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.

 

 

 

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

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

Brooke ERA

Leslie Brooke raced the Brooke ERA throughout the 1930’s using a Riley Imp chassis and MG and Alta engines which through various upgrades was rebuilt in 1939 using a 1500cc ERA engine which he raced at the Imperial Trophy race in August 1939 finishing 7th.  After the war it raced at Shelsley Walsh Hill climb but soon was sold to car to George Nixon  who fitted the new more rounded cowl that it still has today, The Car was raced at the 1948 Manx Cup, starting 3d and going to win the race.

Passing through the hands of Derek Tasker in the 1950’s it was “found” in a heated warehouse by Graham Baker in the late 1960’s, who decided to trace the car’s history and get it back on track.

Restored in the 1970’s it competed with the VSCC on a number of occasions. Having been placed in the care of Barrie Gillies in the late 1980’s an ERA engine was refitted and the care was raced extensively in the 1990’s by Mark Gillies, including a win in the pre-1952 Grand Prix car race at the Silverstone Coys’ Festival in 1996.

In the last ten years the Brooke-ERA has been mostly seen racing with the HGPCA in Europe. In 2002 it won the HGPCA Trofeo Alberto Ascari race at Imola driven by Rod Jolley, before setting the fastest time at that year’s Klausen-Rennen hillclimb with Jolley at the wheel.

Its last race, prior to its acquisition by Tim Metcalfe in 2010, was at the Goodwood Revival meeting in 2006 where the Brooke-ERA was running in fourth place in the Goodwood Trophy race, before engine troubles sidelined it two laps from the end of the race

ERA V8

The Raymond Mays V8 was the only road car produced at Bourne in 1938/39. The holding company was Shelsley Motors Ltd, with three directors , Raymond Mays, Peter Berthon his chief engineer and Lancelot Prideaux-Brune who financed the company. He had previously saved Aston Martin in the thirties and brought success to the company via Le Mans.

 

Five cars were produced , three were roadsters with coachwork by Real, a saloon with coachwork by Standard motors and a Drophead Coupe by Carlton. Only two of the cars remain , the prototype roadster RM1 and chassis RM5 the Drophead Coupe which had further performance engine modifications carried out. The saloon was sold to a client in New Zealand but was lost after the ship was torpedoed on route.

 

The chassis and engine were supplied by Standard Motors who designed the engine and it was produced by Coventry Climax. Peter Berthon tuned the V8 engines on receipt, shortened the chassis and added I.F suspension which gave the cars incredible handling, all the cars were fitted with an Ashby steering wheel with a specially designed gripper for quick turning in rally stages, one of the roadsters was timed a tad under 110 mph at Brooklands , driven by Rivers Fletcher. Three cars were entered for the RAC rally in 1939 and one for the Welsh rally but WW2 production stopped and after the hostilities ended didn’t resume for by this time Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon were working on the BRM project.

 

RM1 is in the private collection of the owner of Romulus in the States , whilst RM5 is currently being renovated in Bourne, having spent many years in a museum. The Raymond Mays V8 cars were made to the very highest quality with the engineering expertise of English Racing Automobiles evident.

 

 

stewart@englishracingautomobiles.co.uk