top of page

Straight Out Of A Spy Novel

This is a 1937 Riley Sprite, of which only about 50 examples were made.

Not only is this car special because of the small production number, but also because of its history.


Its first owner was an editor of Autocar magazine in England. In 1938, Autocar published a very detailed article about the Riley Sprite and the journey it took through Europe and the Swiss Alps, driven by the editor's son.


The car was then sold to a man that shipped the car to America in 1939. This man was believed to be a British spy.



He drove the car across the US and was traveling through the deserts of Southern California when he died under suspicious circumstances in a wreck. He was traveling under an alias and after his death a worldwide investigation commenced. Among other things it was found that the man was enroute to meet with a commander in the New Zealand army.


The car was purchased by its next owner and taken to New York in the early 40's where the damages from the wreck were fixed and the engine was replaced by the famed engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, who would later go on to Corvette fame.


Flash forward to the 70's when the current owner purchased the Riley Sprite from a junk yard. The car has been in his ownership for the last 50 years. It had been separated from its original engine since the 40's until 3 years ago when unbelievably the engine was found for sale on Ebay and reunited with the car.



The car is now undergoing a full restoration including a engine rebuild at Driven Classics with the intent of showing it at the famed Pebble Beach concours.

16 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page