1938 Riley 16/4 Big Four Lynx Tourer


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1938 Riley 16/ 4 Big Four Lynx Tourer


Riley pinned high hopes on the new ‘Big Four’ 16hp ‘Blue Streak’ range introduced in 1937, as the anticipated success had not come about for the Riley 8/90 V8 and Autovia, which were introduced in the previous year.  


The new 16hp ‘Blue Streak’ range comprised the Kestrel Sports Saloon, Continental Touring Saloon and the Adelphi.  This range was fitted with the three-speed gear box with dual overdrive – making for relaxed, long distance touring.  


Also catalogued was this strikingly attractive Lynx 16/4 Four Seat Tourer – in fact, just one such 16/4 Lynx was built, which, retrospectively was unfortunate, as this powerful four seat open tourer would have rivalled such marques as Alvis, Talbot and the 2.3 litre MG SA series, should it have gone into production.  


This Riley 16/4 Lynx was reputedly capable of 100 mph, being lighter than its Saloon siblings, which was very impressive at the time, especially for a car in the 2.5 litre sector. 


Riley’s fortunes were suffering and with the clouds of war gathering and a challenging economy, the writing was on the wall for Riley and they were shortly to be acquired by Nuffield – so 16/4 Lynx didn’t make it into production.


The car has the most comprehensive history, dating from when it was initially registered by Riley Dealers Dobbs of Botley on the 25th March 1938, bearing the Hampshire registration BTR 408 and chassis number: 38LX1181. The car is also illustrated in David Styles tome  ‘As Old as the Industry’ on page 169.


Also included is a photograph of the first owner -  Commander Hector Dobbs, who used the car during the first few years of the war, covering some 11,000 miles before selling it to a Mr Rex Neate for £475.  Three further owners followed (we have photos of the car in the early 1960s being used on holiday).  At that time, she was owned by Margaruite Walden, who was the Coventry Area Secretary of the Riley Register.  The car is featured in a number of the Riley Register Bulletins, which are also included.


Time had taken its toll on the car and, by the late 1960s, it was in very poor condition but was rescued in 1972 by a gentleman who had realised he had found a unique and important car.  Fully documented and painstaking restoration then took place over many years with work finally being completed around 30 years ago.  This included the body frame being totally rebuilt – the work being substantiated by many photographs.  


In more recent times the car resided in the South West of England and benefited from much work by Blue Diamond Services.  It was then sold to a new owner in Switzerland before returning to the UK earlier this year.


We are pleased to offer this unique 1938 Riley 16/4 ‘Big Four’ Lynx.   She is presented in excellent condition having recently undergone a complete service and has the most comprehensive and carefully collated history. 


Sitting on new Blockley tyres, the car has fine maroon hide interior trim, recently replaced carpets, full tonneau and weather equipment.  


The design of this car allows for ample rear leg room and is larger overall than the more frequently seen 12/4 Lynx.  She truly is a comfortable Four seat tourer.  

On the road, the car is a delight with ample power and a feeling of precision.


Included in the impressively collated history file is the rare original instruction manual, ownership history from new, multiple MOT certificates dating back to the 1970s, Swiss Registration documents, significant hand-written notes attesting to the car’s history from previous owners.  There is a copy of a VSCC Buff form, restoration notes and full photographic evidence of the rebuild, including the ash frame replacement.


The car won the Clifford Stanley Trophy at The Riley Register Coventry Rally in 1995 (with photographs).  Also included are lovely photographs of the car being used on a Scottish Tour in 1993, where it won an award for the best Pre-War Riley on the event.  



In summary, this must be one of the most historically important Riley’s to appear on the open market.


(Will she fit in my garage? – Length 14ft 7in, Width 5ft 3in). 


For initial enquiries or to arrange a convenient time for a personal video walk round of this car, please call us on 01420-474919 or 07710-364945.  


Despite these difficult times, we are still busy with enquiries from both owners and buyers.  It’s right to plan for tomorrow and we are always happy to discuss your needs.


We are based in the Heart of the Hampshire in the Beautiful Meon Valley