Riley Elf (1961 – 1969) Review

Riley Elf (1961 – 1969) At A Glance


+Well-appointed Mini with more boot and under-bonnet room

-Killed before its time

Continuing Riley’s adventures in badge engineering was the Elf of 1961 to 1969. It looked like a Mini with a boot (nicknamed the Riley Shelf), with its extended rump framed by a pair of fins and an old school Riley front end fitted. The Riley version boasted the best dashboard and interior appointments, and the twin-carburettor engine.

The Elf MkII was introduced in 1963 and made use of the larger 998cc A-Series engine and interconnected Hydrolastic suspension from 1964 and the MkIII introduced winding windows, better ventilation and a remote-control gearbox. Despite selling well, the Elf was discontinued when British Leyland killed off Riley in the first round of marque rationalisation.

Ask Honest John

I own a Riley Elf and MG Midget - which one do you think will have a higher future value?

"I have a 1968 Riley Elf and a 1972 MG Midget. Both are used weekly and are in fair condition. I'd like to sell one, but don't no which one will go up in value the most over the next 10 years."
Classic car values are impossible to predict. One one hand, both cars' values might increase at pretty similar rates - on another, an Elf might get used in a big TV series and see prices rocket (think what Life on Mars did for Mk3 Cortina values). If you want to try and be practical about it, make an honest assessment of your cars (or have a local garage do it). What bodywork issues are likely to face over the next ten years? Or will one need an engine rebuild? I imagine parts and running costs for both cars are similar, but if one model looks like it will need a full restoration then that's going to be an expensive bill... unless you're handy with a MiG welder. An optimist could say that the 'Mini with a boot' Riley Elf is due to have its day soon, while on the other hand you could say that values have already peaked. I know they're both very different animals, but (assuming they both get a clean of health) I'd just stick with the car that means the most to you and that you enjoy driving.
Answered by Keith Moody
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