Is this the most travelled Riley ever?
I know many owners will say that their Riley has done far more miles than this one, but I doubt if there is another one that has actually travelled around the world as far. This Riley Pathfinder has done a few trips. It was built near Oxford in 1955 and then shipped to Australia. When Chris Gilbert decided that he wanted a Pathfinder to complete the Rally of a 1,000 Riley’s in 1996, this was the car he bought to do it in. Chris and his wife Wendy lived near Perth in Australia and following a complete engine and body rebuild and automatic gearbox conversion by Chris, they drove it from Madras overland to Coventry for the event and had quite a few adventures on the way. The car was then stuck in the UK for a while before Victor Riley was asked to help to get it back to Australia. It then became Wendy’s daily driver for a while. Some time later, Chris and Wendy retired to Tasmania, taking the Pathfinder with them. After Chris sadly passed away, the car was sent back to Perth to be looked after by Chris and Wendy’s daughter, Paula. When the car was put up for sale, I originally decided that as I already had about 8 of them I didn’t need another. This changed once I had heard the story of the car. I became convinced that it is historically important within the sphere of the Riley marque and should be preserved. So I bought the car late in 2019 but before I had managed to arrange shipping, the dreaded covid intervened! With help from Paula’s husband, we managed to get it put on a ship late in September and it was back in Southampton on the 29th of December, arriving at West Bromwich on Friday the 8th of January. Once back, we changed the lazy starter motor and put in 4 new plugs and the Pathfinder fired up almost instantly with no knocks, bangs or smoke. I now hope to find somewhere suitable to display the car with the full story of Chris and Wendy Gilbert’s adventurous journey. Bob Hodgkins