. Which thankfully our in-house fabricator James has in spades.

What he has uncovered on the Riley RMB is a series of cut corners to say the least. These were common place years ago but not something that would preserve the longevity of the car, which is what we at Bridge Classic Cars pride ourselves on.

James carefully undid and unwrapped the layers of porous metal that had been fixed one over another to make sure that he, and the other master fabricators that we have, could get at the root cause. This will need to be done before any work can be started on the handmade wooden frames that make up the roof structure, which have unfortunately perished through the many years this car had been enjoyed.

The other issue that the Riley has presented us with is the lack of datum points to create the handmade templates needed for each part. No bracket, panel or edge were symetrical side to side. Each had variations in side, depth and thickness to some lesser or sometimes extreme degree. No problem for our team, just careful removal and methodical approaches to each challenge that a restoration brings.

But that is in essence what we do with vehicle restorations here at Bridge Classic Cars, give new life to classic cars so that they can be enjoyed not just for prosperities sake but for enthusiasts for generations to come.

From the Ground Up – Restoring the frame on a 1951 Riley RMB

To achieve the best results with a restoration, every component must be given the same outstanding care and attention. It is vital that for great things to be built, the foundations must be strong.

This rings true with the 1951 Riley RMB we are painstakingly restoring in-house here at Bridge Classic Cars. As much attention has been given to the foundations of this beautiful classic as has been awarded to its flowing, classic bodywork being lovingly restored by our talented metalworking craftsmen. The frame had been sent out for media blasting to uncover and inspect any faults or deviations to this now 70-year-old frame. On the whole, the results were positive as to what returned from its careful strip down.

However, on closer inspection by our in-house team at Bridge Classic Cars, we found a couple of areas that we were not happy to leave be. So, for that, the decision was made to send the entire frame out to be dipped. The reason for this degree of investigation is to further expose any areas that would need attention and sympathetic repair befitting a classic car of this rarity and style.

Traditional Techniques for our Riley

James is hard at work in our Fabrication shop, working on our 1951 Riley RMB. As part of the front wing fabrication James has built a custom tool to create front wing support/stay. These beautiful hand-crafted vehicles require such skill and precision to achieve the perfect finish. Superb work, James.

Grinding away that surface corrosion

Lydia has been helping with the progress of the 1951 Riley RMB. There was surface corrosion on the inside of one of the original wings round the edges of the spot welds done by James. Lydia did this with various-sized grinding attachments on a drill. A small step in the process, but a vital one, nonetheless, since we don’t want that surface corrosion getting worse or showing through the paint when it goes into that stage.

Riley RMB Chassis Work

Unfortunately our Riley RMB chassis is suffering badly with internal rust and corrosion building up. On the surface it looks to be in a relatively solid state but when tipped up on one end large clumps of rust falls out.

This is a bit unexpected but most certainly needs to be addressed.

Having discussed the matter with the Riley’s owner we have decided to chemically dip the chassis. The chemical dip process works very well on cars and chassis’ and will remove paint, rust and underseal from complete car shells or individual panels. Its chemical formulation strips away contaminants from all internal and external areas.

James has also been fabricating the new strengthening panels on the chassis and subframe.

The repair process of a Riley chassis…

After coming back from the sandblasters, the chassis of the 1951 yellow Riley RMB is looking a little corroded so James is going to have to repair these sections. Lydia has begun the process by making cardboard templates of these parts, cutting where necessary to get the shaping right. These templates will be used by James to mark out around on the new metal. The original corroded metal will be removed and the new will be welded into place.

Repair work on the Riley.

James has been continuing his work on the yellow 1951 Riley. The air vent for the second panel was sandblasted last week, so could be welded into its new surrounding. James then used the finished one to determine how much metal to trim off the end. Back in July, he had to do some welding repair work on the left-hand wing. He’s now repaired the other wing. The subframe came back from the sandblasters and showed how much corrosion there was. James has started to make cardboard templates for the parts that need replacing, to mark out new pieces of metal for fabrication.

Small update on the Riley.

Here’s an update on the 1951 Riley RMB for you. It was found that there was hidden corrosion in between the layers of metal on one of the air vents. In order to get to this, James drilled through the spot welds and eased the metal apart. Lydia then went about sandblasting the main piece of the air vent to remove the corrosion and paint. She also removed existing layers of paint off the side and back of the body shell of the Riley.

Finishing the wing on the Riley!

James has been doing some more work on one of the wings of our 1951 yellow Riley RMB.

He’s been finishing by welding in the wire rolled edge of the left-hand wing and repairing a section at the front.

Repairs for the wings of the Riley!

James has been repairing the left-hand front wing on our 1951 yellow Riley. There were sections of corrosion, so he fabricated new sections where these were present. It was more efficient for James to replace large sections than lots of small sections.

He’ll be doing exactly the same method for the right-hand front wing next.

Shaping fresh air into Riley!

James has been getting on with making a pair of new air vent panels for the 1951 Riley! The original ones were heavily corroded, so it was easier and more efficient for him to make brand new ones…

They provide fresh air into the car, before air conditioning was around!

The new air vent panels were hand formed by James, using traditional methods. He started by making a wooden former and then cut a piece of sheet metal. He used the wooden former and a dolly to stretch and hammer the metal curve into shape. The original vent mechanisms were used. They were welded into the metal panels and coated with sink spray between the surfaces. The new air vent panels will be left plain until the running boards are sorted and both them and the new air vents are back on the car.

Lydia has also been continuing to paint strip panels to get rid of the existing layers of paint.

Riley Back From The Sandblasters

We’ve just received the chassis to our yellow 1951 Riley back from the sandblasters. With all the rust off, we can now start to build it back up.

Riley visitor to Bridge HQ

Today we had a visit from John Pettifer who used to own our yellow 1951 Riley RMB currently in restoration.

John bought her from his wife’s uncle Peter Kearns who was the town sergeant in the police force in Steyning Sussex who had owned the Riley since 1960.

40 years later and in the year 2000 she was passed to John and his wife who parted with the RMB in 2005.

Peter was also the South of England Director and Secretary of the Riley Motor Club.

Thank you John for calling in and thank you for bringing with you these amazing images.

Riley Problem Solving

Currently, we’re doing a lot of research into our 1951 Riley as the restoration of it will need a lot of multi-trade skills from woodwork to metalwork. Lydia has been cleaning off the glue and paint from the panels.

Once we’ve got the detail blueprints back, we can start to measure up the new parts and make them.

Riley Burning

Pricey has been burning off leftover under-sealer and old paint before it goes to sandblasting. He then scrapes it off so that as little is left as possible.

1951 Riley Disassembly

We’ve started on the restoration on our Riley which is in for body refurbishment and paint. Currently the fabrication bay have taken the body from the chassis and started to strip the wooden frame. Once everything has been stripped and refurbished, we will then endeavour to repaint the body.