Britain, CT 06051
Us Here24 Dewey St.
Britain, CT 06051
our Dedicated Information Pages
at the right for specifications, parts lists and performance!
to read all the F.A.Q.s, but if you're
impatient, you can use our INDEX
to jump directly to some special areas!
just updated your 427. What's
going to happen with the FIA?
of the 427's updated design was derived from our FIA.
is, the FIA incorporated an improved (mostly under-the-skin) layout
from its beginning.
We just brought the 427 up to FIA specs. Of course
are differences because the basic layouts of both cars must follow
their original precedents. We have no plans to make major
to the FIA, although detail improvements are always ongoing.
I receive the standard kit, what will it look like?
a car without the
suspension and interior! The standard
is shipped with the body
(including doors, trunk and hood) pre-fit and mounted to the chassis.
the lights are installed, and the windshield is mounted. The
floors and interior bulkheads are fit. The fuel tank with filler pipe
cap are also installed. The suspension, wiring and interior are packed
for many more details!
I buy the kit in stages?
The frame first, and then the body?
We custom fit each body to
the chassis to insure that everything will line up correctly. Frankly,
are much better at this than you could be, and we want to keep the
quality high. Besides, too many people have an unrealistic view of how
the project will cost and would end up with a permanent dust
investment in their garage. Not our style.
the other hand, we are very
flexible as to the composition of every kit.
We will make every effort to give you exactly what you want,
compromise! We've posted some sample kits here
so that you can get an idea of what combinations are fairly typical.
so special about the E.R.A.
289FIA and Slabside?
beginning, we designed the
289FIA to look exactly like
but without many of the original Shelby 289's
We have strengthened the chassis, improved the body mounting and
and refined the suspension to make a better street car.
good cars. The quality of the
is dependant (sic) on the builder."
quote from someone on ClubCobra.)
kits, that may be the case. But
because an E.R.A. is
so complete, and the engineering so thorough, it's pretty hard to build
inferior car. Use quality mechanical components, and the
of your finished kit will make you very
I suppose you could do a poor
don't use a donor
that there would have been too many compromises to
design, performance and visual effect. While the potential to
money is there, there's also a whole bunch of dirty work involved in
process of disassembly, cleaning, and replacing used parts.
adds up to extra time, work and unforeseen expenses.. And if
want to end up with
you'll have to rebuild or replace many of the components.
the people at FFCobra
use somebody else's front
off-the-shelf suspensions that met our design criteria
both the front and rear suspension. Instead, we selected components
could be integrated the way we wanted them to. We were able to match
roll centers with the line of the front and rear center of gravity.
we didn't like
II, etc. Lousy geometry, small brakes, solid rear
(front): Lousy geometry, small brakes, expensive, but pretty.
suspension presents several
drive wheels cannot be easily
accommodated with the late model's integral wheel bearings.
GT must replace the Corvette uprights and bearings with completely
pieces. Can you say "expensive"?
using the Corvette control
arms requires an extremely short steering gear. We could use
unit like Appleton or Sweet, but these are not meant to go
of miles, and their straight cut gears allow too much feedback for the
In addition, the standard Corvette brakes won't fit into 15"
which proscribes the use of reproduction pin-drives.
the Corvette track is much
too wide. The half-shafts and lower control arms have to be
That's no big deal, but...the cast aluminum differential
also acts as the mounting bracket for the entire assembly, would have
be extensively modified or replaced too. There is also a
with the differential. Only the LT-1 differential would be as
as the Jag. It uses the Dana 44 gear set too.
problem fitting the later 12" brakes
15" pin-drive wheels. They
don't. On our GT, we use only 11.5"
rotors on our custom
hubs. Since you can't easily modify the hubs to move the
you're stuck with the earlier, smaller brake calipers that were used
a couple of years.
could get away using the stock
and spring? Sorry! The leaf
spring is too long. We
could either make a new spring - an interesting proposition - or go to
coil-overs. This requires making a new shock bracket on the
suspension in a subframe?
is unique to E.R.A.
subframe isolates the differential noise and vibration from the
It also lets us use trailing arms to
locate the lower control
arms as originally designed. Without trailing arms, the lower control
are put into bending modes that they were never designed for, allowing
toe change with power and braking forces. Contemporary
Burtis Motorcars) replica has an optional Watts
link system that partially
compensates for this - for about $1500! Our subframe also
easier to service the assembly. The rear suspension
can be built as
a unit outside the car for convenience, and installed into the chassis
less than an hour.
Is the Jag differential
The Jaguar piece is a Salisbury made unit that uses
gears. It was used (with a slightly different casting) in the original
427 Cobra. The few problems some people have encountered resulted from
strip events while using high-traction slicks - and roughly 600 bhp.
that particular weakness can be cured with available high-strength stub
shafts from us or Concours West. Remember! You can
so much traction in a car that weighs 2400 lbs., even with over 50% of
weight on the rear axle.
rest of the pieces? I've heard
that the Jag axles break.
here for how we
modify the Jaguar
the half-shaft as the upper control arm?
the axle is
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 proven to be absolutely reliable in more than
That dual-use saves
I use a
not designed for a solid axle. Because of the engine
the drive-shaft would end up too short for adequate wheel travel.
kits limit the travel to 2"
total! We have 6.5"! If you
drive on less-than-perfect
roads you will appreciate the "luxury" of an IRS. A good
suspension (like ours, of course) will give you excellent handling with
a reasonable ride. The original
Cobra had independent rear suspension - for a good reason!.
several reasons that the 9" isn't the best choice:
unit is not interchangeable with the Salisbury in our subframe and
require aftermarket calipers and a very Rube Goldberg emergency brake.
Also, the pinion offset is about 1.5" lower than the
the driveshaft angle down excessively. Since it wasn't
an IRS, the conversions are quite expensive too. Since
not a factor (see above), it's just money down the drain.
do you have an optional rear
Many of our
customers spend most of their time on the track.
the Jag brakes are perfectly adequate for hard street use, they don't
well under track conditions. We took the time to re-design
assembly to move the brakes outboard and make them bigger. We
changed the geometry a bit for more stable high speed cornering at the
of tire wear.
Note that as of
9/2010 the ERA
outboard-braked rear suspension is not
available on the
Slabside. We are working on a different design using all
too many mechanical parts to fit into a small car with a
I get a
have a standard package because of all the
but we can put together exactly what you are looking for. The
will have all the parts installed and functional:
is approximately $5000 plus the cost of your wheels, but the individual
are listed here.
suspension, with adjustable
Optional anti-sway bar
brakes, complete and functional - Standard GM or
optional forged Wilwood calipers on 11" or 12.2" vented rotors
- ERA custom
steering column and Moto Lita wheel
suspension - either Jag-based or our own ERA-design
Optional anti-sway bar
do you make the
doors, trunk lid, hood and the inner panels are all hand-laid
right here at our production facility. We use a
low-shrink resin and the best quality fiberglass mat. We
use cloth because it will eventually print throug the gel coat and ruin
the exterior paint's finish.
After the main shell
laid, it is
rough trimmed. Then it goes to the assembly shop where it is
in a jig where the inner panels are
and holes for the lights are cut. Then, each body is hand-fit
its chassis so that you know that the doors, hood and trunk
function perfectly when you pick up
you offer an
no. While we use aluminum panels for most of the inner
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 because of our unique method of using
bonded inner panels as an intermediate
support structure for the outside skin.
your kit use a "tubbed"
Except for the fiberglass footboxes (as used on the original
interior is built up of separate aluminum panels riveted and bonded to
the chassis and to special flanges bonded to the door openings.
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
aluminum throughout for the best resistance to staining and
corrosion. You can see what happens to non-mariine grade
aluminum under adverse conditions here.
do you bond the
body to the chassis?
are a stiffer overall structure, with no rattles, creaks or
Our fiberglass bodies do not get stress cracks, even after many hard
on the road. It is a bit more work, but well worth it! Some
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 method
connection is what determines
whether stress cracks will
appear. Furthermore, with few supports, the body will move
to the chassis when the car goes over bumps. That's what is
known as "cowl shake".
bonding the body to the chassis make
it more difficult to work on?
Our car, with its removable tunnel, is designed
be very easy to service. In fact, every turnkey we
do at the factory
is painted before any of the mechanical bits are installed.
about stone chips from stones thrown up by the tires?
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.
separate aluminum floor and
bulkhead panels in the cockpit?
to duplicate the construction of a "real" car as much as
and avoid the dune buggy syndrome of a single interior shell. This is a
more work to put together, but saves weight and allows much more design
flexibility. Our aluminum tunnel is removable for service, and we have
access panel behind the seats for rear brake service. Separate
also allow us to create a stronger structure to support the cowl and
much does your car
weighs about 2350 lbs with an iron 302 Ford 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 the strength of their car is much lower, and they
a lot of pieces necessary for an authentic street car. Weight
distribution is 50F/50R with the heavier engine combinations, moving up
to 47F/53R as you "add" aluminum (driver not included). The
rear suspension will reduce the weight (off the rear) by about 50 lbs.
how solid our car is, you
won't regret the
Factory Five has a car that allegedly weighs 1800 lbs, with
fiber body and aluminum engine. The trouble is, it's a race
can't drive it on the street!
engine do you
designed around the Windsor 289/302/351. The
and 351 Cleveland will fit too, but the exhaust will have to be custom
fabricated. We also have engine mounts for small-block
remember, all E.R.A.'s are famous for having the "correct" mechanical
If the time should come where you want to sell your car, an
will probably make your car worth a lot less. A good
is Ford Performance by Pat
Ganahl, available from Amazon.com and
Noble on-line book stores.
Just search on the authors'
Ford Mustang 4.6L "Modular"
(32 valve) engine?
installed one of these engines into an FIA
was a difficult and expensive project, requiring new reduced-width
modified steering column and pedals.
must be removed from the block and a custom
block-off plate made. New fuel feed and return lines must be made, and
very expensive wiring harness is required. Sorry,
but we cannot recommend this engine.
Seriously, we do have mounts
for the Chevy, but we
strongly discourage it. We have only done a few 427SCs and no
with them, and a couple of those have been converted back! We
done no detail development work with the "mouse" or "rat"
for the mounting system. You will have to adapt the wiring
and make custom headers and clutch release system. The Chevy
in addition, are significantly heavier than their Ford counterparts.
our experience, when you sell the car, it will be valued
almost as if
it had no engine at all.
someone locally or we have our
list of preferred builders that you
will work with directly.
the best transmission
With all Ford engines, you can use
Top-loader 4 speed
(built by Dan
Williams or David
the Richmond Gear 5 speed. The 4 speed is normally combined with a
or 3.31:1 differential ratio, depending upon engine size and tune. The
speed has a direct drive 5th and works best with a 2.88:1 or 3.07:1
for a better top gear cruising RPM. A Tremec
TKO, TKO II, 500 or 600 5
speed can be used with all
engines, using a 3.31 or 3.54:1 differential. We do
the Richmond Gear 6 speed or late-model Ford T56 (modular-engined)
variations on the T-5 (as
can be used with engines up to 450 bhp.
"best" transmission for you
depends on what you're going to do with the
car. For everyday driving, the Top-loader wide-ratio or
the best choices. Both offer a good starting gear, and the
an overdrive 5th gear for comfortable highway cruising. The
Top-loader and Richmond Gear 5 speed are more performance oriented,
gear spacing that keeps the engine's rpm's within a narrower range.
gear ratios are listed in our downloadable
haven't done many, you
may also specify chassis mounts for
a C-4 or C-6 automatic.
eliminate the clutch pedal and move the brake pedal
to the left
about the shift handle
handle was straight up in the
289, with a reverse lockout built into the lever. E.R.A.
offers a reproduction
linkage for both
the Top-Loader and the Richmond Gear 5 speed, and also handles that
onto the Tremec and T-5. The "T" handle is still there for
but is non-functional.
clutch should I
car is very light, a standard-pressure clutch is fine. Any
will come (accidentally, of course) from the tires.
original Shelby Cobra wheels used a single wing nut that
secured each cast magnesium wheel. The power was transferred from the
to the wheel by six pins. The 289FIAs
a casting unique to the race cars.
Engineering is now
duplicating the original design in aluminum, with offsets
that fit the E.R.A.
cars. For day-to-day use on the street, magnesium
and requires too much maintenance.
wheels, they are available from Dr. Dix and PS
wheels look great and actually are
the bolt-on Halibrand
that was used on an original
drag car. Halibrand is also still making the wheel - even in
diameter, although only 8" wide! Recommended specifications are
III and Vintage
Wheels make a 427-style
wheel thats available in 15 and 17" diameters in the appropriate
size tires do you
For the street-driven
289FIA, we use 235/60-15 in the front, 295/50-15
the rear. Smaller diameter tires can be used to duplicate the
sizes as the original cars' race rubber.
other hand, for
ultimate in performance, the best performance
tires are only available in 17" wheel diameters. Our 289FIA
275-40-17 in the front, 315-35 -17in the rear. That's a lot
about a spare tire?
With a bolt-on wheels, you can use a
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! On
Slabside, just use a duplicate of the wheel you're using, but a smaller
kind of brakes do you use?
pedals are mounted
directly on the
chassis, below floor level, like the original, with aluminum pivoting
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 Wilwood calipers are optional.
the rear 10.5" diameter
x 1/2" thick rotors are mounted inboard to reduce unsprung weight.
rotors are optional.
Our optional rear
has outboard rotors, 11.5"OD x .81" thick standard, using PBR floating
calipers with integral parking brake.
of the original
60s sports cars, we
don't use a booster in the system. The pedal pressure is moderate but
about the exhaust
We offer both a comp-style (at
exhaust pipes in many
variations. The under-car
shown at the lower right duplicates the look of the original street car
is quiet under cruising conditions. Ground clearance is about
the tri-flow mufflers. The twin tail pipes exit at the rear
car next to the bumpers or jackpads. You'll lose a bit of
compared with the "comp" exhaust, though. The undercar exhaust is also
incompatible with the ERA-designed rear suspension unless a narrower
There are plain steel side
can be sprayed with a VHT type paint, ceramic coated, or chromed.
VHT paint duplicates the look of the original race cars, but requires
refinishing. The ceramic coating (we have ours done
Coatings) is very tough, and will last
the life of the muffler:
Usually about 5 years. Chrome is tough too, but
will blue over
time on the sections that get very hot.
car going to
2 row x 1.25" aluminum core radiator is made for
Griffin. Oversized for practically any engine you can put in
it is rated for 600 bhp. In traffic, our standard
will cool most
mild big block engines (depending on your climate), so it will be
behind a small block. We also offer an optional
fan for extremes in engines
like the original
competition car, the battery is mounted in the
rear quarter, behind a protective shield. Stout cables are
to feed to the starter solenoid!
does the car go?
the engine, 0-60 MPH times will be from 4 to 6 seconds.
thanks. Stopping distance from 60 MPH is about 145 ft. The
balance is adjustable for personal tuning. A car with stock
did 0-100mph-0 in 12.07 seconds. You do the math!
brakes consist of 11" vented
rotors in the front, 10.5" solid rotors in the rear. 12.2"
rotors with Wilwood calipers are optional for the front. Our optional
suspension (only available on the FIA)
11.5"OD x .81" thick standard.
many of the
sports cars, we don't use a booster in the
system. The pedal pressure is moderate but very positive.
well. Spring rates, while not exactly boulevard cruisers,
quite reasonable for such a high performance car. The fact that chassis
is so low enhances the feeling of total control.
new owner commenting on a 427 kit #490 (built 8 years ago):
Acura was this solid."
another comment on Club Cobra
suspension is so supple that
the ride is
comfortable even with 17" wheels.
compare to a modern sports
direct communication with the road. Without power
you feel much more - and it takes more effort to do things.
the car will stack up quite well to its equivalent new car.
with new rubber, the FIA will do over .95G with street suspension. And
doesn't bounce from bump to bump - there's plenty of suspension travel.
This is a car bred for Connecticut, where potholes are
the companions.to our favorite back roads.
a post on Club Cobra, 5/2011
The maiden voyage was fantastic. The engine note alone is
worth it; I think that is the main reason I wanted a Cobra in the first
with the driving. Rock solid tracking,
suspension handles all the bumps we have up north flawlessly. Steering,
brakes, pedal placement, driving position, all just right.
Webers were nearly perfect. I tried but couldn't really find
transition from the idle to the main circuits, smooth all the way up. I
could cruise at and smoothly accelerate from any RPM. No need to try to
keep it in the main circuit RPMs (around 3,000 and above). Perfectly
behaved in street traffic and a beast when let loose. And the sound as
it winds up! I could listen to that all day!
Some who have the dual outlet Weber manifold and the oil
complain about not maintaining enough engine heat on the highway. I did
not have that problem. Heat stayed right at about 140 degrees,
sometimes a little under.
Although they weren't supposed to, the fancy McTrumpet stacks
wire mesh screens disrupt the air flow enough that Doug felt the Webers
lost a little something at the high end. After Carlisle, I'll take it
to Inglese for a look. May just go back to the open stacks.
Didn't really come close to the limit cornering, braking or
accelerating, but it feels easily as strong or stronger on all counts
than the Porsche Cayman, 911 and BMW M3 I drove at a Skip Barber school
at Lime Rock (M3 is the closest). I don't think the Lotus Exige (which
I also drove there) would have much edge handling, and it is a lot less
comfortable than an ERA. And the Lotus doesn't make that great sound!
In fact, my ears are still a little sore after three hours
yesterday. The noise is not really bothersome while driving, but I
guess it adds up over time.
As far as wind goes, the car is pretty comfortable around
the temptation to speed is dampened somewhat (almost got caught
nonetheless!). Around 80, I wouldn't trust keeping a baseball cap on
for very long.
The Kirkey is VERY comfortable even though it initially feels
Very happy with that choice. I'm 6', so sitting on the floor isn't a
problem with visibility.
To anyone starting a build, I very much recommend the
rear view mirror for the cockpit: you can hardly see anything in a
The combination of the 3.07 differential and the Richmond
5-speed is very good. The 3.04 first is just right: starts rolling
easily but I still get a nice long pull. The 1:1 final probably isn't
the best for cruising and highway gas mileage, though, but I knew that
The instruments all look great, but the NOS speedo started to
haywire after about 15 miles, so that will need attention at some
point. I also think it is undercounting mileage. The only thing I would
change is the placement of the oil pressure gauge. Where it is now it
is partially blocked from view by the steering wheel. I think I'll have
it swap places with the less critical fuel pressure gauge so it is
easier to keep an eye on.
The only thing on the drive that was a concern was, more
not, I got a bit of grinding on the shift from fourth to fifth. Very
strange; no idea why that is happening. I'll check in with Doug and
BTW, the 289 is now the hot car at ERA: Peter P. said that
backlog is nearly all slabsides and FIAs, with a couple of GT-40s. No
427s other than what's in the shop.
So there you have it! I'm officially an ERA owner now! Time
for a drive!
about fuel economy
ask??? Seriously, the more "stock" the engine is,
the mpg. You could get 16-20 mpg
out of a low horsepower 289
or 302, but with 500 bhp, you'll probably get 10 mpg. If you
best reliability, stick with a stock engine. Unless you throw
of money at an engine, higher horsepower will always result in higher
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
big block Corvettes says your ERA rides 10 times better! He even said
rides as well as his 85 5.0 Mustang!"
we've spent many years
"standardizing" springs and dampers, you can be assured that you can
the same high level of comfort. |
you have any
footbox vents on both the drivers and passenger's side,
by separate dash knobs and fed by scoops
of the radiator. Few other kits even
won't fit - and would be ineffective if it did.
I saw your response
to the fellow who wants
to know how to drive in the winter and with what equipment. As you know
am going into my 3d winter of driving my 289. The top is on and the
go in if it is particularly cold or inclement. I rarely use the
because the cockpit with the heat vent on is plenty warm. I have driven
snow, rain, and the dark of night. The Cobra keeps on trucking. Tell
fellow to JUST DO IT!" |
between your standard vinyl (street-style) seat
and the optional leather ones?
a lot! || |
up close. The texture is actually a bit more
"leather-like" than the leather shown at the right. Few
tell the difference.
has a slightly softer feel
and the characteristic smell. On the other hand, it will
a bit more maintenance.
it possible to fit air
limitations. A small compressor will fit on
OK, and there is enough room for a condenser on the radiator.
the only thing we've found that will fit under the dashboard is a
8000 BTU evaporator unit. Anything larger may have to be
adding to the cost. However,
knowledge of A.C. is limited. A professional AC shop might
systems available. As a compromise, we can design brackets
compressor and condenser and you can go to a local shop for the rest.
system will also require our optional heavy duty fan.
LARGE. Will I fit
in your car?
accommodate people up to 6'3". We have increased
length of the foot-boxes about 2" over the
original car and
For the most long-legged, we can substitute a larger clutch
cylinder to gain an additional 1.5" at the expense of more pedal
The steering column is also easily
down with a wrench.
Additionally, we also can change the padding in the seats to
dimensions with your kit of
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
is the passenger with the roll bar brace right there?
It's still quite
comfortable in the seat. While the brace visually
into the passengers side, the passenger's body actually won't come near
unless they make an effort. In short, you
it unless you grab it on purpose.
may be possible to
a 427-style rear brace for the hoop, but
we haven't tried it yet. Theoretically, anyway, a rear brace
you have a
The optional top
is a duplicate of the original, fastening to the windshield and the
fasteners on the rear cowl. It uses a removable bow for support over
driver.When not in use, the whole thing can be folded and stored in the
Side curtains are also available.
a put a
or hidden in the (street dash) glovebox.
do you offer comp, Drop and 427-Street
289 had the speedometer
and tachometer flanking the steering column, with the balance of the
in the center of the dash. They also had a glovebox on the
The FIA race cars had the speedometer mounted toward the
of the dash, and it didn't have a glove box. E.R.A. offers both
with different types of hoods.
Which do you have?
is available with and without a molded-on hood scoop.
original street 289's didn't have a scoop, but the comp cars did.
scoop is necessary with a 351 engine. Some 302's will fit
under a plain
you offer Right Hand
off-the shelf pieces to make an economical switch.
fairly easy to switch the steering and brakes, but the foot boxes will
to be custom made. Figure in the thousand$.
fender flares look different from
some of the kits I've seen?
Because theirs are wrong! We took great pains
the only original FIA
body left. All
the other cars have been rebodied at one time or another.
After all, all
the FIAs were
involved in occasional shunts.
you offer a "slab
sided" body like the original street 289?
Our prototype is complete,
but besides the body changes, we had to re-design the chassis to
accommodate some suspension changes. We expect production
start in the spring of 2010.
want to wait, you
make a reasonable
of a street car
(built by AC) sans "slab sides" with wire
wheels, front grill, no hood scoop, street dash, without the
A special chemical and impact resistant coating is baked
Very durable, and looks good too.
do I have to fabricate?
bit that you can't buy off-the-shelf is included in the
You don't have to make anything.
the nuts and bolts?
every fastener is included in the kit, unless it is specific to
installing your particular drivetrain. We use stainless steel
in non-critical but corrosion-prone places like for the hood
hinges. Pems (or other systems captive threaded nuts) are
extensively so that no place requires two people to
suspension pieces are all Grade
or Grade 8
is the most difficult part of building
building the rear suspension
assembly. It entails lots of shimmed
bearing packs, seals and caliper/emergency brake rebuilding. Even with
experience of doing hundreds of assemblies, we still spend about 15
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.
you can purchase
an assembly from us or Concours West, a Jaguar rear-end specialist.
a New Machine - Dan Somers' story of building an ERA kiit.
you have a "turnkey
standard "packages", but because we are so flexible, we
build exactly what you want in a kit. If you "back out" of
specifications by subtracting roughly $9000 for the standard engine and
transmission, you can get a good idea of the costs involved.
if you are willing to do just a little more construction, look at some
the sample kits listed.
by Jon Miller
best single purchase I made during the construction of my
Everett-Morrison was the manual from ERA....
Yep, me too - when I built my
pages of detail,
exactly what you need, how to prepare the used stuff, and how to
it all on the kit. Lots of illustrations. I used
some of them
in the web illustrations, and I have a link that showed 2 typical pages
the manual. The text part of the manual is also posted
on the web in PDF format and some
sample pages are
complete manual is also
available in hardcopy, on CD or download (PDF) here.
instructions come separately - another 20 pages, so you
don't have to drag the whole book around when wiring the car.
all connections are illustrated and every single connection is
with the wire's origin and purpose so that in the event of a problem,
can troubleshoot quickly.
any wiring! I know nothing
to be an expert to wire the car. Our wiring
have lots of pictures and every connection is explained. All
are terminated with soldered and insulate connections, color
coded and labeled.
The front and dash harness are modular units and connected
together through multi-pin plugs. So - you can wire the
while it's outside the car, minimizing the amount of time lying on your
back underneath the dash.
if I don't want to do some of the kit
anything you want to help you complete your kit. Each one is assembled
to your specifications. We can also custom-make parts (within
reason) if thatis what your kit requires.
have to buy
the trim and
with the exception of the blind rivets, comes with the
This includes the nuts, bolts, grommets, clamps and screws. And most of
is already installed on the kit. Some of the badges are optional.
find a part?
just about everything you will need to finish your kit.
people have us supply every single part to complete the car.
you sell parts to the
We only service ERA cars and customers' needs.
are several companies that do:
Specialty Auto (315-793-0639
Line (888-436-9113 or 954-436-9101 -
FL and Int'l)
your body need
Some companies sell their car in "finished" gel-coat,
claiming they don't require
paint. But gel-coat will never look as good as paint, and you
fewer color and finish choices. Repair is much more
difficult is it
to paint the car?
for paint is
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
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
you'll see many examples their work.) You will deal directly
them for payments and other details. We don't make any money on this
the mechanical bits in a bare
chassis without the body installed?
don't recommend it. With our turn-keys, we usually mount
body on the chassis first, then have the car painted. Finally, we
the drivetrain. The engine, transmission and suspension install easily
the body already in
included with the kit?
Each kit comes
with a Certificate
of Origin (also known as a MSO).
the date of delivery,
the car shipped?
How much will it cost?
If you are
within 500 miles and have a tow vehicle, consider picking
kit up yourself with a flatbed
trailer or rental truck. We don't charge any
loading your car into
your own trailer or onto any shipper that you've chosen. Just
bring your own tie-downs.
typically use Intercity
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,
cost would be about $3000. Trips to Florida run about $1500. If you are
the major routes, it may cost a bit more. Other shippers may cost less,
your car might sit in a depot for a bit, waiting for a direct ride.
shipping companies have a $500 minimum charge. For short runs, we may
able to arrange transportation on a flatbed truck for about $1.50/mile.
shipping, there are several companies that
specialize in transporting
is one that we've
seen recommended on the public forums, but we have no personal
with them. Shipping in a container is highly recommended for
from outside the
U.S. Can I get one of your cars?
use dealers in the USA or
Europe, so all your dealings will
be directly with us. The difficulty varies from country to
Sometimes there's a stiff tarriff.
"performance" and design standards for complete or composite cars.
ERA has not
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).
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
notably Canada) will
accept "parts" from outside. We
have, on occasion,
split up a kit into separate shipments to make it easier for
THE CAR IS
How do I inspect
and register my car?
such thing as
Registration requirements varies from state to state.
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
Because the cars have a special registration designation, no
requires you to meet current safety regulations although many will have
a safety inspection to check on the basic construction.
state Motor Vehicle Department for details and, if you have to go
through an inspection, show up completely compliant! The link
will direct you to individual states' sites.
cars, if they don't have a pre-1964 engine, must be registered under
the SB100 system.
one of the more
requires that the car be trailered to a central inspection station.
they check the lights, brakes and general construction of the vehicle,
also make sure that none of your components are stolen. Keep your receipts!
and registration, click here!
I get a title
give you a Manufacturer's
Certificate of Origin
(also known as an MSO) for the kit, plus a Bill
When you register the car, the state will issue you a title
those documents (and the invoices from your major parts)..
states will also collect appropriate taxes at that time too.
standards also vary from state to state, and even regions
states. Most states will require that your car meet the specifications
the year of your engine. Another reason to stick with an early engine.
is usually possible to title the car as a pre-emissions vehicle as
in our REGISTRATION faq above.
happens if I damage
sell you any repair
need to fix it: Fender, hood, or even a complete body if
We also can make pieces of the chassis and the proper
difficult is it
to maintain the car?
easy it was to work on cars made in the '60s?
to the past! In spite of the size of the engine, there's
room to do normal maintenance like spark-plug or oil changes.
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
bearings and seals sare standard sizes, available at automotive and
supply houses. Part numbers for all replaceable parts are
the Assembly/Service manual. There are many suppliers
in Ford engines and various transmissions.
surprisingly easy. In some
"Composite vehicle" can be insured by adding it to your current
insurance. There are also some companies that specialize in
kind of car, like Lundberg
Insurance (an ERA
The cost is pretty reasonable, with only some mileage
restrictions. More popular companies are listed here.
I race my car?
of our customers
spend time on the track
at club events, and there are now
several regional series for Cobra replicas. We offer extra-large front
for track use. Check out the Vintage
Sports Car Drivers Association.
They run some events
open to replicas.
Allen races in the Tulsa
Vintage Series against Shelbly Challenge Series cars and 4000s
Northeast, the COM
Car Club allows replicas to compete in
full track events too.
Challenge has become very popular and a great way
to spend a weekend.
to run in the Solo
class rather than the modified
(completely open) class. We
can now compete against the real thing - legitimately!
Rodamista in an ERA 289 FIA,
competing in many events,
offer extra-large front and rear
brakes and an optional
suspension for track use.
Our optional coil-over dampers
are externally adjustable for height and damping, making at-the-track
very easy. |
Assocication and Sports Car
Association also run events for their members.
to link to some video done at Pocono Raceway by the Performance
Association. Look for the light blue ERA FIA shown above in
store for you" video.
done quite well in
Northeast Replica Challenge too! We've
posted the results for 2000
do you support your
a written warrantee, but we will replace anything
within a reasonable period. After all, the amount of time
take to complete their kits varies immensely. We have
that were 5 years old.
written, you can write your own! We will
agree to anything reasonable.
is your kit more expensive than most of
289FIA kits come only in what others call a "Deluxe Stage".
don't offer a cheapo version of our cars. Frankly, we value our
too much to allow some people to butcher the concept and then claim
theirs is "an E.R.A." . We have included so much in our kit that, when
they all have the same high quality of design and materials. This fact
evident in the strong demand (and high prices) for our used cars. This
may actually be one of the most economical cars you've ever driven!
how much is kit this
going to cost me?
out some sample
I get a
Peter at 860-224-0253. Sorry, but you can't get a
over the internet.
delivers a kit with anything serious missing. Backorders
usually shipped within weeks, and no one has had their completion date
back because of missing parts.
require a $6000
deposit to get you
in line for a kit or complete car. Once we get your
kit price is locked in - even if you
for 6 months.
about the rest of
another $5000 when we actually begin production of your
If we are finishing your kit, timely payments to the engine builder and
will keep everything on schedule. Some extra payments for special parts
be required during custom construction.
taxes - sales and registration
taxes - are typically paid when you register your car. For
residents, we collect the sales tax when you pick up your kit. You will
be double taxed.
When the kit
or turn-key is
delivered (or picked up), the balance must be
paid in cash or with a
unless previously arranged.
to cancel the kit after I've
given you a deposit?
100% refundable up until the time we actually start
the details of my
order be changed after the deposit?
can be changed up until the time we
actually start your kit.
After that, we're still flexible, but there are limitations!
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
Companies that have solicited us (but we cannot vouch for)
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
take for me to get a
production time for a basic kit is about 2 weeks, but there is
a waiting list, typically varying from 3 to 6 months. Occasionally, we
have an available spot in the queue from a cancellation, but that is
for a 289FIA kit is
approximately 8 months.
For a turnkey: 12 months.
there any way I can get "immediate"
kits that are available now.
my car even later than your
will hold your car for up to 2 years at the original kit
there any unfinished
Although some people sit on their kits for some time
of personal reasons, almost all are completed by the first owner.
an act of desperation, check the ads in Kit Car and Kit Car
don't deal in used cars unless it's a rare trade-in. Hemmings,
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
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.
frame for a turn-key
weeks over the kit schedule for painting, wiring, and
I get names of people who have built your
We can frequently find someone right in your area
you can look at the "real thing" locally. Most owners are
talk at length about their experience. Some don't like to be
though, so you must get
from our General
(860-224-0253 9am-1pm, 3pm-5pm EST) at E.R.A. Sorry, but you cannot
get references through e-mail.
also get independent
information at the independent site E.R.A. Owners Registry
have you made?
shipped about 800 cars to date. Our current production is about
427s and 15 289FIAs. We also do about 6 E.R.A. GT's each
total of 15 full time people working in 4 buildings at our
location. We also have a separate R&D facility down
We do almost everything in house: chassis, body, small parts,
of rear suspension, upholstery, wiring harnesses and turnkey cars. We
the casting and machining, and most of our sheet metal is done locally
Fabtron, Inc. on a CNC punch machine. The owner of Fabtron
a 427SC and an ERA GT! He knows about the quality we build
things do you do?
energy is devoted to the kits, but we do supply some small
reproduction parts to the rest of the kit car industry.
does FIA mean?
stands for Fédération Internationale
It is the sanctioning body that makes the rules for
racing. The Cobra 289 in its FIA form was built to meet those
we do things at
are the chassis'
components are cut right at the factory.
the sheet metal components are sublet to a CNC punch shop where
are less than +/- .010". All separate components
are MIG or TIG
welded right in our own jigs at the factory. When you visit
at the high quality of the welds. Our certified welders are
components are done the same way. Arms are cut and
right here. The GT arms are TIG welded. The 427/FIA
both MIG and TIG welded, depending upon application. Aluminum
castings are done locally from AlMag or 356 aluminum.
Some of the
pieces are machined from billet.
is the interior done?
Everything but the
top and car
produced in house.
the fiberglass molding?
but the main
body shell of the FIA is done
built all the molds
our own plugs. All door pieces,
hood and trunk lid, and inner panels are hand laid at E.R.A.
panels to the outside skin is also
done in-house. We
don't use ordinary polyester resin, either. We spend a little
money to get low-shrink tooling resin for better
long term dimensional
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
860-224-0253, 9am-12am, 2:30pm-5pm.
Since our car
so easy to build and has a very high resale
value, many people have built multiple cars. Most have made
money, but don't
expect to get rich.
fee for prepping and installing the engine, transmission, suspension,
system and interior is typically $6000-$7000.
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.
complicated. If you don't have Jaguar experience, expect the
one to be "a learning experience". Once you get everything
out, expect to spend about 12-15 hours on a rebuild, plus parts.
it isn't a limited slip, add about $600.
relatively cheap and easy to build. You can
either use an old core, or get new parts from Ford Motorsport, etc.
with the Windsor style engine, if possible. The Cleveland may
space and exhaust system problems.
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
a multiple order, your deposit on each kit is fully refundable up until
time we start it. You can't lose money on a deposit.
do I visit
welcome to drop in any time during business hours - 8am-5pm on
and usually until noon on Saturday. Just be sure to follow these directions.
It's easy to
get lost in New Britain!
can I contact
General Manager) can be reached on weekdays by phone,
2:30pm-5pm, 860-224-0253. You can also fax questions to Peter at
can e-mail us
Sorry, but we can't
via e-mail. It's best to talk to Peter about your
Some sample kits are listed here.
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
years later - before the prices went crazy, of course.) and a
Fiberfab kit car, among other projects. In 1981, we started
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.
delivered our first ERA GT.
we delivered our first 289FIA.
we produced our prototype Slabside,
with delivery of the first production kit scheduled for spring
have around 14 full-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
day. We sublet some sheet-metal parts, but the
final product is always processed right here.
is a historical extension of International
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.
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
same exhilaration you would have gotten then, now. A driving deja vu,
if you will.
Like many (poor) car enthusiasts,
we started at
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
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
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.
the US retailers have outsource the manufacting of the steel panels to
the far east.
As our skills developed, it became
were now capable of
living out our original dream. Making Our Own Car!
famous 60s sports car was at the top of the list of the cars
wished to make, so when the first Cobra 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.
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
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