Riley 2.5 Walter Köng Saloon

Riley 2.5 Walter Kong Saloon 1940s British classic concept car

Walter Köng's Riley 2.5 Saloon was unique. It had to have been - it was a solo effort! Well, aside from the engine, anyway. All other aspects were overseen by Walter Köng. No wonder it took him 5,000 man-hours - or two years - to complete!

Köng was Swiss. In '45 - with the war only just over - not a great deal was happening in his native land. Switzerland's key industries - textiles and clock-making - were having a tough time of it. Köng was well-versed in all things automotive. He had worked at Italy's Sala - as well as French firm Gallee. Not to mention Chrysler and Packard. Since manufacturing was still in a state of flux, Köng decided to take things into his own hands - literally. He would build his own car!

Köng's inspiration came in the form of aircraft - specifically, fighter planes. After all, he had probably observed a few in recent times. The design brief Köng set himself was radical - at least, for someone who was going to be putting his plans into practice himself. Bodywork was to be all-aluminium. The roof would be a two-panel, removable affair. Pontiac and Ford had already pioneered that set-up. What they had not pioneered were mahogany bumpers. They came courtesy of Köng. The time arrived when all the car needed was an engine. A Riley 2.5 was sourced and installed. Sadly - after so much effort - Köng's vision was not to be a lucrative one. His work was exhibited at the '49 Geneva Motor Show. But, while the car generated a good deal of interest, there were no sales. The annals of motoring history, though, are another matter entirely. Walter Köng was a king of bespoke car-builders. His Riley 2.5 Saloon was proof positive of that.

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