Tuesday, 21 December 2010
English Racing Automobiles was founded by driver Raymond Mays engine designer Peter Berthon and financier Humphrey Cook in 1933 to manufacture racing cars capable of upholding British prestige in Continental European races.
Without the financial or engineering resources made available to Mercedes Benz and Auto Union in top flight Grand Prix races, ERA focused their efforts one step down, in the GP2 or Indy Lights of its day known as voiturette racing for vehicles with supercharged motors from 1.1 litres / 67 cui to 2 litres / 122 cui.
The ERA engines came in three sizes and were based on a 6 cylinder Riley production block with a stronger crankshaft and entirely new aluminium cylinder head.
Chassis design was by Reid Railton and the body work was by George and Jack Cray to a design by a Mr Piercy who like Railton had been responsible for the design of Malcom Campbells land speed record breaking vehicle 'Bluebird'.
ERA R14B seen here is the 14th and final original 'sit up and beg' originally a pale blue vehicle built in 1938 with a 1.5 litre /91 cui Zoller supercharged engine for Johnnie Wakefield who won the 200 mile race at Brooklands and finished third in the 1938 Bern GP.
Bob Gerard acquired the car after WW2 and scored third and second place finishes at the British Grand Prix of 1948 and 1949, he continued to race the car successfully until 1956.
Current owner Donald Day purchased ERA R14B in 1958 and has raced it with a 2 litre / 122 cui motor in place of it's original 1.5 litre 91 cui unit. In 1990 14B appeared for the first time in British Racing Green.
This same vehicle was driven to victory in the pre 1959 Historic Grand Prix at Monaco by Julian Bronson in 2002.
All photo's bar the penultimate one from the September VSCC meet at Loton Park, the penultimate one was taken at the August VSCC meet at Prescott.
Thanks to David Hodgkinson for back ground information on ERA 14B.
Hope you have enjoyed todays British Racing Green edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres', and will join me tomorrow for a look at a high flying special. Don't forget to come back now !