ERA-engined Cars - Notes on History and Specification

THESE PAGES ARE DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF TIM MAY
ERA HISTORIAN PAR EXCELLENCE

INTRODUCTION

The ERA Club has extended its car ownership history records to include cars fitted, at some point in their competition history, with ERA engines, with notes on each car’s history and specification being recorded here on the Club’s web site.

Anyone who has further information which adds, corrects or disputes anything in these lists should contact Adam Ferrington at eraclub@ntlworld.com

CAR BY CAR

Riley 12/6 TT ‘White Riley’ (4/103 - KV 5696 / KV 5929)
This car was built by the Riley works in 1933 using a 12/6 TT Riley chassis into which Mays, Berthon and Jamieson fitted what proved to be the prototype ERA engine. Raymond Mays then proceeded to beat Hans Stuck’s Shelsley Walsh hill record in September 1933. The car was retained by the Riley works until it was sold to Percy Maclure in 1938. Maclure removed the prototype ERA engine from the White Riley in 1939.
An ERA engine was refitted by Barrie Gillies c1993.

Riley 12/6 TT MPH Prototype (4/105 - KV 6079)
Fitted temporarily with an ERA engine in 1935 at Raymond Mays’ instigation.
The ERA engine was soon removed and the car returned to Riley power.

Maclure Riley (12/6 TT Sprite-based)
From early 1937 Percy Maclure developed an increasingly potent Riley special, based upon a Riley TT Sprite chassis.
During the winter of 1937/38 he further modified this car, fitting a spare set of ex-works Andre-Girling independent front suspension, and he raced the car in this form during the 1938 season.
In early 1939, having purchased the White Riley, Maclure then installed its 1500cc ERA-prototype engine into his own Riley special. At this point he also fitted the ex-works offset body from the 1936 beam axle car. The car then appeared in Maclure’s hands,in this form, throughout the 1939 season, with another ERA engine replacing the ex-White Riley engine at some point.

Challenger
The Challenger appeared just once with an ERA engine - at Prescott in July 1939 where Reg Parnell fitted the ‘borrowed’ engine from R6B.
During its wartime storage and when the car raced briefly during 1947 it was fitted with a 1 1/2 litre Delage engine.
In about 1949 the car was modified by Paul Emery into a sports car with a Lagonda V12 engine fitted, which the car still had when it was discovered in the United States by Dean Butler.
In 2018 Duncan Ricketts completed the Challenger’s restoration, once again with an ERA engine fitted.

Brooke Special (Riley 12/4 Imp-based)
Les Brooke’s Brooke Special was built in 1936 around a Riley 12/4 Imp chassis, and was fitted successively with MG, Riley and Alta engines.
In mid-1939 Brooke fitted an ERA engine (probably the ex-White Riley engine) and the car appeared once in this form before war intervened - at the last Crystal Palace meeting in August 1939. After the war, Brooke reappeared with the car in unbodied form, still ERA-engined, at a few hillclimbs and speed trials during 1946.
In late 1947 the car was sold, without its ERA engine, to George Nixon, who rebodied it and fitted a Riley engine, renaming it the Riley Special.
In the mid 1990s an ERA engine was refitted to the car by Barrie Gillies, with the car retaining George Nixon’s 1948 ‘Riley Special’ body.

ERA Riley (ex-works 1936 Riley IFS single-seater)
During the war the ex-Works 1936 Riley IFS single-seater was obtained by Reg Parnell, who made some changes to the body and fitted the ERA engine from the Maclure Riley. The car then appeared in the hands of Joe Ashmore towards the end of 1946.
It was then sold to Blake’s of Liverpool and driven by Sheila Darbishire during the 1947 season.
In 1948 the car was bought by Worcestershire engineer Geoff Richardson, who raced the car during the 1948 season.
During the 1948/49 off-season Richardson replaced the Riley chassis with a self-designed, Rubery Owen built, chassis (see RRA note below).

RRA
In early 1949 Geoff Richardson replaced the Riley chassis in his ERA Riley (see ERA Riley note above) with a self-designed frame built by Rubery Owen, into which the ERA engine and independent front suspension from his previous car were installed, christening the car the RRA. Over the years to 1955 this car was progressively developed, and the ERA engine was stretched, first to 1750cc, and then, from 1954, to two litres.
At the end of 1955 the RRA’s ERA engine was sold to Jimmy Stuart to be fitted into ERA R14B.
In 199x Keith Knight fitted an ERA engine once more.

Mays Sprint Special
This car was built by Raymond Mays during 1949/50 with the intention of creating a special car for hillclimbs and sprints. It was fitted with a two litre ERA engine.
Although it was tested, the car never ran in competition, and was, reportedly, dismantled in 1950 at the behest of the British Motor Racing Research Trust (BRM).

ERA Delage (WMG 102)
In early 1951, aided by Freddie Dixon, Rob Walker fitted the ERA E Type engine from ERA GP1 into his 1 1/2 litre Delage, the second Chula-built chassis. The car was entered by Walker in this form from 1951 to 1953, before being sold to Alan Burnard and then passing to subsequent owners.
The car has retained an ERA engine throughout its life, although the engine was changed from a 1500cc unit to one of 2.1 litres during Hon. Patrick Lindsay's ownership, which it retains to this day.

Cooper-ERA (T20 CB/8/52)
This car was assembled for Peter Walker in 1952, with the help of Geoff Richardson, of RRA fame, on a lengthened Cooper T20 chassis, with the aim of fitting Peter Whitehead's two litre ERA engine (used in ERA R10B in 1949) to create a competitive hillclimb and sprint car.
After a few appearances in 1952 and 1953 the car was sold to Derek Wilkinson. After a hillclimb and sprint campaign in 1954 the ERA engine was removed by Wilkinson, and the engineless chassis sold.
The car has not had an ERA engine fitted since 1954.

ERA Special (formerly Woden)
In 1953/54 Rochdale builder Jim Berry purchased Bertie Bradnack’s unraced Woden Formula 2 car, which Bradnack had built around an HAR chassis with the intention of fitting a Bristol engine.
Berry modified the car and fitted a two litre ERA engine, christening it the ERA Special, with the intention of using the car in sprints and hillclimbs, which he did between 1954 and 1957.
The car was then sold to Richard Smith of Brighton, almost certainly without the ERA engine.
The car has been Australian-owned since 1970.

Cooper-ERA (T23 CB/4/53)
During 1960, when he was having mechanical problems with ERA R4D, Jim Berry briefly fitted the car's two litre ERA engine into his ex-Bob Gerard Cooper. Within a couple of months, the engine was returned to R4D, thus ending the brief life of this Cooper as a Cooper-ERA.

Riley 12/6 MPH (44T 2258 - BLN 39)
In about 1960 John Horton briefly fitted an ex-Horace Richards Riley engine with an ERA crank to his Riley MPH.

Riley 12/4 TT Sprite (44T 118 - 377 YUE)
A resurrection / reconstruction (Styles) of the Percy Maclure Riley Sprite, with its TT Sprite chassis and TT Sprite bodywork in the form in which Maclure raced it in 1936/37. It is fitted with an ERA engine.

Riley 12/6 TT MPH Prototype (4/101 - KV 5694)
Fitted with ERA engine in 1993, in the belief that this had been the car which had been temporarily fitted with an ERA engine in 1935 (it was actually 4/105 - KV 6079).