Before the Second World War, Raymond Mays established an
outstanding reputation in sprints and hill climbs with such diverse cars as
the Bugatti Brescia, supercharged AC, Vauxhall-Villiers and Riley.
Mays' success with the 1500cc Riley led to a proposal from Humphrey Cook that he should finance the development of a new British supercharged single-seater to run in the 1500 cc Voiturette category and to be based on Mays’ car.
The result was the ERA (English Racing Automobiles) built and developed by Mays and his friend Peter Berthon in premises adjoining Mays' home at Bourne in Lincolnshire.
The new car incorporated a chassis designed by the great
Reid Railton and with supercharging developed by Murray Jamieson.
After early teething troubles the cars enjoyed much success in Britain and on the continent. A total of 17 cars were built between 1934 and 1938.
Between 1946 and 1950 Mays raced, sprinted and hill-climbed
in the ERA. He won the British Hill Climb Championship in 1946, 1947 and 1948.
He is seen here in the R4D at Shelsley Walsh hill climb in June 1948 when he the set fastest time of the day of 37.89 seconds.
As Mays became increasingly involved in the disastrous
and unsuccessful BRM V16 project, he had less and less opportunity to compete
The car was sold to Ron Flockhart who raced it in 1952 and 1953. The R4D was later sold to Ken Wharton, another BRM driver, who used it in hill climbs.
ERA R4D specification (1948)
Engine: 4-cylinder push-rod overhead valve with two camshafts mounted high in the cylinder block, 1950cc (62.5 x 107 mm) developing 250 bhp at 6500 rpm. Gearbox: 4-speed pre-selector. Chassis: Channel-section with independent front suspension by trailing arms and torsion bars and rear suspension by rigid axle suspended on semi-elliptic leaf springs.
Wheelbase: 8ft 0in. Front track: 4ft 4.5in. Rear track: 4ft 0in.
Unladen weight:14.5 cwt.