The first Riley sports car to use the Nine engine was surprisingly not built by Riley, but the inspiration from the great J. Parry Thomas, soon to be tragically killed while attempting to break the Land Speed Record in “Babs” at Pendine Sands in March 1927.
The project was picked up by Reid Railton, the first few ‘Riley Brooklands Speed Models’ being built by Thomson and Taylor.
Driven by Railton, the new racing car won its first race at Brooklands in the Autumn meeting of 1927 at 91.37mph, astonishing for an 1100cc car. Many Brooklands Class G records were established in 1928, including the 500 miles at a respectable 87.09mph. Capable of 80mph in standard form, the ‘Brooklands’ in essence was created from a standard Nine chassis which was double cranked, shortened by fifteen inches, narrowed at the back, with underslung rear springs, in line with the frame. The bodywork was so low that when measured, the radiator cowl was only 36 inches from the ground, or 4 inches less than the roof height of a 1960s Le Mans Ford GT40! The prototype had a fabric body and was believed to weigh about 1,120 lbs, Coventry-built production versions arriving at 1,680 lbs with a road-equipped price of £395.