When Gordon and I arrive at Paisley on Wednesday afternoon, bright and breezy (well, breezy – we’re aboard our Riley WD Tourer!) after our 300-mile run from the morning Start at John O’ Groats, we will feel particularly honoured when we catch sight of the tall, distinguished figure of Victor Riley, the living link with the original Riley Motor Company of Coventry. Victor, who was born into the family company and began his career with the marque, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the firm, its personalities and the wide range of sporting cars it produced, setting the pace nationally and internationally in performance and style.
Of course, the original Riley family firm is long gone, and the last Riley-badged car (the “Mini with a boot” Riley Elf) rolled off the British Motor Corporation’s production line in 1969, but the name and the reputation of Riley cars is still famous, around the world, thanks to the excellence of the cars and their record of sporting achievements. Victor – at a time in his life when many expect to put their feet up – continues to bestride the world, visiting and celebrating the achievements of Riley Clubs and Riley owners across the continents, and maintaining contact with BMW, who now own the Riley marque. He will be with us, among many Scottish Riley Enthusiasts, to flag our Riley off from the Monte Carlo Rally Ramp, in the lee of magnificent Paisley Abbey, at around 6 pm on Wednesday 27th January. I’m sure that it will be a thrill for him to see a car produced by his family, 85 years ago – and it will be a thrill for our team, to see the hard work which has gone into preparation of our Monte Carlo Rallye Classique entry acknowledged by the man whose name is emblazoned on the famous Blue Diamond which tops our Riley’s radiator grille.
Thank you, Victor, for coming many miles to Scotland and to Paisley to be with us.