Fewer still can say the first car they owned was one of them.
I’m not talking about a garden variety Ford or Holden either, but a little known British marque that has not been seen here for more than 50 years.
As a motoring scribe I was tickled pink to discover my old man’s first car was in fact a Riley sports car.
How cool is that?
Kevin bought the car at age 19 from a girl in Goulburn for £90, with the money he’d saved as a professional singer and performer.
My father, I should explain, was a man who changed cars almost as frequently as he changed his undies.
As a child I have fond memories of an endless stream of second hand treasures that graced our driveway, my earlier memories being of a huge slope-backed Peugeot.
I guess my father’s love of cars must have rubbed off on me.
Kev has fond memories of his 1929 two-seater Riley 9 Tourer which featured a pop-up ‘‘dickey’’ seat.
There’s a couple of stories that go with the car too, like the time he rescued his then girlfriend from falling out of the car when he managed to grab her hair as the door swung open in a corner.
Or how about the time the car caught fire in the middle of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The first Riley automobile, a small voiturette with a single-cylinder engine, was made in Coventry, England in 1898.
Production however didn’t begin until about 1905.
Riley automobiles were marketed under the banner ‘‘as old as the industry, as modern as the hour”.
Percy Riley, who was responsible for the first Riley, patented many engineering features later incorporated by other manufacturers, as well as designing the famous Riley ’9’ engine first seen in 1926.
He also patented the detachable wheel used universally today that meant in the event of a puncture, the wheel could be changed for a spare – in the early days of motor transport wheels were a permanent fixture.
The wheel caught on quickly and Rolls-Royce took out a licence to manufacture it, along with at least eight other manufacturers.