The Cars

 

Below are most of the cars manufactured and associated with English Racing Automobiles starting from 1934 up until today with notable achievements and results along with personalities and owners involved with individual cars.

 

There were many modifications made to these cars over the decades as by their very nature racing cars need to be constantly updated and upgraded to remain competitive and some of these details are listed

R1A

The prototype ERA was completed in May 1934 with a 1,500cc. supercharged engine. Driven by Raymond Mays the car achieved race and hill climb wins and Standing Start mile and kilometre records and won the Nuffield trophy race at Donington. The car went on to race competitively for many years winning at Brooklands, Turin, Rommehed Sweden, & Snetterton as well as numerous podium finishes.

The first ERA used a  “Rising Sun” emblem designed by F. Gordon Crosby (the famous motoring artist). Later cars featured the three ring badge for the letters E, R and A.

The bonnet profile of R1A was lowered to give better streamlining during its post war career but  was rebuilt to original condition in the early 1980’s by Tony Merrick

For a full Biography click here

R2A

The second car built was the light green R2A fitted with a 1,100cc. supercharged engine. Completed in July 1934 the car won first time out at Brooklands  driven by Humphrey Cook who went on to set Standing Start World Records for both mile and kilometre.

Cook raced the car in 1934 and, up to his retirement from racing in September 1935.

The car was also raced in Europe with a 1,500cc engine.

For 1936 the works team sold the car to Nicky Embiricos who took the now grey painted R2A to third at Monaco.

Now in black and here shown racing at Sonoma

 

R3A

R3A was the original works 2 litre completed in August 1934. Raymond Mays used the light green car until it was sold at the end of 1935. Mays used R3A to set the Outright World Standing Start kilometre record as well as success in circuit racing and hill climbs.

1935 Mays won the Shelsley Walsh hill climb. R3A and Mays scored the team’s first major international win at Germany’s majestic Nurburgring using a 1,500cc. Voiturette engine.

1937 C E C (Charlie) Martin successfully campaigned the car across Europe including a fine win in the Voiturette event supporting the German Grand Prix at Avus.

1938 saw R3A sold by garage owner J H Bartlett to Roy Hesketh, who took the car to his native South Africa.

1939 Hesketh was placed fourth in both the South African GP and the Grosvenor GP. Returned to the UK in 1965 the car has taken many hill climb and speed trial  class wins .

The car remains in largely original condition today due to its stay in South Africa where it avoided the modifications of the UK based cars.  It has been brought back to a near 1900cc capacity.

R4A

R4A was built in 1935 as the first ERA customer car and run by the team for Pat Fairfield. The white painted R4A was fitted with a 1,100cc. supercharged engine.

Fairfield had wins in the Mannin Beg on the Isle of Man, the Nuffield Trophy at Donington Park and the Dieppe Grand Prix Voiturette race.

In early 1936 Fairfield ran the car independently including a third place in his adopted South Africa. Back in England a 1,500cc. engine was fitted. Results included second in the British Empire Trophy at Donington Park. Later in 1936 R4A returned to works support and Fairfield scored a second at the Picardy Grand Prix. In 1937 R4A was used by Fairfield as a works driver. three wins in South Africa and a third at Donington Park.

The 1938 R4A reverted to a 1,100cc. engine and was sold to N G (Norman) Wilson who raced in his native South African and elsewhere.

Reg Parnell took over R4A and after the war Bob and Joan Gerard gave the car a very successful career in UK sprints and hill climbs where is remains a formidable opponent.

 

R1B

R1B was built in 1935 as the first of the second  or “B”generation of ERAs.

Richard (Dick) Seaman was the first owner of the black car who raced it firstly with the works team and then mechanic Giulio Ramponi. R1B won at Pescara, Italy (Coppa Acerbo), Berne, Switzerland (Prix de Berne) and Brno, Czechoslovakia (Masaryk Grand Prix).

After Seamans’s 1935 season R1B passed to G.F. Manby-Colgrave. The amateur driver raced the car sometimes having Jazz musician “Buddy” Featherstonhaugh as co-driver. The next driver was bandleader and post war television star W E (Billy) Cotton. Cotton owned R1B from1937 through World War Two and on to 1947. Arthur Dobson and Cotton’s mechanic Wilkie Wilkinson also drove the car.

 

 

R2B "Romulus"

Finished in July 1935 R2B is probably the most famous ERA ever raced. Bought by the White Mouse team of Prince Chula for his cousin Prince Bira’s 21st. birthday and painted in the distinctive “Bira” blue and yellow. The royal pair from Siam (Thailand) ran the team as highly professional amateur team boss and driver.  R2B achieved good results throughout 1935 with no retirements and two good second places at its first outing at Dieppe, France and the Berne Grand Prix, Switzerland.

In 1936 the White Mouse team added R5B to their stable so R2B became  “Romulus” and R5B “Remus” after the Roman Twins. “Romulus” took Bira to good results on demanding circuits and against strong opposition - A fine win at Monaco - A second on the Isle of Man - A third at the Nurburgring  - A win at the Picardy Grand Prix, France – and also a win at Brooklands ahead of team founder Mays in the works ERA!

In 1937 R2B was becoming left behind in mainland Europe by more modern machinery but was still a front-runner in a successful campaign within the British Isles.

In 1938 the White Mouse team took on a third ERA, R12B/C, which relegated R2B to lesser British events. The car not only showed impressive reliability but also won half of its races that year.

For 1939 R2B added yellow wheels and chassis frame to its light “Bira” blue bodywork to match the newly specified national racing colours of Siam. The car replaced a damaged R12C to score a third in Albi, France followed by hibernation during the Second World War.

The car returned to racing for the 1946 Nations Grand Prix in Switzerland and 1948 French Grand Prix.

“Romulus” was then kept by the Chula family and Bira moved on to more modern machinery.

The car is considered by many to be the ultimate ERA due to is one owner – one driver top class racing pedigree followed by a sympathetic restoration by Bill Morris and a return to racing.

 

 

 

R3B

R3B was a light green 1936 works car for the use of works driver Marcel Lehoux. The French Algerian used R3B for a number of events in mainland Europe, including a good second at Monaco

R3B was entered for Lehoux for a Formula Libre race at Deauville, France, the cars normal 1,500cc. engine being replaced by a 2litre Zoller supercharged unit.

Sadly the third place R3B was hit by Farina as he was lapping Lehoux. In the ensuing crash R3B rolled and caught fire resulting in Lehoux receiving fatal injuries.

As R3B was too badly damaged for a rebuild, it was cannibalised for spares. Although various parts may still be in use on other cars, this is the only ERA to have ceased to exist.

 

 

 

R4B/C/D

R4B was built as a 1935 works car painted light green and using a 2litre engine (although both 1.1 and 1.5 engines were also used on occasions). R4B was mostly used by Raymond Mays and mostly in sprints and hill climbs. The main exception of 1935 could not have been more different - the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring where Mays and German co-driver, E Von Delius retired.

For 1936 R4B and the other works cars changed to an all black paint scheme.

For 1937 R4B was modified to C Type specification with additional changes to the steering to cater for Mays’s weakened left arm. The much experimented with car was fast but somewhat unreliable. As well as several hill climb successes Mays won the Picardy Grand Prix, France.

1938 saw R4B/C modified with a new lightened chassis bringing it up to D Type spec. The year of wins or retirement included another Picardy Grand Prix win.

Early in 1939 Arthur Johnson used R4D taking a win at Brooklands. Later in the year Mays bought R4D from the works. As an “independent” the car continued to be fast but also somewhat unreliable.

After WW2 the car was taken to the RAC hill climb Championship in both 1947 and 1948 by Mays.

 

 

R5B "Remus"

When it was sold in 2001 "Remus" was hailed as one of the most raced cars in the world with an astonsihing 108 victories from 349 starts in 54 seasons

R5B was made in 1.5litre form in 1936 for owner Prince Chula and driver Prince Bira and painted their team colours of light blue with yellow wheels. The White Mouse team had already got ERA R2B in their stable so named R2B “Romulus” and R5B “Remus” after the Roman Twins. “B. Bira” won the Albi Grand Prix in what was otherwise an un-successful year in terms of the high standards expected by the “White Mouse” team.

1937 saw R5B unused, except as a donor vehicle for the teams other ERAs.

Later in 1937 the car was sold to A P R (Tony) Rolt who raced R5B widely.

1939 – The car was modified by Freddie Dixon and took Rolt to victory in the British Empire Trophy at Donington Park. Later in the year St. John Horsfall went into partnership with Rolt and became the regular driver.

After WW2 R5B was quickly back in action as Rolt and Horsfall took part in the Cockfosters Rally Demonstration Run of 14th July 1945.

New owner I F (Ian) Connell raced the car in 1946.

Later in 1946 the car was bought by P H (Peter) Bell for John Bolster to race. 1947 – Jersey piston broke, Chimay piston broke, Ulster trophy race – gearbox failed, Shelsley Walsh – 10th.

1948 – George Boyle rebuilt car and fitter Wilson gearbox. British GP 6th. Two-stage supercharging was tried using two Murray Jamison blowers but a valve dropped in Jersey.

1949 - Silverstone - Bolster skidded on oil at Stowe, hit straw bale, overturned twice, was thrown out and had R5B roll over him.

R6B

R6B was built 1936 as a green 1.5litre for the famous “Bentley Boy” Doctor J.D. Benjafield, who only raced the car twice.

Later in 1936 Douglas L. Briault bought and raced R6B for the rest of the year. Briault’s best result was a third in the JCC 200 at Donington Park with co-driver Kenneth Evans.

During 1937 and 1938 R6B was owned and raced by I F (Ian) Connell. After a time ice racing in Sweden the car performed within the British Isles.

1939 saw R6B owned by Mrs. Hall-Smith and raced by Robin Hanson to a win at both Donington Park and Brooklands.

The last pre-war race for R6B was in 1.1litre form driven by Reg Parnell.

Other drivers - William Everitt, the Earl Howe, Peter Monkhouse & Johnnie Wakefield.

 

 

R7B

R7B was made in 1936 with a 1.5litre engine with a white paint scheme and a chrome plated radiator for A C (Arthur) Dobson. Cyril Paul drove its first three races, until Dobson took over.

1937 saw success and the start of a string of ERA versus ERA battles with “B.Bira”.

1938 – The highlight of another good year was a third place in the Modena Grand Prix, Italy and sixth in the Donington Grand Prix behind the might of Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz.

 

 

 

R8B/C

R8B was made in 1936 as a 1.5litre for the Earl Howe in his personal colours of blue bodywork with silver chassis and wheels. Although owned by Howe, the works team prepared the car.

1937 saw R8B prepared by Earl Howe’s own team of mechanics. The year started with good results in South Africa. Back in the UK there was an accident at Brooklands that did serious damage to both R8B and Howe. Happily the pairing returned to competition with a respectable seventh in the Donington Grand Prix against much superior opposition.

1938 started with Howe and R8B winning at Cape Town during a winter season in South Africa. Piero Taruffi also drove R8B to a good second place during the in South African trip.

Back in the UK the car was rebuilt to “C” specification and had a wide-ranging career up to the outbreak of WW2.

 

 

R9B

R9B was made in 1936 with cream paintwork and a 1.5litre engine for Birmingham stockbroker D H (Dennis) Scribbans. This first season provided a number of good finishes in minor events for the inexperienced amateur driver. Also during the year the car was used by Charlie Martin to win the Nuffield Trophy at Donington Park.

1938 to 1948 - R9B was owned by R.E. Ansell, another Birmingham amateur, for minor events within Britain. The outstanding event of these years was an entry into what was probably the last major event before the outbreak of WW2 and the car’s only European race. In the Swiss Grand Prix, Berne, Switzerland R9B was 13th overall and sixth in class (Voiturette).

Post-war R.E.Ansell entered races and hill climbs .

Cousin Geoffrey E.Ansell (1948 to 1950) also drove R9B including a major crash in the 1948 British Grand Prix. Another “big one” occurred in a Jersey hill climb when driven by George Bainbridge.

R10B

R10B was made in 1936 as a 1.5litre in black for P N (Peter) Whitehead. Whitehead and his regular driving partner, Peter Walker, drove the car singly and as co-drivers. The best result of the year being a third in the important Donington Park Grand Prix for the pair.

In 1937 R10B was raced in Britain, France and Italy. Again both Whitehead and Walker drove.

1938 Whitehead drove the car and had a long but productive trip to win the Australian Grand Prix.

1939 started with Whitehead and R10B having a disappointing South African winter season. Back in Britain Whitehead scored a number of top three finishes. Peter Walker also returned to race R10B before the Second World War called a halt to racing.

The car went on to be owned and raced by well known race enthusiast Nick Mason of Pink Floyd.

 

 

R11B "Humphrey"

R11B a 1.5litre dark green 1936 car was bought by the experienced amateur driver R E (Reggie) Tongue. Tongue named the car “Humphrey” after ERA founder Humphrey Cook. Tongue had wins in hill climbs in Germany, Switzerland and Shelsley Walsh, England. A big circuit win came in the Cork 200, Ireland.

1937 saw Tongue race R11B widely around Europe including a good third in the Albi Grand Prix, France.

1938 – The Hon. Peter Aitken bought R11B to race in British events.

1938-39 A South African winter season gave Aitken a second place in Cape Town.

1939 R11B was used successfully by Aitken around Britain.

Post-war the car was owned by R M Cowell & G M Watson (1946 to 1947) and E G Pool (1947 to 1948).

In 1948 Reg Parnell bought R11B and sold it to Peter Bell for his driver, John Bolster. The car was greatly modified during this period, including the use of a 2litre engine, a Murray twin supercharger and having the pre-selector gearbox replaced by a standard box.

1949 saw R11B involved in a fatal accident to its driver St. John Horsfall during the Silverstone Daily Express Trophy meeting.

1951 Ken Wharton won his first RAC hill climb Championship driving Peter Bell's R11B (with the help of a Cooper-JAP).

1955 took R11B to the RAC hill climb Championship driven by Ken Wharton (with the help of Ken’s Cooper-JAP). Modifications for the cars hill climb and sprint life included a smaller 10-gallon fuel tank, the removal of the 5-gallon dry sump oil tank, a smaller radiator and setting the engine three inches farther back.

The car was the subject of the book “Racing An Historic Car” by Peter Hull, which documented his brother Douglas Hull’s 1958/59 seasons

R12B "Hanuman & Hanuman II"

R12B was a 1936 works car with a 2litre engine and in the works black colour scheme. Raymond Mays successfully hill climbed R12B at Shelsley Walsh and raced at Brooklands.

1937 The works rebuilt R12B to C-type specification with a 1.5litre engine and a long-range fuel tank. Pat Fairfield was to be the main works driver of R12B/C for the year. After a win with R12B/C at Crystal Palace and Donington Park Fairfield was killed in the Le Mans 24-hour sportscar race. R12B/C was successfully used by other drivers during the rest of the year. The Albi Grand Prix was won by Humphrey Cook/ Raymond Mays.  The Berne Grand Prix, Switzerland and the JCC 200 mile race were won Arthur Dobson. The Brooklands Siam Trophy was won by Raymond Mays.

1938 The works sold R12B/C to Prince Chula for “B.Bira” to drive. R12B/C was painted with a light blue body and yellow chassis and wheels of the “White Mouse” stable and made the national racing colours of Siam (Thailand). In the tradition of “White Mouse” cars, following R2B “Romulus” and R5B “Remus” R12C was named “Hanuman”. “B.Bira” used R12C to gain wins at Brooklands, Donington Park and Cork, Ireland.

1939 saw “B.Bira” raced R12B/C to win the Nuffield Trophy at Donington Park.

Bira crashed R12B/C at in practice for the Coupe de la Commission Sportive at Rheims, France. Bira suffered only minor injuries but the car was badly damaged. It was then rebuilt with available parts – which included the only available chassis, a B type hence the car having driven in both B and C variations.

1946 “B.Bira” won the Ulster Trophy at Ballyclare, Northern Ireland.

1949 to 1951 - under the new ownership of D A (David) Hampshire & David Murray races included a fourth place finish in the British GP at Silverstone.

R12C "Hanuman"

1982 - Respected car restorer and ERA expert W.R.G. “Bill” Morris rebuilt the wreckage left over from the R12B/C “Hanuman” crash and rebuild (see R12B "Hanuman / Hanuman II", above). The project used the original mangled chassis frame from R12B/C, other R12B/C parts and other period parts with any gaps filled by remanufactured parts.

The result was “R12C – Hanuman” a C-type ERA as if the 1939 Rheims accident had not happened.

 

R14B

R14B was built in 1938 originally with a 1.5litre C-type Zoller supercharged engine and in pale blue colours for J P (Johnnie) Wakefield. Although no longer the most modern cars available, provided good results at home winning the JCC the 200 and being third in Siam Trophy race both at Brooklands and earning an excellent third in the Berne Grand Prix, Switzerland.

Post war saw the car finishing third and then second at the British Grand Prix, Silverstone.

 

 

AJM1

Anthony J. Merrick prepared and raced R1A until its then owner sold the car.  Being without a car the resourceful Merrick shuffled his stock of genuine ERA parts and came up with AJM1. The 1980s brand new 1930s car is said to be an 80% original ERA B-type car using a 1.5litre engine and light green early works colour scheme.

 

 

 

E Type GP1

1938 chassis number GP1 appeared in 1.5litre form but otherwise was a big step forward from the earlier “sit up and beg” ERAs. Unfortunately German and Italian constructors had moved forward further and faster.  Raymond Mays used the car in its first race at Brooklands but then left the works team to race R4D as an independent.

Humphrey Cook moved the team from Mays’s Bourne base to workshops at Donington Park and continued with development of the E-type.

GP1 suffered with unreliability and a crash at Albi, France with Arthur Dobson at the wheel.

After the Second World War GP1 returned to the circuits with various owners.

 

 

 

 

E Type GP2

The second GP2 was bought and raced by H. L. Brooke (1946 to 1947) but later sold it back to the works team.

1948 Leslie Johnson drove GP2 to fifth in the British Empire Trophy Race, Isle of Man.

1949 Johnson gained a third and fifth at the Easter Goodwood meeting.

1950 Johnson took GP2 to the British & European Grand Prix, Silverstone being the first ever Formula One championship race but the GP2 retired with supercharger problems.

 

 

 

 

E.R.A. V8 Sportscar

In 1938 Raymond Mays produced  the V8 sports cars in the E.R.A workshops at Bourne Lincs and which were to be put into production but with financial constraints and the onset of WW2 the project was postponed until the hostilities ended but by which time Raymond Mays was engrossed with the BRM project.

 

Raymond Mays wanted to use Era's successes to develop a fast road going sports cars and he and Peter Berthon met with John Black, Standard’s MD in 1938 with a view to co-operation between both companies. Though several collaborations were discussed the only project to move forward was the project to build an E.R.A V8 Sportscar.

For a full Biography click here

 

 

 

ERA F type 500cc. was a formula three project that never left the drawing board.

G Type

The G type was designed as a Formula Two car using a 2 litre 6 cylinder Bristol engine.

1952 The G type was driven by Stirling Moss who was emerging onto the international stage.

The G type project was sold to Bristol Aircraft Company who used it to develop the Bristol 450 sportscar (which finished 1/2/3 in class at the 1954 Le Mans 24-hour race).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delage ERA

Featuring a 1927 Delage chassis and an E-type ERA. engine from G.P.1, the first of the E-types which was crashed and burnt in the Isle of Man. An Armstrong-Siddeley preselector gearbox was used, and the offset driving position and the external appearance of the car was kept original, including the square Delage radiator shell. Modern brakes, shock-absorbers, wheels and tyres were fitted and the car was raced by A. P.R. Rolt. It proved to be a most successful combination and enlivened the 1951/2 seasons on the British cir­cuits, one of its best performances being a 3rd place at Goodwood, behind a Type 159 Alfa Romeo and a 4.5-1itre Ferrari.

The 1.5-litre 6-cylinder E-type E.R.A. engine was fitted with a two-stage supercharging system, with two Roots blowers, one in front of the engine and the other alongside the engine.

 

 

 

ERA Mini (M-Type)

1275cc Turbocharged Engineering Research Applications developed a very special car based on the Austin Rover Mini in 1990.

The BMC ‘A’ series 1275cc. engine used a Garrett turbocharger with maximum boost pressure of 8 psi. Maximum speed of 115mph. was achieved from 94bhp @ 6,130rpm.

The cars were refitted to a very high standard and given distinctive bodywork modifications.

The ERA Mini Turbo quickly gained cult status in Japan.

 

 

TIGER ERA. HSS & ERA 30

In 2003 the name E.R.A. returned to competition with a brand new car. Jim Dudley's Tiger Sportscars  launched a single seat racing car. This was later followed by the two seater 30.

Single Seater - Historic single seat this 1960’s style car is a space frame rear engined model using a Ford Zetec 1800cc engine.

The ERA 30 is so named because it is only 30 inches from the ground to the top of the screen. Again styled like 1960’s classic this 2 seater has the looks of Lotus 23

 

Both cars are available as kits or ready made to order

 

For more information go to Tiger Racing's website: www.tigerracing.com

 

stewart@englishracingautomobiles.co.uk