Here’s Phoenix, a 1934 Riley Lynx Restored Back to Life After Barn Fire
26 March 2020 - autoevolution
We all could use some happy-ending stories at this time of uncertainty on all fronts, caused by the new Coronavirus international crisis. This restoration project fits right in.
Back in 2015, a retired rally driver from Sutterton, U.K., put the word out that he was on the lookout for a new restoration project. Roger Fountain and his wife Penny have no kids, so he often passes the time working on old cars. When the call came in that a friend had stumbled across a barn find, Roger jumped at the chance.
This was no regular barn find, though, Roger tells SWNS, as reported by Fox News Auto. It was a completely burned-down classic and it would turn out to be Roger’s most challenging project to date: a 1934 Riley Lynx sports car that had been destroyed in a barn fire.
Roger still accepted the challenge, so he took the wreck home. The chassis had miraculously survived, so he used it to build a prototype around it, using scrap metal and wood. He then started the painstaking process of tracking down parts and putting the car back together.
“I was anxious to utilize as many original parts, especially the chassis, to retain the soul of the original car, to maintain its heritage as an example of a golden era of English automotive design,” Roger says. The Lynx was a sporting model built by Riley between 1926 and 1938.
In 2018, Roger found out that the DVLA had classified the car as a write-off, which meant all remaining parts from the fire had to be destroyed. He had an official come over for reassessment and eventually got the DVLA to chance its stance and allow him to re-register it.
The car was now street-legal and in proper working order, but Roger was still a couple of years away from taking it on a first drive. Health issues like a busted knee and a cancer diagnosis kept him sidelined until January 2020, when he was finally able to take Penny out for a drive in The Phoenix, as he aptly named the car.
“It was a real journey and the project has had lots and lots of twists and turns,” Roger says. “I never thought it would never get there but there were times I thought it may take longer than expected. I’m thrilled with the end result and very proud of the work which has gone into it.”
The former rally driver documented his restoration project in a book, also called Phoenix, which is now available on Amazon.