Christine is my beautiful Riley 4/72 Auto - colour Maroon “B”, registered DFB 640D on 1st May 1966 and delivered to her owner shortly after, in Bath, Avon.

She spent the first 30 years of her life in the Avon area, moving on to Northampton, Lincoln and then ended up in Stoke on Trent, entrusted to my love and care where she became "Christine"

I saw her on eBay in September 2009 while on holiday in Anglesey and it was love at first sight! Five (very long) days later, I won her for £2,200 and couldn't wait to get over to Conningsby, Lincolnshire to bring her home.

Although she was in very good condition when I bought her, there was, in my eyes, room for a small improvement on the bodywork; so without further ado I took her down to our workshop and instructed, er, told, brother George to give her a new "frock". (You have to get forceful with him every now and then, bless him, he keeps saying things like "customers", "paying", "earning a crust", I'm sure I don’t know what he means....)

Anyway, he worked his magic and 4 litres of two-Pac paint, some bright-work and 110 hours of labour later she rolled out of the workshop after 3 months. 

Christine looked a million dollars, resplendent in her new frock, ready to face the world and looking gorgeous.

The photos above show her 1st refurb, completed in July 2010 and we were on the field every chance I could get - a grand total of 4 shows between July and October the 12th.

Now there’s a day to remember, October 12th 2010. 1320hrs, the exact time a stupid, drunken women with no brains, got behind the wheel of her VW Golf.

She was 5 times over the drink-drive limit, (breathalised at 152 milligrams), on my side of the road doing around 40 mph, entering a sweeping left-hand bend. She lost control, bounced off the opposite grass verge and on her way back to her own side of the road, hit me dead centre with the right-hand wing of her car.

She had no seatbelt on, she then shook her head, backed off me, pulled up to my driver’s door, looked at me again with her lifeless black eyes, shook her head again then drove off; leaving me sitting there with my beautiful Christine bleeding her essential fluids and belching steam all over the road. Half of her car was embedded in my front end. The police found her at home 5 minutes later where she was arrested and locked up.

Would you believe that because it was her 1st offence and a single mother, she was banned for only 20 months, not even fined but given 12 months community service and ordered to pay £85 costs. She never even so much as looked at me, let alone give any apology.

Anyway, for a while after, I really thought that Christine was too far gone to save and that she would end up donating her parts to save others. Then one night while in the office doing some paperwork, I looked over into the workshop at her and I just knew she was not going to die, no matter what it cost...

The road to recovery was set and I put out a plea to all my fellow members of the club and the Forum to ask anyone who had any of the parts I needed to rebuild Christine.

I was amazed and very touched at the response I received, thank you so much to all of you who offered and provided me with the parts I needed. It can’t have been easy to part with something that you think you might need yourself.

 
I hit the floor running, this is now January 2011, Christine was put on a Dozer and pulled straight and true. She had gone up and back on the offside front three quarters of an inch out of true, luckily the chassis rails weren’t damaged, so the steering geometry wasn’t altered or upset.

My insurer wrote her off as a Cat “C” Damaged Repairable and in February paid me £4,500 less £125 salvage which helped with the funding of this mammoth task.

The front panel, grill, the front wings, overiders, inner wings, slam panel, radiator took the full force of the impact, there was no intrusion into the cabin but the steering wheel was bent by me on impact. These photos show the damage after the accident then the restoration back to the standard she is now, finally, in March Christine was finished and back on the road after six months in dock.

To date, she has cost me a little over £5,000 and owes me, in total , just over £10,000

I’ll never see that sort of money for her but to me she is worth all the time and effort spent on her, but most of all to me, Christine is priceless.

Now you see why she is called Christine.

Once again, a very big thank you, to all of you who offered and contributed to this venture and also to every member for just being there, without you there is no club or forum.

See you on that field somewhere, sometime.

Kindest regards,

John Bradbury
 
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