English Racing Automobiles, or ERA, was founded by Humphrey Cook, Raymond Mays, and Peter Berthon in November 1933 and started to produce racing cars in 1,500 cc voiturette class in 1934. In 1934 4 cars designated as ERA A were built designed by peter Berthon and Reid Railton. Cars were powered by 3 types of 6-cylinder engines (1.0, 1.5 and 1,9 L) with Roots supercharger. 1.5 L engine corresponding to voiturette regulations was capable of 175 bhp at 6500 rpm. In 1935 13 more cars were built designated as ERA B. The A and B were absolutely identical and differed only in year of production. ERA C and D series were built in 1937 and 1938 respectively. ERA cars quickly became very popular in Britain, and constituted the significant part of the starting grin in many local and international voiturette and Grand Prix racing until 1950. One of the most successful and capable voiturette driver of the period was the member of Thai royal family Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh known as Prince Bira. He arrived to UK in 1927 to complete his education at age of 13. In 1935 Bira’s cousin and legal guardian Prince Chula Chakrabongse established a racing team and gave Bira one of his new ERA cars (R2B chassis). The car was painted in the national racing colors of Siam (pale blue with yellow) and was christened “ Romulus”. Bira quickly became one of the best voiturette drivers with the record of 11 victories in 1936-1939, including 8 wins in “Romulus”. His second cars, R5B “Remus”, was painted in the same colors, but was less successful. Third Siam blue and yellow ERA (R12B) named “Hanuman” also was driven by Bira to several trophies in 1938-1939. The Matchbox 1:35 scale model of the 1980s is from “Models of Yesteryear” series. The same model is also available in black color as raced by British driver Richard Seaman in 1935.
|Prince Bira||4||Prince Chula of Siam|
|1:35||Matchbox||Models of Yesteryear|