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, being driven occasionally by Kay Petre, until it was sold to Percy Maclure in 1938. Maclure removed the prototype ERA engine from the White Riley, to fit into his Maclure 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.

Riley IFS / Maclure Riley (AVC 18)
This car began life as a 1936 Riley works car, referred to as the Type 2 car, which was fitted with Girling Independent Front Suspension.
Unused in 1937, the car was then purchased by Percy Maclure in late 1937, who during 1938/39 developed it into an increasingly potent Riley special.
For 1938 Maclure fitted an adapted version of the body from his previous TT Sprite, and he raced the car in this form during the 1938 season.
In early 1939, he installed the prototype ERA engine from the White Riley. He also fitted parts of the offset body, which he had retained from the 1936 Works ‘Type 2’ IFS car, including the tail section and fairing. The car then appeared in this form throughout the 1939 season, with another ERA engine, probably obtained from Reggie Tongue, replacing the ex-White Riley engine at some point.
After Maclure’s death during wartime the Maclure Riley was bought by Reg Parnell, who largely rebodied it, naming it the ERA Riley.
The car then appeared in the hands of Leo Davenport, Parnell and the Ashmore Brothers in the second half of 1946.
The car 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, creating the RRA. (See RRA note below).

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.

RRA
In early 1949 Geoff Richardson replaced the Riley chassis in his ERA Riley (see Riley IFS / Maclure Riley / 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 up 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. The RRA chassis was also separately sold by Richardson.

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 - fitting at first a 1500cc ex-Cuth Harrison ERA engine, then, in 1955, a two litre ERA engine, christening it the ERA Special, and competing in sprints and hillclimbs between 1954 and 1957.
The car was later advertised for sale by Berry in late 1961, fitted with a Jaguar engine.
The car was Australian-owned from 1970 until 2019.

Cooper-ERA (T23 CB/4/53)
During 1958-60, Jim Berry fitted his two litre ERA engine to his ex-Bob Gerard Cooper Bristol. Before the Cooper was sold the ERA engine was removed, thus ending the brief life of this Cooper as a second Cooper-ERA.

Other ERA-Engined Cars

Riley 12/6 MPH (44T 2258 - BLN 39)
In about 1961 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 and 1937.
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).