The Sports E.R.A.
THE E.R.A. would have been produced as a, sports car if poor Murray Jamieson had not been killed when the Delage ran into the .spectators at the last International Trophy Race. Jamieson, who designed the Roots supercharger used on the earlier E.R.A. engines and who evolved the wonderful little o.h.c. racing Austins, set himself three major tasks when he laid out the sports E.R.A.. These were publicly announced in ” Speed ” in 1987 and in no other paper. They were : a speed of Well over 100 m.p.h. with closed body work, approximately 20 m.p.g., and an ability to serve for 100,000 miles without decarbonisation. To achieve his aim Jamieson decided. to use a 4-litre push-rod o.h.v. six-cylinder engine. The crankshaft ran in four bearings and cooling was by pump, with high-speed flow round the cylinder head. Crankcase and cylinder block were a single casting of light alloy, with wet cylinder liners. Lubrication was on a semidry sump system, with thermostatic temperature control, the main sump being alongside the crankcase and the smaller one in the conventional position. The main sump was carefully shaped to guard against oil surge away from the pump when braking and accelerating. It was planned to use a thin lubricant, running normally at an oil temperature of 90° C. The two valves per cylinder were vertically disposed in a slab combustion space and, after experiments with twin plugs, a single plug per cylinder and coil ignition were decided on. Wide-gap ignition was to have been experimented with. The engine had two carburetters and peaked at 4,500 r.p.m. A separate gearbox was used, with synchro-mesh on all gears, and a direct drive third speed of 4.0 to 1, in which 95 m.p.h. was claimed. Top was an overdrive of 3.25 to 1, aimed to collect a gait of 115 m.p.h., “according to conditions.” The gearbox had pressure lubrication and the synchro-mesh cones were 5″ in diameter. The suspension was independent all round, that at the front having linkage similar to the racing chassis, but using coil springs instead of torsion bars. It was said to be free from kick, and to give constant castor, trail and camber, and to be aperiodic. The brakes would probably ultimately have been of E.R.A.’s own four-shoe design. Only a saloon was to be made initially, to sell at £800. Why bring all this up ? Because someone up in Nottingham, according to a fantastic rumour that is sailing round, is alleged to have walked into a local cycle shop and said, “Please, have you an E.R.A. ? and to have been presented with this engine, gearbox, and spares
enough to build up two more, and—wait for it—a completely hush-hush 5-litre Grand Prix KRA. engine. It sounds fantastic, but we believe there is a good deal of truth in it. The 5-litre, about which the buyer will tell us nothing, is said to have been sold to a well-known racing driver, while the 4-litre is retained and the owner’s perpetual inquiry since finding it is : ” Where did the chassis go ? ” It reminds us of something quite different. A scrap. metal merchant heard of a two-cylinder, rear-engined, friction-drive G.W.K. for sale and went to get it. He found it in good order, with petrol in the tank and evident signs of having been run ver recently, but
with the drive disconnected from the friction mechanism to the rear axle. Asked why this was, the owner replied : ” Oh ! I use it as a knife-cleaner.” And he really did !
On the 11th of last month another enthusiasts’ party happened at the ” Rembrandt,if for a more important purpose. in the mind of Capt. Desmond R.A.O.C., than that which the Vintage, KR.A. and Bugatti Clubs held at the same place a week earlier ; it was the occasion of Capt, Hall’s marriage
to Walter Norton’s sister. Also present were Peter and Ariel Clark, Joan Brotchie, Howard Koppenhagen and Gordon Wilkins. We are glad Koppenhagen is about again after his long illness. He, Norton and Derek Loader were, of course, responsible for the ” Jabberwock ” team of Ford V8’s which had such a splendid rim of successes in trials and rallies before the war.
If you have enjoyed the “Veteran Types” articles which have appeared at intervals in Mown SPORT for the past ten years, will you please help to save historic,
interesting, or merely unique cars from destruction by sending details of any that you find for disposal to the Register which is suggested elsewhere in this issue ? Thank you !
Last month we associated Douglas Tubbs, through a In pse of memory, with a rather scandalous story of what is alleged to have happened to some policemen who thought Major ” Goldie ” Gardner’s brakes were weak. This is definitely not Tubbs’s story and naturally he wants us to say so. Apologies !