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This article is about a British car. For the Spanish motorway, see Autovía.
Autovia 1938 (16776373710).jpg
limousine by Arthur Mulliner
EYX 464 registered September 1938
Manufacturer Autovia Cars Limited,[note 1]
Ordnance Works, Midland Road, Foleshill, Coventry CV6 5DX

1937-1938 public sales starting 1936[1][2]

44 made
Designer Charles Van Eugen (1890-1980)
Body and chassis
Class Large luxury
Body style chassis
4-light sports saloon
6-light saloon
Layout Front engine rear wheel drive
Related (engine) Riley 1½-litre straight 4 and
Riley 8/90 2¼-litre 90°V8[3]
Engine 2,849 cubic centimetres (174 cu in)
Transmission single dry-plate clutch to a 4-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on all speeds or
automatic clutch and 4-speed preselective gearbox
divided propellor shaft, back section in a torque tube
final drive by underhung worm is housed in a banjo-type casing[2]
Wheelbase 129 in (3,300 mm)[4]
Length 175.5 in (4,460 mm)
or 183 in (4,600 mm)[4]
Track 56.5 in (1,440 mm)
Width 71 in (1,800 mm)[4]
Predecessor none
Successor none
Production 44
Combustion chamber
Configuration 90°V-8
Displacement 2,849 cubic centimetres (174 cu in)[2]
Cylinder bore 69.5 mm (2.74 in)[2]
Piston stroke 95.25 mm (3.750 in)[2]
Valvetrain inclined at 90° overhead valves worked by pushrods from three camshafts[2][5]
Fuel system twin Zenith downdraught carburettors with a balance pipe and hot-spot fed from a 16 gallon tank at the back, ignition by magneto with automatic advance mounted vertically towards the rear of the V[2][5]
Cooling system a water pump is mounted either side of the timing case. The radiator has a fan and thermostatically controlled shutters. The sump is ribbed at the sides[2][5]
Power output 99 bhp @ 4,700 rpm[3]
Tax rating 23.8hp[2]
Predecessor Riley 8/90 2¼-litre 90°V8[3]
Successor none
Autovia limousine
EYX 464 around 1963
No higher resolution available

Autovia was a short lived brand of British car from Coventry existing from 1935 to 1938 with production starting in January 1937.[2] The venture was ambitious and even included setting up a school for chauffeurs. The cars were expensive and it was a market sector well served by other companies. 44 cars were made.[6]

Large luxury cars[edit]

The company was created by Riley as a subsidiary to produce large luxury cars and a new factory was built. A 2849 cc 90°V-8, triple camshaft engine was developed from a pair of 1½-litre Riley engine blocks and coupled to either a conventional four speed manual gearbox or in a few cases a pre selector unit bought from Armstrong Siddeley. Drive was to the rear wheels through a live axle with worm gear final drive.

Three body types were advertised, a Sports saloon, a Special Saloon with extra leg room at the expense of boot space and a limousine mostly built by Arthur Mulliner of Northampton who were London distributors. The car was also available as a bare chassis.

The venture failed when Riley went bankrupt. When they were taken over by the Nuffield Organisation Autovia was not resurrected.

There were thought to be eight of these cars remaining in 2008.[7]

The limousine was considered remarkable for its width being more than its overall height yet the floors were flat and a tunnel and wells avoided at the back. "The general low set helps stability" said The Times, "the models are well equipped, as they should be for the price".[2]

The Autovia was also available as a bare chassis

Open two-seater
registered September 1939


The specially designed chassis frame permits a low overall height and low floor line.[2]
In addition to the details in the box on the right:

  • wheels: Dunlop centre-lock wire 3.50" x 19"[3] with nave plates
  • tyres: 5.5" section on 19 inch wheels[2][3]
  • suspension by semi-elliptic springs from the two rigid axles is controlled by hydraulic shock absorbers, their resistance is controlled by the driver[2]
  • braking on all four wheels is mechanically actuated[2] by rods with wedge operated shoes in 16 inch drums[3]
  • steering by worm and nut[2]
  • lubrication (of chassis items) is centralised and automatic[2]


In a prior announcement 10 October 1936 Victor Riley revealed there would be two models available in addition to the bare chassis all with an automatic clutch, a preselective gearbox and a worm driven back axle. Prices would be:

  • chassis £685
  • five-seat saloon £975
  • limousine £995

The London distributors were Arthur Mulliner Limited of 54 Baker Street.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Autovia Cars —Manufacturers of and dealers in and hirers of automobiles, motor vans, and lorries, &c.
    Nominal capital, £60,000, in £1 shares.
    Company Registrations, The Times Tuesday, Dec 17, 1935; pg. 21; Issue 47249


  1. ^ Sedgwick, M. (1989). A-Z of Cars of the 1930s. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-38-9. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r The Times, Wednesday, Sep 22, 1937; pg. 6; Issue 47796
  3. ^ a b c d e f Rileyrob. "Autovia (1937-38)". Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  5. ^ a b c The Motor Show. The Times, Tuesday, Oct 19, 1937; pg. 10; Issue 47819
  6. ^ Autovia Car Club
  7. ^ Hardiman, Paul (February 2008). Duchene, Paul; Lombard, Stefan; Pickering, Jim, eds. "H&H Auctions, Duxford, UK: The Imperial War Museum". Sports Car Market. Portland, OR USA: Automotive Investor Media Group. ISSN 1527-859X. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  8. ^ The Times, Saturday, Oct 10, 1936; pg. 6; Issue 47502

External links[edit]