It was only a little while after the launch of the original Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor in August 1959, that the popularity of these seminal cars spawned a number of variants, amongst which were the Wolseley Hornet and Riley Elf, which appeared in October 1961. These were more luxurious versions of the first Mini’s, featuring an elongated body, incorporating a ‘proper’ boot and mildly finned rear wings. They also had full size, chrome radiator grilles and other additional chrome embellishments. The mechanical specification of the cars was largely the same as the standard Minis, but the interiors received further up-market treatment with leather seating and wood veneer dashboards. The two models remained in production until 1969, by which time around 31,000 Elfs and 28,000 Hornets had been built.
The Riley Elf offered here was first registered, new, in Jersey in September 1969 – making it one of the last Series III vehicles, fitted with a 998 cc engine, rated at a claimed 38 bhp, with a claimed top speed of 77 mph. The Mark III also introduced wind-up windows and fresh-air fascia vents in the dashboard. This vehicle has remained in continued local use, in the hands of its last long-term owner since 2008. It has been maintained as a regular working, driving car, with some restoration and cosmetic work being carried out by the last owner. The recorded mileage is believed to be true – supported by a previous owner’s handwritten notebook record of maintenance and repair work between 1971 and 1986 and some subsequent service stickers in the car from 1998.