Riley 2.5 Walter Kong Saloon

Riley 2.5 Walter Kong Saloon 1940s British Concept Car

Walter Kong's Riley 2.5 saloon car was unique. Mainly, on account of it being a solo effort. Well, aside from the engine, anyway. All other aspects were overseen by Walter Kong. No wonder it took him 5,000 man-hours - or two years - to complete!

Kong 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. Kong 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, Kong decided to take things into his own hands - literally. He would build his own car!

Kong'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 Kong 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 Walter Kong. The time arrived when all the car needed was an engine. A Riley 2.5 was sourced and installed. Sadly - after so much effort - Kong's vision was not to be lucrative. 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, were another matter. Walter Kong was a king of bespoke car-builders. His Riley 2.5 saloon was proof positive of that.

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