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Riley: The Legendary RMs Hardcover – 25 Jul 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: The Crowood Press Ltd (25 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861267614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861267610
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 2.5 x 25.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 220,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John Price Williams is a journalist who has been on the staff of national newspapers and the BBC. He has written several books on classic cars and contributes to motoring magazines. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers.

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. H. Cartwright VINE VOICE on 13 Jan 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you want to acquire a book on Riley Motor's post-war cars (known now though not at the time as the RM-series) there is a choice of two. The first choice would be James Taylor's "Riley RM-Series" published by Motor Racing Publications in 1990 (ISBN 0-947981-36-5). This is now out of print but at least one Amazon re-seller currently (January 2007) has a copy. This earlier book does not even figure in the bibliography in this new book by John Price Williams.

Taylor's earlier book is more comprehensive, particularly on the drophead and roadster models and specialised coachwork on Riley chassis. However, if you do have space for a second RM book this would be a worthwhile addition to your library. It is also considerably cheaper than the earlier book (particularly at Amazon's price).

The author has an easy style and it's very readable. There is of course a fair amount of overlapping information with the earlier book but there are quite a few nuggets of new information, particularly on the Riley Pathfinder of 1953, potentially an excellent car ruined by inadequate development and testing. It's also more informative on the rallying and record-breaking exploits of these cars and their drivers.

There is an excellent selection of photographs, worth the price of the book alone in my view. Quite a few of the illustrations are in colour.

There is one new piece of information that I would query. On page 52, the author states that the 2½-litre "Big Four" engine was developed in 1937 "based on the Bentley 3-litre engine of 80mm x 140mm that the factory had bought and stripped for development purposes". Frankly, I find this incredible - the two engines have very little in common apart from being long-stroke four-cylinders.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Martin A on 11 Nov 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this book, as a life-long Riley fan. When I was a little lad in the early 50's, my dad drove a delapidated 1936 Riley Nine Kestrel. I watched at weekends as he worked on it, to keep it in running order. On my daily walk to school, I greatly admired two shiny new RM Rileys of well-to-do neighbours. I remember, as a nine-year old, reading reviews of the Pathfinder, in my dad's copies of Motor and Autocar. Today, from time to time, I have the pleasure of seeing some of the many lovingly cared-for Rileys that still exist.

The book is packed with information that I found fascinating - detail about the cars and anecdotes illustrating the chaos of the British motor industry of the 1950's.

About ten years ago, I bought and avidly read "Riley RM Series" by James Taylor, which I greatly enjoyed. "The Legendary RMs" covers, inevitably, much the same ground as the book by James Taylor - although the two books are, in many ways, complementary and reading them both gives a fuller overall picture.

The overlap between the two books is illustrated by some of the chapter headings. To give some examples:

"The Legendary RMs" by John Price Williams
ch 5. Major improvements and Abingdon
ch 6. The roadster and the drophead coupé
ch 9. The Pathfinder
ch 11. Sporting success
ch 12. Buying, maintaining, restoring

"Riley RM-Series" by James Taylor
ch 5. Saloons from Abingdon
ch 6. The Dropheads
ch 10. The Pathfinder
ch 11. RM Rileys in competition
ch 12. The RM Rileys today Purchase, restoration and maintenance

The similarities between the books are so striking that someone might think that one of the books had been derived from the other.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Moddey Dhoo on 3 Feb 2010
Format: Hardcover
15 years separate this book from James Taylor's `Riley RM Series' and, given both are histories of a range first produced in the late 1940s, there shouldn't be too much new that has been discovered between 1990 and 2005. I noticed that Taylor had more on the special-bodied RMs, in particular the `woodie' estate cars, and this book has more on other styles, as well as a bit more on the Pathfinder (indeed, the more sympathetic tone towards the design of this traditionally rather maligned latter model prompted me to buy its designer's short but interesting autobiography, Auto - Architect: The Autobiography of Gerald Palmer (1911-1999)).

John Price Williams, like Taylor, has an easy prose style which makes this a book one can read from cover to cover as well as dipping in and out for reference. The book is well illustrated with, unlike the earlier book, a section of colour plates.

As someone who does not own but has always admired these beautiful sporting saloons, the finer technical points of difference between the two books perhaps mean less to me than they might to the dedicated owner-enthusiast, but I am nonetheless happy that both books sit alongside each other on my shelf. (As an aside, if you can get hold of a copy, I would also recommend Price Williams' `Alvis: The Postwar Cars'.)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Filled With Pertinent RM Facts 5 Aug 2008
By Alan W. Jackson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book contains more information about the Riley RM series than any I have found previously. Good historical accounts of the company and the Riley cars with useful and interesting photos and illustrations. Also good statistics regarding production figures and good technical descriptions of advances in technology over the years. Recommneded reading for anyone interested in learning more about the Riley RM.
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