Monday 31 July 2017

E.R.A. – English Racing Automobiles

In the current vintage racing scene at diverse venues ranging from Silverstone to Prescott, you’ll probably chance to see a lovely proportioned single-seat open-wheeled race car, the E.R.A., shorthand for English Racing Automobiles.

These cars were the brainchild of Humphrey Cook, Raymond Mays, and Peter Berthon in late 1933. It was their way of upholding British prestige in international racing by the design, manufacture and creation of a team of single-seat race cars.

Top-tear Grand Prix racing was prohibitively costly, so they set their sights on the smaller Voiturette (1500cc supercharged) class of racing.

The brilliant British designer Reid Railton designed the chassis, and the engine was a highly developed version of well-proven Riley six-cylinder.

The well-proportioned body certainly made the finished car look like a winner.

With some chassis design refinements and adjustments, by the end of 1934, they had a winning combination.

Through the rest of the decade, the E.R.A. dominated the international Voiturette class, taken to some notable wins by such great drivers as Raymond Mays, Dick Seaman and Prince Bira.

Later on, as the basic design was modified through the A-Type, B-Type, C-Type and D-Type versions, other new designs were developed in the form of the E-Type and G-Type, but these were not developed enough before funding ran out for race car creation, and the company refocused it’s resources into engineering research and development.

The E.R.A. was a rugged racer, and today, most of them have survived.

They live today as the iconic pre-war British race car.

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