The ERA 289FIA Body

The E.R.A. fiberglass body is carefully laid up with the finest materials and is skinned in black gelcoat.  High temperature "iso" tooling resin is used wherever minimum shrinkage is desirable.  The heat distortion temperature of our resin is 220 F - (standard polyester resin: 180 F, vinylester: 210 F.  When you realize that the engine compartment temperature can reach 200 F plus, it becomes clear why we chose the resin we did.

We use random strand mat for all our panels to prevent cloth pattern print-through.  

rear view of kit
This makes the body a bit heavier, but it will maintain an excellent surface finish for years.  Our main body is a mix of hand layup and chop.  The thickness varies between 3/16" and 1/4" thick.  There is no advantage to hand-laying the many compound-curved sections of the body.  Because of the way mat is held together to form flat sheets, trying to stretch it into valleys only thins it in places, bunches it in others. Because chopping allows the operator to "spray" the laminate in, it is possible to maintain more consistant thickness than hand layup.  The hand-laid doors, hood and trunk lid are 1/8"-3/16" thick.  All structural inner panels are about 3/16" thick, while the non-structural panels are about 1/8".

Structural Details

Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic is a wonderful medium for low volume production, but it does have a disadvantage:  FRP has a poor memory.  Pressure on it for an extended period of time will distort it slightly.  While you may not be able to feel it, the distortion will be visible in a good paint job.  E.R.A. has taken the stress off the outside body.  In fact, we've never seen a stress crack in an ERA body, even after 18 years!

The inner body panels are fastened to the chassis by bonding and riveting. This takes a bit more time but results in a solid, rattle free, semi-unitized structure.

Body cutaway

Click here for details on how we mount the body from the manual.

Even with the body in place, removal of the engine and transmission is still very easy. The 289FIA is designed to be serviced like a real car.  If you think being able to remove the body would be an advantage, consider all the things that would require disconnection or removal:  Wiring, steering column, bumpers, windshield, etc....  

427 Assembly jigThis is a 427SC body in our assembly jig - with fiberglass inner panels.  The FIA has aluminum panels attached to tubing jig-bonded onto the hidden edges of the body.  Print-through is prevented, and the fit and shape of the body is consistantly good.  We gasket the areas between the aluminum inner panels and the outside body to seal them.  This prevents any distortion of the visible body surfaces.

The light color that you see on the inside surface of the fender is Coremat.  This is a low density material that allows us to add thickness without weight, preventing stones thrown from the tires from "spidering" the outside body.  

Trunk Panels

Our aluminum trunk panels are attached to the chassis and use weather-stripping to seal against the outside body.  The spare tire well is fiberglass, just like the original cars.
Trunk exploded view
Door cutaway

Door Construction

The doors have a steel frame supporting the fiberglass inner and outer shells. The framework supports the heavy duty hinge and latch mechanisms, with the fiberglass shells remaining stress free. The doors are hinged and latched directly on the steel chassis, eliminating sagging and mis-alignment. OiliteTM bushings are used at the hinge pivot - there is no steel-to-steel contact.

The hood and trunk lid are two piece: An outer skin and a finished inner panel carrying the hinges and latches. The original style hinges of the hood and trunk lids are attached to the inner panels only, with nut plates for attachments bonded in.  And, everything is fully adjusted at the factory for proper alignment.


Our door hinges are heavy-duty units capable of keeping our steel-lined doors very secure!  Alignment is accomplished by the use of slotted holes and shims where they bolt to the chassis.

The door hinge also has a stop built in to prevent the door or hinge from hitting the body when it's opened.

Door HingeEvery hinge, both door, hood and trunk, is powder-coated so you don't have to!.

OiliteTM bushings are used at the hinge pivot - there is no steel-to-steel contact and , because we ream-fit the pin to the bushing, the door will will have minimum play.

Our hinge boxes place the pivot point of the hinge very close to the outside skin, but not touching.  This gives maximum edge clearance when the trunk is opened or closed.  We do the same thing with the doors.  

The inner and outer panels of the hood, doors and trunk are bonded together with a special low-distortion epoxy and finished smooth at the factory for that professional look.

hood hinge

The hinge boxes are bolted onto the fiberglass inner panel.  Easy adjustment.  No stress on the outside body.

In other words, our bodies will stay
straight for many, many years.

Good Design.  Good Car.

Trunk hinge

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