Continuing the 80th Anniversary Celebration of English Racing Automobiles, ERA, today’s featured vehicle ERA R4A was the first to be built for a customer, South African P G Fairfield and it was the first to be built in 1935.
ERA R4A was originally painted white and fitted with a 1.1 litre 67 cui supercharged motor and in this form Patrick Fairfield won the Mannin Beg street race on the Isle of Man, the Nuffield Trophy at Donington Park and the Dieppe Grand Prix support race for Voiturettes.
After running the car in South African events in early 1936 Patrick returned R4A to the UK where it was fitted with a 1,500 cc / 91.5 cui motor. In this form Patrick and R4A recorded second place finishes in the British Empire Trophy at Donington Park and in the Picardy Grand Prix.
Patrick recorded three wins in South African events in 1937 before he was killed during the 1937 Le Mans 24 hours race. R4A was acquired by Norman Wilson with the smaller 1,100 cc / 67 cui motor fitted. Norman raced R4A mostly in South Africa up until the outbreak of the ’39 – ’45 war in which he would loose his life while serving in the South African Air Force.
Reg Parnell looked after R4A from 1942 to 1945 before selling her to Bob Gerard. When Bob Gerard appeared with R4A at Cockfosters, one of Britains earliest post war motoring events, in July 1945 it had several modifications to the radiator surround which would eventually enclose a smaller radiator.
In 1948 Bob fitted the 2 litre / 122 cui which is seen in these photographs, at some point he also had radius rods to the rear suspension of R4A, R6B and R14B though these have since been removed from all three cars.
After ten years of ownership Bob sold R4A to John McAfee in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, and the following year it went to Jimmy de Villiers in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. During this period in Southern Africa up to the mid 1960’s R4A is said to have been fitted with a unspecified Chevrolet motor for a short time.
I believe R4A is currently owned by NJ Topliss and is seen in these photo’s with James Baxter at the wheel during last years VSCC Prescott meeting.
Thanks for joining me on this “All Sizes Including Chevy” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again for Maserati Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !