ERA 427

Frequently Asked Questions

Era Replica Automobiles

Mailing Address

608-612 E. Main St.
New Britain, CT 06051
Tel: 860-224-0253

Visit Us Here

24 Dewey St.
New Britain, CT 06051

It's really best to read all the F.A.Q.s, but if you're impatient, you can jump directly to some special areas using the index!

When I receive the standard kit, what will it look like?

It looks like a car without the suspension and interior!  The standard kit is shipped with the body (including doors, trunk and hood) pre-fit and mounted to the chassis. All the lights are installed, and the windshield is mounted. The foot-boxes, floors and interior bulkheads are fit. The fuel tank with filler pipe and cap are also installed. The suspension, wiring and interior are packed in boxes.

Small kit image
Can I buy the kit in stages?  The frame first, and then the body?

Sorry, no. We custom fit each body to the chassis to insure that everything will line up correctly. Frankly, we are much better at this than you could be, and we want to keep the final quality high. Besides, too many people have an unrealistic view of how much the project will cost and would end up with a permanent dust catcher/bad investment in their garage.  Not our style.  We like our kits to be finished!  We will, however, do just about anything above our standard kit, so you can get exactly what you want.. Here's an example we've just put together, recorded by the customer.

We've listed some sample kits here.  If you're want ERA to supply every single part, this (slightly old) list (done for a customer) will show how it's done.


"All three are good cars. The quality of the finished
product is dependant (sic) on the builder."
(A quote from someone
on ClubCobra.)

With some kits, that's the case.  But - because an E.R.A. is so complete, and the engineering so thorough, it's pretty hard to build an inferior car.  Use quality mechanical components, and the resale value of your finished kit will make you very happy.

I suppose you could do a poor paint job.


DESIGN

Why did we use a rectangular-tube chassis?

Find out here!

Thumbnail chassis

What's so special about the E.R.A. 427?

The E.R.A. 427 was designed from the beginning to look exactly like the original car, but without many of the original Shelby's shortcomings. We have strengthened the chassis, improved the body mounting and material, and thoroughly refined the suspension to make a better street car.

Just how close to the original look is it?

We've duplicated the outside shape, interior details and even the look of the engine compartment.  And check out this profile comparison.

You don't use a donor car?

No. We felt that there would have been too many compromises to the basic design, performance and visual effect.  While the potential to save money is there, there's also a whole bunch of dirty work involved in the process of disassembly, cleaning, and replacing used parts.  Just ask the people at FFCobra Forum.

Why don't you use somebody else's front suspension?

There were no off-the-shelf suspensions that met all our design criteria for both the front and rear suspension. Instead, we selected components that could be integrated the way we wanted them to. We were able to match the roll centers with the line of the front and rear center of gravity.  The alternatives we didn't like were:

  • Mustang II, etc.  Lousy geometry, small brakes, solid rear axle, but cheap.
  • Jaguar (front): Lousy geometry, small brakes, expensive, but pretty.

What about the Corvette suspension?

Corvette  ('84-on) suspension is lovely stuff, but presents several problems:  

  1. Pin drive wheels cannot be easily accommodated with the late model's integral wheel bearings.  Our ERA GT must replace the Corvette uprights and bearings with completely custom pieces.  Can you say "expensive"?
  2. In the front, using the Corvette control arms requires an extremely short steering gear.  We could use an aftermarket unit like Appleton or Sweet, but these are not meant to go tens-of-thousands of miles, and their straight cut gears allow too much feedback for the street.
  3. In the back, the Corvette track is much too wide.  The half-shafts and lower control arms have to be changed.  That's no big deal, but... the cast aluminum differential cover, which also acts as the mounting bracket for the entire assembly, would have to be extensively modified or replaced too.  There is also a strength issue with the differential.  Only the LT-1 differential would be as strong as the Jag.  It uses the same Dana 44 gear set.
  4. There is a problem fitting the later Corvette 12" brakes into 15" pin-drive wheels.  They don't.  On our GT, we use only 11.5" rotors on our custom hubs.  (This is not so bad on a car with only 40% of the weight on the front.).  Since you can't easily modify the hubs to move the caliper in, you're stuck with the earlier, smaller brake calipers that were used only a couple of years.
  5. Thought you could get away using the stock shock and spring?  Sorry!  The leaf spring is too long.  We could either make a new composite spring - an interesting proposition - or go to coil-overs.  This requires making a new shock bracket on the hub carrier.  More complication.

Small RS pictureWhy is the rear suspension in a subframe?

E.R.A. is unique in using a subframe on every one of our roadsters.  The subframe does several thing.:  It isolates the differential noise and vibration from the chassis while still giving positive location to the suspension arms.  It makes servicing easier. It also lets us use trailing arms to locate the lower control arms as originally designed. Without trailing arms, the lower control arms are put into bending modes that they were never designed for, allowing excessive toe change with power and braking forces.  Contemporary Classics' (now the defunct Burtis Motorcars) replica has an optional Watts link system that partially compensates for this - for about $1500!  Our subframe also makes it easier to service the assembly. The rear suspension can be built as a unit outside the car for convenience, and installed into the chassis in less than an hour.  Even our optional "track" suspension is in a subframe.

Is the Jag differential strong enough?

You bet!  The Jaguar piece is a Salisbury made unit that uses Dana 44 gears. It was used (with a slightly different casting) in the original 427. The few problems some people have encountered resulted from drag strip events while using high-traction slicks. And that particular weakness can be cured with available high-strength stub axle shafts available from Concours West.  Remember!  You can only exert so much traction in a car that weighs 2600 lbs., even with over 50% of the weight on the rear axle.  We've looked at the much vaunted Ford 9".  I doesn't offer any advantages - and it costs more.

What about the rest of the pieces? I've heard that the Jag axles break.

See here for how we modify the Jaguar pieces.

You use the half-shaft as the upper control arm?

Yes.  Because the axle is much stronger than any control arm could be, and we modify it (see above link) to be fail-safe, there's no reason not to use it as a working member.  The axle has proved to be absolutely reliable in more than 800 cars.  

That dual-use saves weight, space and complication. 

Can't I use a solid rear axle?

Because of the engine placement, the drive-shaft would end up too short for adequate wheel travel.  Some other solid-axle kits limit the total travel to under 2".  While this might be OK for a race car, it is grossly inadequate for real streets (at least east of the Mississippi...).  We have 6.5" of travel at both the front and rear.  If you drive on less-than-perfect roads you will appreciate the "luxury" of an IRS.  A good independent suspension (like ours, of course) will give you excellent handling with a reasonable ride.  Remember, the original car had it - for a good reason! (If you want to see some real-life results of the solid axle, do a search on Cobraforum for "driveshaft".)

How about the Ford 9" differential?

There are several reasons that the 9" isn't the best choice.  The unit is not interchangeable with the Salisbury in our subframe and would require aftermarket calipers and a very Rube Goldberg emergency brake.  Also, the pinion offset is about 1.5" lower than the Salisbury, making the driveshaft angle down excessively.  Since the nine-inch wasn't designed for an IRS halfshaft, the conversions are quite expensive too.

Small ERA RSWhy do you have an optional rear suspension?

Many of our customers spend most of their driving time on the track.  While the Jag brakes are perfectly adequate for hard street use, they don't cool well under track conditions.  We took the time to re-design the whole assembly to move the brakes outboard and make them bigger.  We also changed the geometry a bit.  Extensive use of aluminum and a more efficient design makes the unit about 50 lbs lighter too.

Can I get a roller?

Sure! We don't have a standard package because of all the possibilities, but we can put together exactly what you are looking for.  The roller will  have all the parts installed and functional:  Typical cost is approximately $6000 plus your wheel choice, but the individual prices are listed here.

  • Front suspension, with adjustable coil-over dampers
    Optional anti-sway bar
  • Front brakes, complete and functional - Standard GM calipers on 11" vented rotors or
    optional 4-piston calipers on 12.2" vented rotors
  • New steering gear
  • ERA custom steering column and reproduction wheel by Moto Lita
  • Rear suspension - either Jag-based or our own ERA-design
    Optional anti-sway bar
  • Brake reservoir

What about all-wheel-drive? 

That's just too many mechanical parts to fit into a small car with a big engine!


How do you make the fiberglass body?

The main body, doors, trunk lid, hood and the inner panels are all hand-laid right here at our production facility.  We use a high-temperature low-shrink resin and the best quality fiberglass mat.  We don't use cloth because it will eventually print throug the gel coat and ruin the exterior paint's finish.

After the main shell is laid, it is rough trimmed.  Then it goes to the assembly shop where it is put in a jig where the inner panels are bonded and holes for the lights are cut.  Then, each body is hand-fit to its chassis so that you know that the doors, hood and trunk will function perfectly when you pick up your kit.

Do you offer an aluminum body?

Sorry, no.  While we use aluminum panels for most of the inner panels, we don't have an aluminum body skin.  For that, go to Kirkham Motorsports or Shelby American.  It is not practical to retrofit an aluminum skin to our chassis.

Why do you bond the body to the chassis?

The results are a stiffer overall structure, with no rattles, creaks or shakes. Our fiberglass bodies simply do not get stress cracks, even after many hard miles on the road. The process is a bit more work, but well worth it!   Some claim that their body is "unstressed" because it is rubber mounted to the chassis .  Wrong!  The outside shell must still be supported with inner panels or some other structure.  The effectiveness, thoroughness and method of that connection is what determines whether stress cracks appear.

Doesn't bonding the body to the chassis make it more difficult to work on?

Not really.  Our car, with its removable tunnel, is designed to be very easy to service.  In fact, every turn-key we do at the factory has the body bonded and painted before any of the mechanical bits are installed.  

What about stone chips from stones thrown up by the tires?

All our bodies have thickness added to the fiberglass (with Coremat© and an extra layer of glass) over the tires.  Many people also add vinyl protection or spray-on Chip Guard© on the front of the rear fenders to fend off stones thown from the front tires.

Does your kit use a "tubbed" interior?

No!  Except for the fiberglass footboxes (as used on the original car), the interior is built up of separate aluminum panels riveted and bonded to the chassis and to special flanges bonded to the door openings.  

In addition, the wheelhouse panels are all CNC-cut alumninum, protected on the visible side with plastic sheet so that they stay scratch-free during construction.  We use 0.050" thick Marine-grade (5052H32) aluminum throughout for the best resistance to staining and corrosion.  You can see what happens with a non-marine grade (6061) here.

Interior
In addition, the aluminum tunnel is removable for transmission and clutch service.

Why do you use separate aluminum floor and bulkhead panels?

We have tried to duplicate the original concept as much as possible, and avoid the "dune buggy syndrome" of a single interior shell. This is a bit more work to put together, but it saves weight and allows much more design flexibility. Our tunnel (fiberglass on the 427, aluminum on the FIA) is removable for service, and we have an access panel behind the seats for rear  (inboard only) brake service. Separate footboxes also allow us to create a stronger structure to support the cowl and door mounting hinges.

Is the roll bar functional?

While our (visual-duplicate-of-original) single-width roll bar, full-width bar and a dual roll bar configuration (at right).

doesn't meet current racing specifications, it is fully structural, bolting directly to the main frame rails.  We also offer a

Dual roll bar

How much does your car weigh?

The 427 weighs about 2600 lbs with an iron FE engine.  This is about 100 lbs more than an original car, put mostly into the stronger chassis. Some other kits claim much lower weights. What they don't tell you is that they are not using a big block where appropriate, the strength of their car is much lower, and they are missing a lot of pieces necessary for an authentic street car.  When you feel how solid our car is, you won't regret the slight extra weight! Additionally, many new aluminum engine parts are available, potentially taking another 200 lbs from the car.

What about the Superformance?

Superformance kits are only sold through dealers as a "turnkey minus".  That is, it includes everything (including paint) except for the engine and transmission.  It's quality is quite good, and they include many standard pieces.  Most people have their dealer complete their car, and for many, it's the best choice.

But for those who require the ultimate in design and quality, there's ERA. smile  We use much more aluminum for inner panels, have more original-design components, and many claim our body shape is better.  We've posted some more details here

Hey!  What about the new Shelby 4000 series Cobra?

As far as being a "good car", it seems to us that the 4000 series tends to combine some of the worst characteristics of the original car and a kit.  It retains the original chassis (except with heavier wall thickness), but puts a mediocre fiberglass or expensive aluminum body on top.  While the wheel housings are aluminum,  the interior panels on the fiberglass-bodied car are 'glass too.  Feedback from kit constructors indicates that it takes much more work to complete, too.  For instance, the "carpet" simply consists of a roll of material.  Not cut, not bound.  While the body is mounted on the chassis, all the inner panels seem to be just floating there.  A great deal of final assembly is expected of you.

Our car feels, looks and handles better.  The 4000 series does have Shelby's name on it, though.  Hopefully that's worth the extra $20 thou' that you'll spend   Or if you want to go further, you can get an aluminum body with the 4000.  About another 20 grand...  

Do you offer Right Hand Drive?

We don't have off-the shelf pieces to make an economical switch.  It's fairly easy to switch the steering and brakes, but the foot boxes will have to be custom made.  Figure in the thousand$.

DRIVE-TRAIN

What engine do you recommend?

Ford Engines Defined: A Small block Ford is within the 260/289/302/351 series.  The Big Block can be either an FE (360/390/427/428, vintage 61-68) or a 385 Series (429/460) after '69.  Each series is a completely different design.

Most people don't know that there was quite a mix of engines  (All FE series) put into the original cars.  Side-oiler 427s were mixed with center-oilers and stock 428 Super Cobra Jets.

 The side-oiler was a short stroke version of the FE, with an improved oiling system for high RPM NASCAR racing.  It only had a single 4bbl carburetor. The later cars used 428 engines with 2x4bbl carburetors. All the FE series look the same from the top, except for the carburetion.  

Dual quad 428

Dual-quad Holley carbs were used on the 428 engines and frequently retrofitted to the 427 Side-oiler.

Two good reference books are Big Block Ford Engines by Steve Christ, and Ford Performance by Pat Ganahl.  They are both available from the Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble on-line book stores.  Just search on the authors' names.


Horsepower was originally somewhat higher with the 427, but at the expense of diminished low speed torque. Because of the scarcity of very high octane gasoline (the 427 had 12.5:1 compression ratio), a current 427 rebuild is usually not much stronger at top RPM end than a well built 428.  A SOHC (Single OverHead Cam) variation of the 427 was built by Ford, primarily as a drag engine.  Huge ports allowed this engine to have more horsepower than any contemporary (circa 1967) engine,  but at some costs.  The new cylinder heads make this engine very wide, and not a very practical installation into a small roadster - but of course, it has been done.

The 427 Center Oiler is another alternative. This block retains the same bore and stroke of the side-oiler but retains the lubrication system of the 428. Found in a lot of boats, this engine as a core can be bought for much less than the side-oiler.

The 390 is the most economical FE engine. With the right parts, it can put out nearly the horse-power of a good 428. We also have mounts for the 429/460 engine, but because of the increased engine width, we must cut into the footboxes, stealing some foot room.

We have designed the car around the Ford FE engine, i.e. 390/427/428, but you can use other engines. Just remember, though. E.R.A. 427's are famous for having the right mechanical parts. If the time should come where you want to sell your car, an odd engine will probably make your car worth less. It's designed around that engine.

Customers have fit the FE engines with some interesting intake systems.  In order to keep under the hood (scoop), it's best to stay with low or medium-riser heads and stay away from tall intake manifold.  On the other hand, DCOE Webers will work if fitted with short intake stacks.  At least one ERA owner has converted to mass-flow fuel injection.

If you have your heart set on using a small block Ford, we recommend that you think about getting the 289FIA version that we offer.

What about the 429/460?

Ford Motorsport is offering very economical 429s, but their width requires custom-made foot boxes, wiring harness and primary exhaust pipes to fit the standard side pipes.  We do not support the hemi version of the 429.

What about the Ford Mustang 4.6L "Modular" (32 valve) engine?

We have installed  one of  these engines into an FIA (very similar) chassis. It was a difficult and expensive project, requiring new reduced-width footboxes, steering column and pedals. The oil-to-water intercooler must be removed from the block and a custom block-off plate made. New fuel feed and return lines must be made, and a very expensive wiring harness is required. Even more work than installing a SOHC!

See just how large the 4.6L engine is!

What about a Chevy?

Noooooo!  Mad face Seriously, we do have mounts for the Chevy, but we strongly discourage it.  We have only done a few (out of more than 700 cars), and a couple of those have been converted back!  We have done no detail development work with the "mouse" or "rat" engines except for the mounting system.  You will have to adapt the wiring harness, and make custom headers and clutch release system.  The Chevy engines, in addition, are significantly heavier than their Ford counterparts.  In our experience, when you sell the car, it will be valued almost as if it had no engine at all.

How do I find an engine builder?

Ask around your local Shelby or Ford club for someone local, or select from our own list of preferred  (local to ERA) builders.  

What's the best transmission to use?

With all Ford engines, you can use the original  Top-loader 4 speed (built by Dan Williams or David Kee) or the Richmond Gear 5 speed. The 4 speed is normally combined with a 3.54:1 or 3.31:1 differential ratio. The 5 speed has a direct drive 5th and works best with a 2.88:1 or 3.07:1 ratio for a better top gear cruising RPM.  A Tremec 500 or 600 5 speed can be used with all engines, using a 3.31 or 3.54:1 differential.

A Tremec TKO or TKO II 5 speed can be used with mild big blocks, using a 3.31 or 3.54:1 differential.  We do not support the Richmond Gear 6 speed or late-model Ford  T56 (modular-engined) transmission.

If you are using a Ford small block, both the above transmissions can be fit, plus the Tremec and certain variations on the T-5 as described here.

The "best" transmission for you depends on what you're going to do with the car.  For everyday driving, the Top-loader wide-ratio or Tremec may be the best choice for you.  Both offer a good starting gear, and the Tremec has an overdrive 5th gear for comfortable highway cruising.  The close-ratio Top-loader and Richmond Gear 5 speed are more performance-oriented, with gear spacing that keeps the engine's rpm's within a narrower range. Specific gear ratio combinations are listed here.

While we haven't done many kits with them, you may also specify chassis mounts for a C-4 or C-6 automatic.  We will eliminate the clutch pedal and move the brake pedal to the left on request. The radiator has no integral cooler, so you'll have to add an external one.

What about the shift handle and linkage?

The shift handle was angled forward in the original Shelby 427.  It looked odd, but it actually works very well. For those who don't want to make the pieces themselves, E.R.A. offers a reproduction handle and linkage for both the Top-Loader and the Richmond Gear 5 speed, and handles that bolt onto the Tremec and T-5.

What kind of clutch should I use?

Because the car is very light, a standard-pressure clutch is fine. Any slip will come (accidentally, of course) from the tires.

What are pin-drive wheels? <Pictures here!>

Pin drive hubThe original Shelby Cobra wheels used a single wing nut that secured each cast magnesium wheel. The power was transferred from the hub to the wheel by six pins. The 289/FIAs used a casting unique to the race cars. PS Engineering is now duplicating the original design in aluminum, with offsets that fit the E.R.A. cars.

The original 427 street cars used a Sunburst pattern and were 7" wide front and back. They are not replicated by any manufacturer, but some are available used.  The competition cars used an early GT40 design, 7 1/2" wide front, 9 1/2" rear. Our 427 pin-drive wheels duplicate the GT40 design, but cast in aluminum. For day-to-day use on the street, magnesium corrodes quickly and requires a great deal of maintenance.

If you want 17" pin-drive wheels, they are available from PS Engineering.  Also available are new 5 pin wheels.  Externally, they are identical to the GT40 design, but they are mounted on adapters and driven by 5 pins that double as lug nuts.  They are about $1000 cheaper than the original 6 pin system that we sell.

What are the other wheel alternatives?

For the 427, there are many bolt-on wheels that have the "Halibrand" look at reasonable prices.  Check out Team III Wheels and others.  Offset specifications are available here for various width and diameter wheels.

What size tires do you recommend?

For the 427, we like to use 235/60-15 in the front, 295/50-15 in the rear.  These sizes duplicate the original cars' outside diameters.  This makes the car look "right".
Avon
(U.K.) now has 15" V rated tires in 245/60 and 295/50 sizes.  They are not  yet being officially imported into the US.

In the USA,  the best performance tires are only available in 17" wheel diameters.  Our 427 will accept 275-40-17 in the front, 335-35 -17in the rear.  That's a lot of rubber!

  Tire diameter calculator

17


Spare tire How about a spare tire?

With a bolt-on wheels, you can use a GM-pattern wheel with a standard (small) tire.  With pin-drive wheels, we offer a special narrow wheel that mounts the smaller tire.  Remember, though - use of different diameters of tires on a limited-slip rear-end is only very temporary! 

Most people, in order to maintain the full trunk space, will simply carry a couple of cans of Fix-a-Flat and a cell phone.

What kind of brakes do you use?

In the front we use 11" diameter x 1" wide vented rotors with floating calipers. These were originally mounted on the front of much heavier cars and are more than adequate for street use.  12.1" and 12.8" rotors with Forged 4-piston Wilwood calipers are optional.

In the rear 10.5" diameter x 1/2" thick rotors are mounted inboard to reduce unsprung weight.  10.5" vented rotors are optional.  If you get our optional rear suspension, the standard brakes are 11.75" OD x .81"T vented (outboard) rotors.

Our pedals are mounted directly on the chassis, below floor level, like the original, with aluminum pivoting faces.

Like the original, we don't use a booster in the system. The pedal pressure is moderate but very positive.

What about the exhaust system?

The "Classic" 427SC had competition pipes under the doors.  Being real race cars, the finish was not particularly important, and they were typically painted with a simple high temperature paint - usually white (see the top picture), sometimes black.  No gloss, and the paint didn't stand up very well.  On the other hand, a simple spray can would rejuvenate the pipes. Some people, wanting a more durable finish, have there pipes ceramic coated.  Central CT Coatings does ours.  Several colors are available, but the silver stands up best.  However - because the standard steel pipes use a fiberglass packed internal muffler, the pipes will have to be replaced eventually - if you can't tolerate them getting very loud.  You can also chrome the pipes.

The best long-term solutions (and the most expensive) are stainless steel pipes.  They are internally baffled so should last a lifetime.  They will turn slightly yellow from the heat, but that's removeable with polish.

3 Variations on the side pipes

Street-Style Cars

Some prefer the clean look: Under-car exhaust, no roll bar or hood scoop, with the street dash layout.  

The exhaust system shown at the right has an unusual exit, right in front of the rear wheel.  If you get our optional outboard-braked rear suspension, this configuration is manditory.  Otherwise the pipes can exit at the back.


The picture at the right (289) shows where the pipes normally exit. The exhaust duplicates the look of the original street car and is quiet under cruising conditions.  Ground clearance is about 4" under the tri-flow mufflers.  

You'll lose a bit of horsepower, though.

Is my car going to overheat?

Our standard 2 x 1.25" aluminum core radiator is oversized for practically any engine, including 500 cubic inch monsters. In traffic our standard electric fan will cool most mild big block engines (depending on your climate), and we offer several fan options to cool just about anything else.

You put the battery up front?

Our standard car mounts the battery on top of the passenger's footbox, in approximately the same place as an original street car.  Optionally, you can move the battery back into the trunk for more rear weight bias..  

The battery can be removed and replaced by removing the engine valve cover.

Front mounted battery

PERFORMANCE

How does the car go?

Depending on the engine, 0-60 MPH times will be from 4 to 6 seconds.

How does it stop?

Very well, thanks. Stopping distance from 60 MPH is about 135 ft. The brake balance is adjustable for personal tuning.  A car with stock brakes did 0-100mph-0 in 12.07 seconds.  You do the math!

How does the car ride?

Surprisingly well. Spring rates, while not exactly boulevard cruisers, are quite reasonable for such a high performance car. The fact that chassis flex is so low enhances the feeling of total control.   Everyone comes back from their first ride saying "This is a really nice car!"

The new owner commenting on kit #490 (built 10 years ago):
"I wish my Acura was this solid."

And another comment on Club Cobra

The suspension is so supple that the ride is comfortable even with 17" wheels.

How does the 427 compare to a modern sports car?

You're more in direct communication with the road. Without power steering, you feel much more - and it takes more effort to do things.   "Bite-wise", the car will stack up quite well to its equivalent new car.  Fitted with new rubber, the 427 will do over .95G with street suspension. And it doesn't bounce from bump to bump - there's plenty of suspension travel.  This is a car bred for Connecticut, where potholes are the ubiquitous companions.to our favorite back roads.

How about fuel economy and reliability?

You have to ask???  Seriously, the more "stock" the engine is, the better the mpg. You could get 14-18 mpg out of a low horsepower 390, but with 550 bhp, you'll probably get 8 mpg.  If you want the best reliability, stick with a stock engine.  Unless you throw a lot of money at an engine, higher horsepower will always result in higher maintenance.

Comfort

How about this for a quote? "Bob,

thanks for the info on car 191. The current owner has done some improvements to the engine and ignition. He loves the ride and says his friend who owns big block Corvettes says your ERA rides 10 times better! He even said it rides as well as his 85 5.0 Mustang!"

Because we've spent many years "standardizing" springs and dampers, you can be assured that you can have the same high level of comfort.

Do you have any interior ventilation?

We have footbox vents on both the drivers and passenger's side, controlled by separate dash knobs. Few other kits even offer ventilation.  In addition, we offer optional wheel-well vents so that the heat from the headers will be vented outside the engine compartment.

Can I drive it in the winter?

One person's experience:

"Bob, I saw your response to the fellow who wants to know how to drive in the winter and with what equipment. As you know I am going into my 3d winter of driving my 289. The top is on and the sidecurtains go in if it is particularly cold or inclement. I rarely use the heater/defroster, because the cockpit with the heat vent on is plenty warm. I have driven in snow, rain, and the dark of night. The ERA keeps on trucking. Tell the fellow to JUST DO IT!"

What's the difference between your standard vinyl seat and the optional leather ones?

Not a lot!  

Vinyl, up close.  The texture is actually a bit more "leather-like" than the leather shown at the right.  Few people can tell the difference.  Real leather's texture will vary from hide to hide, so the grain varies slightly from fine to slightly coarse.

Leather seat

The leather has a slightly softer feel and the characteristic smell.  On the other hand, it will require quite a bit more maintenance.  We buy the leather in whole hides, so that both seats come from the same hide and the texture will be consistant on both your seats.

I'm LARGE. Will I fit in your car?

Our cars have more room than any other standard wheelbase replica and will easily accommodate people up to 6'3". We have increased the length of the foot-boxes

about 2" over the original car and also have pedals that are adjustable.  For the most long-legged, we can substitute a larger clutch master cylinder to gain an additional 1.5" at the expense of more pedal pressure.  If you are very large, we recommend coming in for a butt-in-seat test.

For those with extra long upper torsos, we can adjust the amount of padding in the seat bottom to get you a bit closer to the floor.

The steering column is also adjustable up and down with spacers.

Compare these dimensions with your kit of choice!

Leg/footroom
Seating dimensions with standard layout

"I am 6'4" -- my ERA fits me like a glove. I did fly up there and have a butt in seat measurement test though, along with the pedals moved back which means a larger clutch master cylinder, less padding in the seat, lowered and moved back as well. And yes, I look square out the middle of the windshield, not like a "clown car" where you peer over the top. Here is a shot of my head driving away...".   

Pat T

#732 (6'4" tall)
Tall guy in car

Do you have a top?

Of course!  The optional top is a duplicate of the original, fastening to the windshield and the lift-a-dot fasteners on the rear cowl.  It uses a removable bow for support over the driver.  When not in use, the whole thing can be folded and stored in the trunk.   Some modifications are necessary if you have a roll bar. Side curtains are also available.

How's the trunk?

Fully finished and large enough for a weekend trip (as long as you don't change clothes too often!).  It might actually fit a golf bag as long as the total length is under 47".

Can I have a radio?

Yes, either on the tunnel or hidden in the (street dash) glovebox. There is space for 4 speakers - two at the footbox sides and two behind the seats.  Most people prefer to listen to the engine's music, however.

CHOICES

Why do you offer two different dashboards?

The original 427 (as opposed to the street 427) had the speedometer mounted in the center of the dash, and it didn't have a glove box. The street cars had the tachometer to the left of the steering column and used a glove box in front of the passenger. E.R.A. offers both layouts, and will install a glove box in a competition dash if you want one.

What kind of signal-light wand do you use?

The car is set up to use either a Triumph Spitfire wand or the original VW(!) switch on our reproduction steering column assembly.  The picture at the right shows an original setup, with the switch to the right of the column.  Many choose to mount the switch on the left.

What about the tail-lights on the 427?

The original 427 race cars had single rectangular lights like the earlier 289. The later street cars had round lights and separate reflectors. Our standard kit has the rectangular lights, with the round ones an option.

I've seen cars with different types of hood scoops. Which do you have?

The standard E.R.A. 427 kit comes with a plain hood (no scoop) and a separate scoop that can be riveted on - to duplicate the look of the original race car. The street car didn't use a scoop at all, but many were fitted with one afterward. For looks, some of the original scoops were faired in, but it never was, on a stock car. A hood with integral scoop is an option on the 427.

Why do your 427 fender flares look different from some of the cars I've seen?

The original Shelbys were all hand formed aluminum, and there was a great deal of variation from car to car - and even from side to side on the same car. As our standard flare, we chose what we thought was the most attractive variation. We will, however, change the rear flare to a more pronounced one if you wish (extra cost).  Here's a comparison of the flares.

What's that curved panel I see in some of the radiator openings?

The original street cars used an air splitter, supposedly to redirect air into the radiator. It was not used on the competition cars.

Can I get the chassis powder coated?

Yes.  A special chemical and impact resistant coating is baked on.  Very durable, and looks good too.

Splitter

Why do you offer a reverse-rotation Smiths speedometer?

It's impossible to know the exact distribution of the speedometers, but Computerworks offers his research on Club Cobra.

Did some digging on this one a while back...

It seems a few of the first Comp cars had standard rotation... the remainder of the Comps and S/Cs had reverse rotation.

It looks like the first production run of street 427s (CSX31xx) had standard speedos....and that CSX32xx and up had reverse ones.

This may not be 100% accurate, but it's close, based on early photos and current cars that appear to have original instrumentation.

CONSTRUCTING THE KIT

What do I have to fabricate?

Every basic bit that you can't buy off-the-shelf is included in the kit. You don't have to make or engineer anything.

Do you include the nuts and bolts?

Almost every fastener is included in the kit, unless it is specific to installing your particular drivetrain.  We use stainless steel screws in non-critical but corrosion-prone places like for the hood and trunk hinges.  Pems (or other systems captive threaded nuts) are used extensively so that no place requires two people to install a component. 

The suspension pieces are all Grade 5 or Grade 8 where appropriate.

What is the most difficult part of building the kit?

Probably building the rear suspension assembly. It entails lots of shimmed bearing packs, seals and caliper/emergency brake rebuilding. Even with the experience of doing hundreds of assemblies, we still spend about 15 hours on each one.

If you still want to do it, we can help a bit with parts and advice, but you should still get a good manual.  Alternately, you can purchase an assembly from us or Concours West, a Jaguar rear-end specialist.

Birth of a New Machine  - Dan Somers' story of building an ERA.

Do you have a "turnkey minus" package?

We don't have standard "packages", but because we are so flexible, we can build exactly what you want in a kit.  If you "back out" of the turnkey specifications by subtracting roughly $9000 for the standard engine and transmission, you can get a good idea of the costs involved.  We also have some sample kits listed here.  We can also supply every single part so that you won't have to search for a single thing.  Here's a list that we prepared in August 2005 for a customer.

Speaking of manuals, what's yours like?

From Club Cobra...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Miller
The best single purchase I made during the construction of my Everett-Morrison was the manual from ERA....

Thanks,
Jon

Yep, me too - when I built my Unique.
 __________________
Phil

About 150 pages of detail, including exactly what you need, how to prepare the used stuff, and how to assemble it all on the kit.  Lots of illustrations.  Most of the pictures are line drawings, not hard-to-interpret photographs.  We used some of them here in the web illustrations.   About 20 sample pages are posted here. The text part of the complete manual is also posted on the web in PDF format if you want to see the list of required parts.

The complete manual is also available in hardcopy or PDF format here.

The wiring instructions come separately - another 20 pages, so you don't have to drag the whole book around when wiring the car. Dashboard wiring diagram

I've never done any wiring!  I know nothing about electricity!

You don't have to be an expert to wire the car.  Our wiring instructions have lots of pictures and every connection is explained.  Wires are both color codedlabeled, and every wire is exactly the right length, resulting in an ultra-neat final product.  The picture at the right shows the stock firewall connections (just as the harness comes out of the box).  The fuse blocks are even pre-wired (because we build the harness on a board by connecting right to the fuse blocks).

and
Firewall

What if I don't want to do some of the kit building stuff?

We will do anything you want to help you complete your kit. Each one is custom made to your specifications.

Do I have to buy the trim and hardware?

All hardware, with the exception of the blind rivets, comes with the kit. This includes the nuts, bolts, grommets, clamps and screws. And most of it is already installed on the kit. Some of the exterior badges are optional, to keep us legal.

What if I can't find a part?

Since E.R.A.finishes assembling some customers' cars in house, we stock just about everything you will need to finish your kit. Some people have us supply every single part to complete the car.

Do you sell parts to the retail aftermarket?

Not currently.  We only service ERA cars and customers' needs.  You can try the following companies:

Ken's Specialty Auto (315-793-0639
Finish Line (888-436-9113 or 954-436-9101 - FL and Int'l)
Cobra Restorers (770-427-0070)
Brooklands (305-776-2748)
Nisonger
(914-381-1952)
Shell Valley (800-356-9198)
Operations Plus

Does your body need painting?

Yes.  Some companies sell their car in "finished" gel-coat, claiming they don't require paint.  But gel-coat will never look as good as a clear-coated paint job, and you have fewer color and finish choices.  Repairing gel-coat is much more difficult, also.

gelcoated body

How difficult is it to paint the car?

Preparation for paint is straight-forward and doesn't require any specialized fiberglass work. The seams where the mold pieces meet must be filled with standard body filler, but the basic body shape doesn't require anything more that a skim-coat of polyester or epoxy filler to facilitate blocking.  E.R.A. doesn't do painting in-house, but we do have two  very reliable sub-contractors: Connecticut Custom Car  - ($7500 and up) and Big B's Autobody in Westhampton, MA (413-214-5090).  If you visit our shop, you'll see many examples their work.)  You will deal directly with them for payments and other details. We don't make any money on this sublet.

Raw fiberglass door

All the body panels are pre-assembled at the ERA factory to insure good fit.  Door gaps are uniform and don't require significant bodywork for a great-looking fit.

Original Colors

According to Computerworks, posting on ClubCobra, these colors were offered as standard colors on the 427 street cars:
Guardsman Blue A-1630
Charcoal (Lincoln Charcoal Frost) A-1786
Ivy Green (Custom) A-1738
Raven Black A-946
Maroon (Custom)
Silver (1965 Lincoln Silver Mink) A-1784
White - A-1347
Rangoon Red A-1440-R
Wimbledon White A-1633

However, the 427 Comp and S/C cars came over bare (unpainted) and were painted to order at the Shelby facility. Besides the stock colors, the list below contains all the original (as shipped) colors for the Comp & S/C
Orange
Ferrari Yellow
Candy Apple Red
Ivy Green
Sapphire Blue
Green
Silver Green Metallic
Hertz Gold
Guardsman Blue
Rangoon Red
Navy Blue
White
Silver
Maroon
Silver Blue Metallic

Seam line

The seams along the tops of the fenders are small, and the panels on either side of the border are at the same height.  We have purposely made the seam area a bit low, so that a small amount filler is added.  That way, you don't have to grind into the fiberglass, exposing the raw fibers.

Side profile of door

Sighting down the side of the car, you can see that the panels match very well.

The doors are hinged, latched and aligned when you get the basic kit.

Can I install the mechanical bits in a bare chassis without the body installed?

Yes, but we don't recommend it. With our turn-keys, we usually mount the body on the chassis first, then have the car painted. Finally, we install the drive-train. The engine, transmission and suspension install easily with the body already in place.

What paperwork is included with the kit?

Each kit comes with a Certificate of Origin (also known as a MSO).  This carries the date of delivery, not 1965.

SHIPPING

TrailerHow is the car shipped? How much will shipping cost?

If you are within 500 miles and have a tow vehicle, consider picking the kit up yourself with a flatbed trailer or rental truck. We don't charge any extra for loading your car into your own trailer or onto any shipper that you've chosen.  Just bring your own tie-downs.

For major distances, we typically use Intercity Lines, Horseless Carriage, Sunday Transport or Roadshow.  They ship inside a box trailer all over the country. The price depends on your location. To major cities on the west coast, the cost would be about $2000. Trips to Florida run about $1100. If you are off the major routes, it may cost a bit more. Other shippers may cost less, but your car might sit in a depot for a bit, waiting for a direct ride. Most shipping companies have a $500 minimum charge. For short runs, we may be able to arrange transportation on a flatbed truck for about $1.50/mile.

For overseas shipping, there are several companies that specialize in transporting cars. SeaExpo is one that we've seen recommended on the public forums, but we have no personal experience with.  Shipping in a container is highly recommended for security.

Shipping dimensions


I'm from outside the U.S.  Can I get one of your cars?

ERA does not use dealers in the USA or Europe, so all your dealings will be directly with us.  The difficulty varies from country to country.  Sometimes there's a stiff tarriff. 

Many countries have strict "performance" and design standards for complete or composite cars.  ERA has not done any testing for compliance for any country, and you should assume that we will NOT meet their new-car standards or their special requirements for composite vehicles (kits).

It has been suggested that, since some U.S. states title their kits as 1966 vehicles, it might be possible to import a used ERA from such a state into their country.  You do so at your own risk!  Such an action goes contrary to the spirit of the law (and you might be subject to post-import penalties).

Most countries (most notably Canada) will accept "parts" from outside.  We have, on occasion, split up a kit into separate shipments to make it easier for importing.  More Information


WHEN THE CAR IS DONE...

How do I inspect and register my car in the USA?

There's no such thing as "50-State-Legal system.  Registration requirements varies from state to state.  Most states will define your kit as a Composite or Home-built, some will call it the year that it's registered, some call it the year of car that it represents: 1965-1967.   Because the cars have a special registration designation, no state requires you to meet current safety regulations although many will have a safety inspection to check on the basic construction.  Contact your state Motor Vehicle Department for details and, if you have to go through an inspection, show up completely compliant!  The link below will direct you to individual states' sites.

California cars, if they don't have a pre-1964 engine, must be registered under the SB100 system.

Connecticut, one of the more difficult, requires that the car be trailered to a central inspection station. There, they check the lights, brakes and general construction of the vehicle, and also make sure that none of your components are stolen. Keep your receipts!

People have posted what they describe as the easiest states.

For more details on inspection and registration, click here!

Do I get a title from ERA?

No.  We give you a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (also known as an MSO) for the kit, plus a Bill of Sale.  When you register the car, the state will issue you a title and registration number based on those documents (and the invoices from your major parts)..  Most states will also collect appropriate taxes at that time too.

What about emissions?

Emissions standards for composite vehicles also vary from state to state, and even regions within states. Most states will require that your car meet the specifications for the year of your engine. Another reason to stick with an early engine.  Side pipes with catalytic converters are available but we've never had to use them.  It is usually possible to title the car as a pre-emissions vehicle as described in our REGISTRATION faq above.

What about insurance?

It's surprisingly easy.  In some cases a "Composite vehicle" can be insured by adding it to your current insurance.  There are also some companies that specialize in this kind of car, like Lundberg Insurance (an ERA owner!), Heacock or Midwest Classic.  The cost is pretty reasonable, with only some mileage restrictions. More popular companies are listed here.

How difficult is it to maintain the car?

Remember how easy it was to work on cars made in the '60s?  Welcome to the past!  In spite of the size of the engine, there's plenty of room to do normal maintenance like spark-plug or oil changes.  And if you want to get "modern", you can add electronic ignition too.

The front suspension uses very common GM replacement parts and service techniques.  The rear suspension uses common Jaguar parts. All roller bearings and seals sare standard sizes, available at automotive and bearing supply houses.  Part numbers for all replaceable parts are listed in the Assembly/Service Manual.  There are many suppliers specializing in Ford engines and various transmissions.

What happens if I damage the car?

E.R.A. will sell you any repair part you need to fix it:  Fender, hood, or even a complete body if necessary.  We also can make pieces of the chassis and the proper dimensions for repair.

When my car gets "old" can I update to your latest and greatest stuff?

Car 51, being updated As much as practical!  We don't make that many changes, but any improvements that we make are available to customers as update packages.

A history of significant changes is listed here.

At the left is chassis 051 (built in 1983) having some mechanical updates installed.

Can I race my car?

Many of our customers spend time on the track at club events, and there are now several regional series for Cobra replicas. Check out the Vintage Sports Car Drivers Association.  They run some events open to replicas.  In the Northeast, the COM Sports Car Club allows replicas to compete in full track events too.
Joe Rodomista - Racer!
Joe Rodamista's 427 in an open track event.  He has since switched to an ERA 289 FIA, competing in many events, including the 2000 and2001 Northeast Replica Challenge.

The Performance Drivers Assocication and Sports Car Driver's Association also run events for their members.

SCCA has now certified replicas to run in the Solo II prepared class rather than the modified (completely open) class.  We can now compete against the real thing legitimately!

We offer extra-large front and rear brakes and an optional rear suspension for track use.  Our optional coil-over dampers are externally adjustable for height and stiffness, making at-the-track changes very easy.

Click here to link to some video done at Pocono by the Performance Driver's Association.
Look for a light blue ERA FIA on the "in store for you" video.

We've done quite well in the Northeast Replica Challenge too!  We've posted the results for 2000 and 2001


WARRANTEE

How do you support your products?

We don't have a written warrantee, but we will replace anything defective within a reasonable period.  After all, the amount of time that people take to complete their kits varies immensely.  We have replaced pieces 5 years old.

If you insist on something written, you can write your own!  We will agree to anything reasonable.


REFERENCES

Can I get names of people who have built your kits?

Of course.  We can frequently find someone right in your area so that you can look at the "real thing" locally.  Most owners are willing to talk at length about their experience.  Some don't like to be bothered, though, so you must get namesfrom our General Manager and customer liaison, Pete Portante (860-224-0253) at E.R.A.  Sorry, you cannot get references through e-mail.  

You can also get independent information at the independent site E.R.A. Owners Registry


PAYMENTS AND DELIVERY

Why is your kit more expensive than most of the others?

The E.R.A. 427 and 289/FIA kits come only in what others call a "Deluxe Stage". We don't offer a cheapo version of our cars. Frankly, we value our reputation too much to allow some people to butcher the concept and then claim that theirs is "an E.R.A." . We have included so much in our kit that, when completed, they all have the same high quality of design and materials. This fact is evident in the strong demand (and high prices) for our used cars. This car may actually turn out to be one of the most economical cars you've ever driven!

Just how much is this going to cost?

Check out some sample kits!

How can I get an official quote?

Please call Peter at 860-224-0253.  Sorry, but you can't get a quote over the internet.  

How about backorders?

E.R.A. seldom delivers a kit with anything serious missing. Backorders are always shipped so that your construction process won't be disrupted.

How do I get the process started?

We require a $5000 deposit to get you in line for a kit or complete car. Once we get your deposit, the kit price is locked in - even if you defer delivery for 6 months.

What about the rest of the payments?

You must send another $5000 when we actually begin production of your kit. If we are finishing your kit, timely payments to the engine builder and painter will keep everything on schedule. Some extra payments for special parts may be required during custom construction.

Other taxes - sales and registration taxes - are typically paid when you register your car.  For Connecticut residents, we collect the sales tax when you pick up your kit. You will not be double taxed.

When the kit or turn-key is delivered (or picked up), the balance must be paid in cash or with a certified check unless previously arranged.

What if I want to cancel the kit after I've given you a deposit?

The deposit is 100% refundable up until the time we actually start building your kit.

Can the details of my order be changed after the deposit?

Anything can be changed up until the time we actually start your kit.  After that, we're still flexible, but there are limitations!

Is financing available?

E.R.A. doesn't finance, but for a turn-key car there are companies that specialize.  Look at the CobraCountry web site for possibilities, or in the back of Kit Car or Kit Car Illustrated.  Companies that have solicited us (but we cannot vouch for) are Gettysburg Financial, 954-786-2642, CreditCorp USA , (954) 771-2440, or JJ Best.  Kits are more difficult to fund.  You will have to use some other personal or business asset as collateral for a bank or personal loan.

How long will it take for me to get a kit?

Actual production time for a basic kit is about 2-3 weeks, but there is usually a waiting list, typically varying from 3 to 8 months. Occasionally, we might have an available spot in the queue from a cancellation, but this is unusual.

Is there any way I can get "immediate" delivery?

Bakker Ventures sometimes stocks kits that are available now.

What if I want my car even later than your waiting time?

Your deposit will hold your car for up to 1 year at the original kit price estimate.

What is the time frame for a turn-key car?

Add about 8-12 weeks over the kit schedule for painting, wiring and mechanical parts installation.

Are there any unfinished kits available?

Rarely.  Although some people sit on their kits for some time because of personal reasons, almost all are completed by the first owner.  As an act of desperation, check the ads in Kit Car and Kit Car Illustrated, or in CobraCountry.com, CobraForum.com or ClubCobra.com.

What about used cars?

We generally don't deal in used cars unless it's a rare trade-in. Hemmings, CobraCountry.com, Club Cobra, the For Sale section of the ERA Registry site, and Dayan's House of Cobras frequently have ERA's, though, but don't expect any bargains.  Resale value on ERA's is usually very high.  The good part of that equation is that if you ever want to sell your car, you can get top money - without waiting forever.

What changes have been made since the beginning?

Small changes in production methods have been made continuously, but most of those don't effect the performance or quality. Fortunately, the basic design worked very well from the beginning, as witnessed by the high value of used cars. The chassis number can be found here.

The most significant changes are as follows:

Begins at  chassis #

CHANGE

6

Wiring harness design finalized

50

Aluminum floors replace steel

70

Subaru steering gear replaces Nissan

92

ERA tubular subframe replaces XKE sheet-metal one

150

Footboxes lengthened for extra leg room

220

Tilton master cylinders replace ATE brand *

265

Bulkhead behind seats moved, exposing the roll bar lower legs

350

Front X member between front suspension towers changed from square to round tubing

565

All chassis have mounting points for ERA rear suspension

600

Aluminum radiator instead of brass, using original style top and bottom mounts and shrouding

650

Wiring harness improvements for easier installation

731

Major improvements to body, inner panels and chassis

758

Steering gear and mounting system changed

* Recommended update

How many 427's have you made?

We have shipped over 800 427 kits to date.

How big is E.R.A.?

We employ more than 10 full time people working in 4 buildings at our central location plus a separate R&D and ERA GT facility down the street. We do almost everything in house: chassis, body, small parts, rebuilding of rear suspension, upholstery, wiring harnesses and turnkey cars. We sublet the casting and machining, and most of our sheet metal is done on a CNC laser or punch machine (by a vendor whose owner just happens to own both a 427 and a GT - you know he's obsessive about quality! ).

What other things do you do?

Most of our energy is devoted to the kits, but we do supply some small reproduction parts to the rest of the kit car industry.

How we do things at E.R.A.

Where are the chassis made?

All chassis tubing components are cut right at the factory.  Most of the sheet metal components are sublet to a CNC punch shop where tolerances are less than +/- .010".   All separate components are MIG or TIG welded right in our own jigs at the factory.  When you visit us, look at the high quality of the welds.  Our certified welders are good!

Welding a chassis

And the suspension?

Suspension components are done the same way.  Arms are cut and jig welded right here.  The GT arms are TIG welded.  The 427/FIA arms are both MIG and TIG welded, depending upon application.  Castings are done locally from AlMag or 356 heat treated aluminum.  Some of the pieces are machined from billet.

How is the interior done?

Everything but the 427/FIA top and car covers is produced in house.

Final assembly area

Do you do the fiberglass molding?

All our 427 and FIA moldings are done in-house.  We built all the molds from our own plugs.  All pieces, including the hood and trunk lid, and inner panels are hand laid at E.R.A.  Mating of the inner panels to the outside skin is also done in-house.  We don't use ordinary polyester resin, either.  We spend a little extra money to get low-shrink tooling resin for better long-term dimensional stability.

Dealer information

E.R.A. has a very limited network of dealers. We may offer a small discount for multiple purchases within a limited time frame. Since our profit margin is small, this discount is not deep.  Call Peter for details.  860-224-0253, 9am-12am, 2:30pm-5pm.

Since our car is so easy to build and has a very high resale value, many people have built multiple cars.  Most have made reasonable money, but don't expect to get rich.  Our fee for prepping and installing the engine, transmission, suspension, electrical system and interior is typically $6000-$7000.  

Prestige Motorcars

How difficult is it to put your kit together?

Assembling the chassis and painting the body is straight-forward.  Have us powder-coat the chassis and bond the body.  It will save you a lot of time, and it isn't very expensive.  

Rebuilding the rear suspension is fairly complicated.  If you don't have Jaguar experience, expect the first one to be "a learning experience".  Once you get everything figured out, expect to spend about 12-15 hours on a rebuild, plus parts.  If it isn't a limited slip, add about $600.

The most difficult part of building a turnkey is the engine.  Many turnkey buyers insist on a 427 Side-oiler rather than the 428.  427 cores are very rare and are hoarded by many engine builders.  If you don't have a cache of cores, don't count on getting one at a reasonable price.  428 cores are easier to come by and really make a better street engine.  289/302/351 engines are relatively cheap and easy to build, but most people who want a 427 also want the correct engine.  The 289/FIA is a great home for a small block.

We recommend that you build a single car to acquaint you with the building process before you commit to multiple cars If you do decide to jump in with a multiple order, your deposit on each kit is fully refundable up until the time we start it.  You can't lose money on a deposit.

Can I visit the factory?

You bet!  Click here for directions to get to the Factory

How can I contact ERA?

Peter (our General Manager) can be reached on weekdays by phone, 9am-12am, 2:30pm-5pm, 860-224-0253

You can fax questions to him at 860-827-1055.

You can e-mail us here. Sorry, but we can't quote cars via e-mail.  It's best to talk to Peter about your requirements.  Some sample kits are listed here.


About E.R.A.

How long has E.R.A. been in business?

E.R.A. began in 1968, doing restorations of Porsches, BMW's and several British cars. In the first year, we fixed a totalled 289 Cobra (bought for only $1500 at the time by our current general manager, Pete Portante.  The car was sold about 8 years later - before the prices went crazy, of course.) and a Fiberfab kit car, among other projects.  In 1981, we started on our 427 replica. By 1985, all our restoration work ceased - we were just too busy doing our 427.  So far, we've delivered over 800 kits to 30+ states and a half-dozen countries.

In 1990 we delivered our first ERA GT.

In 1997 we delivered our first 289FIA.

In 2009 we produced our prototype Slabside, with delivery of the first production kit delivered in 2010 .

We currently have around 14 full and part-time employees.  Our workers are approximately evenly distributed among the fiberglass, welding and fabrication, kit assembly, final assembly, R&D, wiring, and office staff, with many wearing several hats each day.  We sublet some sheet-metal parts, but the final product is always processed right here.

A SHORT HISTORY OF E.R.A.

Era Replica Automobiles is a historical extension of International Automobile Enterprises, Inc. I.A.E. was founded in 1966 with a vision: To develop the necessary skills, expertise and equipment to ultimately produce world class performance automobiles.

Over 30 years ago, the E.R.A. design concept was put on paper: To create new versions of the cars that we all dreamed about but couldn't afford.  We wanted to provide enthusiasts like us with cars as close to the originals as possible. Not only the appearance would have to be authentic, but the feel, sound and mechanical layout would also have to be like the originals'.  We wanted to bring you to back to another era, to give you that same exhilaration you would have gotten then, now. A driving deja vu, if you will.

Like many (poor) car enthusiasts, we started at the bottom, doing mechanical repair, welding and body restoration on our own cars. Within a short time, we graduated to servicing customers' Porsches, BMWs and other specialty cars.  In 1968 we built our first kit car (Fiberfab - what a nightmare!) on a VW chassis. This project involved extensive body restyling and chassis modifications. To do the body modifications properly, we built our own molds to make the new panels.

Our skills became well known locally, and we were hired to duplicate or modify lightweight fiberglass bodies by several prominent formula and sports car racers. We also branched into the manufacturing of spoilers, flares, and other replacement items for Porsches, BMW's and Datsun Z's. In addition, we developed, built and raced a 1953(!) Austin Heally in F Production, winning the New England Championship a couple of years.

Meanwhile, our Porsche restorations led us into the restoration parts business. Chassis and body panels were no longer available from Porsche. We made our own tooling, and purchased a press to manufacture these parts ourselves. At one time we supplied a major portion of all the Porsche 356 sheet metal sold world wide.  Now, alas, the US retailers have outsource the manufacting of the steel panels to the far east.

As our skills developed, it became plain that we were now capable of living out our original dream. Making Our Own Car!

The most famous 60s sports car was at the top of the list of the cars we wished to make, so when the first roadster replica appeared, we purchased one. The kit was incomplete and very difficult to put together . It was easy to imagine a person without professional fabrication skills and equipment finding himself with a permanent, unfinished project in his garage. We knew we could do better.

We carried out extensive research and development, insuring that every replica from E.R.A. would be the most exacting and best engineered available anywhere, and that its performance would equal or exceed the original car's, right out of the box.

Since we started manufacturing kits in 1981, we've consistantly built between 35 and 50 kits each year, in spite of the ups and downs of the economy.  Having a reputation for quality in construction and service doesn't hurt.

hot rod

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1/21/2012