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The E.R.A. thread


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#201 CiroMenotti

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 22:27

Tim Cottam driving Micheal Gamms ex Seaman/Cotton R1B at Bourne a couple of weeks ago.

The owner of ERA is Michael Gans.


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#202 arttidesco

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 22:33

The owner of ERA is Michael Gans.


Thanks CiroMenotti unfortunately your correction came too late for the BRM Day Souvenir Programme :up:

#203 Dutchy

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 13:49

Posted Image

Tim Cottam driving Micheal Gans ex Seaman/Cotton R1B at Bourne a couple of weeks ago.


Interesting link in that Alan Cottam (Tim's father I believe) once owned and raced this car.

#204 RogerFrench

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 15:12

VSCC Silverstone 1963.

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#205 JBaxter

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 22:29

I first experienced ERA's at VSCC Oulton Park in the early 80's. We used to stand behind a tree at Deer Leap, near a marshals hut and listen to the magnificent supercharger whine high above the engine exhaust note.
My brother and I were about 10 years old the time I guess, certainly old enough to require a ticket, but my father perferred to shut us in the boot of his cortina saloon rather than pay for us. We didn't much mind that, but we thought it rather excessive to drive all the way from Huddersfield in there!
Yorkshiremen - just like the Scotts but without that generous streak.

So I blame my dad. I've wanted to drive one ever since.
This is my earliest photo of an ERA and its been on my wall ever since. R1B I think and would that be Duncan Ricketts I wonder? Slim enough to be Willi Green? Bill Morris in the background with R12B, who is helping? I think that's Roger Sweets MG poking its tail into the picture
Posted Image

Edited by JBaxter, 14 November 2012 - 23:03.


#206 David McKinney

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 22:40

Looks like young Duncan - and he was R1B's regular driver for about ten years

#207 JMH

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 18:02

Yes, That's Roger Sweet's car, he used to chase the ERAs pretty hard & keep them honest as well! The car is now with Andy King & the Twin-Cam motor back with K3009.

JH

Edited by JMH, 15 November 2012 - 18:03.


#208 HistoryFan

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 17:20

Why was ERA not that successful after the War? Was ist just because Raymond Mays moved to BRM?

#209 fuzzi

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 17:46

Depends what you mean by successful after the war.

Bob Gerard didn't do too badly in the early international races just after the war and if you wanted to win the British Hillclimb Championship you had to have a pretty good motor car to beat an ERA on the hills well into the 1950s.

Sadly the E-Type never had the development it needed as the money just wasn't there -Humphrey Cook had spent quite enough by then.

By the 1960s they were (and still are) the cars to beat in historic racing.

#210 Vitesse2

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 18:44

Sadly the E-Type never had the development it needed as the money just wasn't there -Humphrey Cook had spent quite enough by then.

Even disregarding that, it was basically a 1937-38 design which had already been rehashed and redesigned twice by mid-1939 and was overweight and under-powered when compared to the 1939 Alfa 158 and Maserati 4CL. Maserati and Alfa continued development throughout 1940 - Alfa as late as 1943: AFAIK the E-types just sat gathering dust until 1947 when Leslie Johnson bought the company. By which time Alfa and Maserati were into their second season of racing!

#211 Lola5000

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 22:43

When the ERA book 1st came out,i was about 18 odd years old.
Spent my savings/weeks wage on the book.
few weekends ago i was pleased to have breakfast with a current ERA owner.....great morning thanks Mac for your time and stories.

#212 Roger Clark

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 14:00

Why was ERA not that successful after the War? Was ist just because Raymond Mays moved to BRM?

I think that everything Fuzzi and Vitesse2 said is true, but I would add that Raymond Mays' presence would have made very little difference whatever the circumstances.

#213 JBaxter

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 15:40

I think that everything Fuzzi and Vitesse2 said is true, but I would add that Raymond Mays' presence would have made very little difference whatever the circumstances.


Roger, I'm a little surprised by your comments but also new to this part of ERA history. Could you expand on your post please?

Cheers,
JB

#214 Roger Clark

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 17:37

Roger, I'm a little surprised by your comments but also new to this part of ERA history. Could you expand on your post please?

Cheers,
JB

I think Mays was very good at conceiving a project and getting people to contribute financially and technically. He was not an engineers and contributed little to the design and development of the cars, and seems to have contributed little of value to the management of the company. This seems to have been true of his time at both ERA and BRM. He was a good driver at his level but unproven in Grands Prix.

As has been said, the withdrawal of Humphrey Cook's sponsorship spelt the end for ERA but the death of Murray Jamieson was also a serious loss.

#215 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 18:17

Succinctly put, Roger!

Closing lines of a letter from Humphrey Cook to Raymond Mays, 1944, quoted in "BRM Vol 1": DCN calls it a stun grenade!

You say that ERA was made possible by all three of us. I quite agree, but it came to grief not through all three of us but through two of us &, in my own defence, I have to say that I was not one of the two.

Hoping you are all well at Bourne.

Mays' whitewashing of his latter days at ERA - and particularly of his role in the E-type project - in his autobiography "Split Seconds" has to be viewed in the light of the fact that he would not have wanted people to associate its failure with himself and Peter Berthon at a time when the V16 BRM was going through its well-publicised (and unduly protracted) birth.

#216 Doug Nye

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 21:58

Ahem - OK, I'll put my neck on the block. There was a widespread view within the British motor racing world of the era that RM was a decent (if highly theatrical) driver who was also a conman who talked a good project, PB was an unqualified but patchily capable engineer who was also a conman liable to be rather more crooked than RM...while Humphrey Cook was their hapless, trusting, naive, victim. That became Cook's own view circa late-1938/early-1939. The competitive success of ERA was in no small part attributable to the input of Reid Railton, Murray Jamieson, Ralph Beauchamp/Beecham (too comfy and lazy right now to check) and the specialist input of the better private owners' own engineers and mechanics. There were other reasons for a large proportion of the British motor racing world showing such disregard for PB, RM and to a large extent ERA in general, and most of those related to commercial misdemeanour and misrepresentation...some of it to what is today described as homophobic prejudice. From the comfortable range of 70-80 years RM and PB were in many ways very much better chaps than their many detractors would ever have credited. But they were in truth never the shining knights on white chargers that their many less-involved contemporary supporters were encouraged to believe.

DCN

#217 JBaxter

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 00:42

He did have a lot of race retirements to his name, but also a couple of Grand Prix wins as well to be fair?

Forgive me, I'm learning and have also competed for the Mays Berthon Trophy a few times at VSCC Prescott, a trophy I think Kindly donated by Mac H, so its interesting to learn about these guys.

#218 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:05

He did have a lot of race retirements to his name, but also a couple of Grand Prix wins as well to be fair?

Mays only ever drove a pukka Grand Prix car once - a Talbot in the 1939 French GP. When considering his voiturette wins sur le continent you have to bear in mind that these were essentially contests between private entrants and only ERA consistently ran a works team during the mid-1930s. Maserati dipped in and out, but their approach changed from year to year, and once both Maserati and Alfa Romeo started taking the class seriously at the end of the decade ERA were already a spent force.

ERA (for which read Mays and Berthon) were over-ambitious: trying to run a works team as well as service private owners was way beyond their capabilities and the most successful ERA drivers like Bira, Seaman, Dobson and Tongue generally had their own operations away from Bourne to maintain and develop their cars. To a certain extent, Mays himself suffered from that too. Also, the works ERAs never raced in Italy, so there were only occasional encounters between them and the best Maserati drivers.

The opposition in three of Mays' wins in Europe was pretty negligible and although his win in the 1935 Eifelrennen is usually considered his best, other than the works and private ERAs it was a thin field in terms of quality. Most organisers would not have allowed him to take over Cook's car to compete in the second heat at Albi in 1937. That leaves his two wins at Péronne, again mostly against privateers, and although in 1937 he did beat René Dreyfus in a works Maserati in a straight fight there, he won the 1938 event purely thanks to the fact that R4D was the most powerful car in the field that didn't break down: the race could just as well have gone to Bira in Hanuman had he not retired early with a blown engine.

To be fair, Raymond Mays was a more than competent pedaller in hillclimbs, especially at Shelsley Walsh, where he was inch-perfect, but a 40-second blast up a hill isn't really comparable to the effort needed to win a 200 mile race. If ERA had stuck to providing customer cars or only run a works team then they could (and should) have been more successful - trying to do both just meant that ultimately they succeeded at neither. :well:

#219 RogerFrench

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 17:10

..... ultimately they succeeded at neither.


A bit harsh, maybe? I suppose it depends how you measure success, and that in turn depends on expectation, doesn't it? In the 30s did anyone really expect a British team to challenge the "Continentals" at single-seater road racing at the highest level?

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#220 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 18:16

A bit harsh, maybe? I suppose it depends how you measure success, and that in turn depends on expectation, doesn't it? In the 30s did anyone really expect a British team to challenge the "Continentals" at single-seater road racing at the highest level?

Harsh? Perhaps. But the works ERAs were pretty unreliable in both 1935 and 1936. Seaman's and Bira's - maintained elsewhere - were not. And I think we can pretty much ascribe the three works victories in 1937 to the extra horses delivered by their Zoller blowers, which nobody else had.

ERA wins in Europe 1935-38 (works entries in red)

1935
Eifelrennen - Mays
Prix de Berne - Seaman
Masaryk GP - Seaman
1936
Coupe Rainier - Bira
Picardy GP - Bira
Albi GP - Bira
1937
Valentino GP - Bjornstad
Avusrennen - Martin
Picardy GP - Mays
Albi GP - Cook/Mays
Prix de Berne - Dobson

1938
Picardy GP - Mays

Dobson's win in Berne could be seen as a fortuitious one for the works team, since he had only been engaged on a temporary basis due to Howe's injuries. If they had retained him in 1938 they might have won another race or two - although they were already sinking too much time, effort and money into the doomed E-type.

The works cars had other victories in the British Isles, but never against Continental opposition.

#221 Doug Nye

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 22:46

I believe it is quite correct to recall that British enthusiasts of the mid-to-late 1930s and to a slightly lesser extent of the later 1940s absolutely revelled in ERA succeses. This was perfectly natural considering that, ever since Sunbeam's heyday in the mid-1920s, British cars had ranked nowhere in Formula racing. In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king...and for a generation of our predecessors ERA was the only king in sight; by British standards, outstanding - by Italian standards...OK, considering...

In a debate such as this the relative stature of the Austin factory team, and of MG's best, is surely worth considering.

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 13 February 2013 - 22:49.


#222 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 23:39

In a debate such as this the relative stature of the Austin factory team, and of MG's best, is surely worth considering.

DCN

The original pocket rockets! Austins went about it entirely professionally in a way ERA never could and MG never did - the latter an enormous missed opportunity, since the Q and R-types both had great potential. Lord Nuffield really should have known better (IMHO). Plus of course the fact that both companies were forever being rumoured to be building ERA-beaters. I wonder if we will ever know the truth about the Murray Jamieson 1500cc Austin or the MG S-type ...

#223 RogerFrench

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 17:35

Austin and MG were professional works teams. ERA were enthusiastic amateurs in comparison, and I look at them in that light, and reckon they did pretty well.

I wouldn't want the thread to drift too far, but if Lord Nuffield hadn't pulled the plug, and if Murray Jamieson hadn't died, and and and...

#224 Roger Clark

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 09:52

The 2013 ERA Club Newsletter has recently been published. It contains 64 pages of news and historical articles which will be of interest to anybody with an interest in these cars. The contents are:

Changes to ERA Ownership
Obituaries
The 2012 ERA Club Annual Reunion dinner
Historic Photographs
Leslie Brooke
Douglas Briault
The ERA Cylinder Head Project
Rivals to ERAs: Bert Hadley's Austin Seven Twin Cam
Seaman Trophies - 1968, 1969 and 1970
R4A in Rhodesia
Hearsay - December 1938 (Hearsay was the pre-war ERA club newsletter)
ERAs in 2012: Summary and Highlightd
ERA Competition Results: 2012
ERAs in Action 2012

It is ably edited by several former TNF members; strongly recommended and well worth the annual subscription. I spotted only one statement of which I wasn't sure. Membership details can be found on the club's website.

http://www.eraclub.co.uk

#225 JBaxter

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 19:22

I spotted only one statement of which I wasn't sure. Membership details can be found on the club's website.

http://www.eraclub.co.uk



Here here. A great publication.
Come on, what's the statement you were not sure about?

Seven ERAs are out playing next Saturday at Silverstone. Be there.

#226 JBaxter

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 19:22

I spotted only one statement of which I wasn't sure. Membership details can be found on the club's website.

http://www.eraclub.co.uk



Here here. A great publication.
Come on, what's the statement you were not sure about?

Seven ERAs are out playing next Saturday at Silverstone. Be there.

#227 JBaxter

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 19:22

I spotted only one statement of which I wasn't sure. Membership details can be found on the club's website.

http://www.eraclub.co.uk



Here here. A great publication.
Come on, what's the statement you were not sure about?

Seven ERAs are out playing next Saturday at Silverstone. Be there.

#228 Roger Clark

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 20:05

A very minor point and nothing to do with ERAs, nor motor racing for that matter. I only mentioned it in a vain attempt to wind up the editor.

Looking forward to seeing you all next Saturday.

#229 Davidson10

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 18:29

News from the VSCC regarding the 80th Anniversary ERA race at April Silverstone

http://www.vscc.co.u...?newsItemID=290



#230 D-Type

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 23:07

I wonder how many of the 17 + 2 + 2 ERAs will be there this time.  How many ERA-engined cars are/were there? I can think of the ERA-Delage, Bob Gerard's Cooper-ERA, the RRA, and .....


Edited by D-Type, 23 February 2014 - 23:08.


#231 Allan Lupton

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 08:59

I wonder how many of the 17 + 2 + 2 ERAs will be there this time.  How many ERA-engined cars are/were there? I can think of the ERA-Delage, Bob Gerard's Cooper-ERA, the RRA, and .....

Keith Knight used to race what was referred to as "the ERA-Riley" which he still owned, last time I noticed it/him.



#232 D_M_J

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 23:16

I can't really add anything in terms of knowledge or history here, just enjoying the read...
 
But last year I spent some time finishing a personal (fun) project of some cutaway illustrations of an ERA (based on R1A) and a short animation, may not be 100% technically accurate, but might be of interest...  :)

 

 

Larger version - http://vimeo.com/53883719



#233 Alan Cox

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:57

Your 'animation' link was passed to me a few days ago by a fellow TNFer and I have enjoyed it immensely. A very impressive piece of work, David. Thank you.



#234 Michael Ferner

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 10:59

Yes, very impressive, and I enjoyed it, too! I can't even begin to imagine the time you spent in making this "video", and in a way it's scary, too: "artificial reality" has become so much better over time, at some point nobody will be able to tell the difference!



#235 D_M_J

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 12:52

^^^ Thank you, both!  I try not to think about the time it takes :lol:  I had a couple of weeks 'building' the ERA, then thought it best to stop counting the hours... Glad it was of some interest anyway.

 

Cheers,

David 



#236 David Beard

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 13:00

I can't really add anything in terms of knowledge or history here, just enjoying the read...
 
But last year I spent some time finishing a personal (fun) project of some cutaway illustrations of an ERA (based on R1A) and a short animation, may not be 100% technically accurate, but might be of interest...  :)

 

 

I think that's just brilliant!



#237 Alan Cox

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 14:48

Don't forget the E.R.A. 80th anniversary race at next weekend's Silverstone 'Spring Start' meeting

It is anticipated that a dozen of the cars and their ERA-engined cousins will contest the race with a further five on static display

http://www.vscc.co.u...?newsItemID=323


Edited by Alan Cox, 06 April 2014 - 14:49.


#238 arttidesco

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 12:44



Don't forget the E.R.A. 80th anniversary race at next weekend's Silverstone 'Spring Start' meeting

It is anticipated that a dozen of the cars and their ERA-engined cousins will contest the race with a further five on static display

http://www.vscc.co.u...?newsItemID=323

04_DSCN0201sc.jpg

 

Won by Mark Gilles aboard the green wheel lifting 1934 ERA seen leading the ERA 11B of David Morris which retired leaving Nicholas Topliss in the #5 blue ERA R4A to finish second.

 

Trying to dot an i and cross a t, would I be correct in thinking that the Humphrey Cook who drove  the Bentley #TX3246 entered by HW Cook in the 1928 TT and the Humphrey Wyndham Cook who financed and raced ERA 's are one and the same ?



#239 Vitesse2

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 13:10

Indeed you would, Ralph. The friendship/rivalry between Cook and Mays went back a long way and they had often competed against each other in the 1920s: Cook had at one time owned what became the Vauxhall Villiers aka the Villiers Supercharge and he certainly ran a succession of cars during that era.

 

My own feeling is that - as with so much in his autobiography - Mays played down Cook's involvement in order to make himself appear more important. Unlike certain other events and people he couldn't ignore Cook completely but I don't think Humphrey gets as much credit as he deserves!



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#240 arttidesco

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 13:16

Thanks V2, at some point I'll be doing some ERA blogs to mark the 80th Anniversary, but before that I have #TX3246 to write about and the HW Cook connection seemed a potential pot hole :up: 



#241 arttidesco

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 13:05

IMG_2493sc.jpg

 

A bit of a Hovis moment.

 

I think this might be ERA 9B listed to be driven by Heinz Bachmann, but it appears he decided to race his Rigling Buick on Super Saturday instead.



#242 Alan Cox

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 18:04

Alas, no, Ralph. It's R4A. R9B wasn't present.



#243 arttidesco

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 20:19

Alas, no, Ralph. It's R4A. R9B wasn't present.

 

Thanks Alan, Silverstone Classic Prog amended citing 'TNF ERA Thread Post #242' :up:



#244 cooper997

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 04:13

From an era when colour was expensive and talented artists would brighten up a magazine cover with a little trade support. In this instance July 7, 1948 The Motor, with Raymond Mays R4D at Shelsley Walsh by Roy Nockolds.

 

1948_The_Motor_ERA.jpg
upload image

 

Stephen



#245 Jeff Weinbren

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 05:01

Anyone know who the owner/driver was of R4A?. Entry doesn't appear to be in the programme.

Thanks in advance,

Jeff.



#246 arttidesco

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 06:58

Anyone know who the owner/driver was of R4A?. Entry doesn't appear to be in the programme.

Thanks in advance,

Jeff.

 

Unfortunately I don't, but in post #238 above I noted Nicholas Topliss drove ERA R4A at the VSCC Spring Start meeting might that be a clue ?



#247 Roger Clark

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 07:58

http://www.eraclub.c...tion405354.html

#248 Alan Cox

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 15:56

Anyone know who the owner/driver was of R4A?. Entry doesn't appear to be in the programme.

Thanks in advance,

Jeff.

R4A wasn't racing and, hence, didn't get a mention in the programme. It was, however, present to take part in the lunchtime parade on Sunday, driven by owner Nick Topliss.



#249 cooper997

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 03:47

I've checked through this thread and it appears there's a slight imbalance that the Weguelin / White Mouse Editions bible is often mentioned, but never shown. Of course many will have a copy, but I dare say a few haven't seen a copy.

I first saw the slipcased 'The history of English Racing Automobiles Limited' at McGills in Elizabeth St, Melbourne - not long after it was published. It was a stunning production with gorgeous enamel ERA replica grille badge adorning it and an equally stunning price. It was going to take a lot of weeks saving my $7 a week paper round pittance. As you can imagine it didn't happen.

Fast forward to around year 2000 and I finally took the plunge and procured a standard edition from Tony Johns, but inflation meant I wasn't paying the 1981 McGills price. Then about 2 years later, I happened to arrive at Tony's to find an even rarer B Bira-signed leather edition. With 2 previous owners and both in the motoring book trade. I can tell you that was indeed a lot of 'paper rounds' to pay for it.

image.jpg
image upload
Standard edition - book & slipcase.

image.jpg
how to screenshot on windows
Leather edition - slipcase & book.

Stephen

#250 exhillclimber

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 09:15

R4A wasn't racing and, hence, didn't get a mention in the programme. It was, however, present to take part in the lunchtime parade on Sunday, driven by owner Nick Topliss.

3 ERAs plus Riley MPH ERA entered for Shelsley Walsh next weekend.