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Goodwood Members' Meeting / The ex-Bertie Bradnack/Jim Berry, formerly the ERA Special,1953 HAR Jaguar Formula Libre Single-Seater Chassis no. 2

The ex-Bertie Bradnack/Jim Berry, formerly the ERA Special,1953 HAR Jaguar Formula Libre Single-Seater  Chassis no. 2 image 1
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Lot 49
The ex-Bertie Bradnack/Jim Berry, formerly the ERA Special
1953 HAR Jaguar Formula Libre Single-Seater
Chassis no. 2
7 April 2019, 13:00 BST
Chichester, Goodwood

Sold for £63,250 inc. premium

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The ex-Bertie Bradnack/Jim Berry, formerly the ERA Special
1953 HAR Jaguar Formula Libre Single-Seater
Chassis no. 2

*Constructed as a Formula 1 car
*Campaigned with an ERA engine in period
*Successfully used in sprints and hillclimbs during the 1950s
*Part of an important private collection for many year

Footnotes

Here we are delighted to be able to present to the market a Jaguar-engined single-seater racing special of real pedigree. It has a genuine period history spanning not only British club racing, and frontline British hill-climb and sprint competition, but also with its roots in International and national 2-litre un-supercharged Formula 2 – from that category's FIA Drivers' World Championship Grand Prix period in 1952-53.

The twin-tube chassis of the car now offered here began life as the second Formula 2 HAR frame constructed by Smethwick, Warwickshire-based, enthusiast engineer Horace Richards in 1952. It was purchased from him by burly West Midlands industrialist Bertie Bradnack - of Walsall Pressings Ltd and briefly team manager with the BRM Grand Prix Team. Bradnack installed a 2-litre 6-cylinder racing Riley engine formerly owned by Jack Fairman for Formula 2 racing, and re-named the project the 'Woden' F2. The car was entered in this form in the 1952 International Trophy but did not start, presumably due to not being ready in time. The Woden was next entered in the 1953 Coronation Trophy race at Crystal Palace but although both Bradnack and Ken Wharton drove it during practice it became a non-starter.

In 1954 - the old 2-litre Formula 2 class having been shelved in favour of 2½-litre Formula 1 - Bertie Bradnack sold the car without engine to northern enthusiast and regular sprint and hill-climb competitor Jim Berry. He was a director of a large construction company, who had started his motor sporting career in 1950 by purchasing nothing less than the ex-Nicky Embiricos Bugatti Type 55 sports car. This was followed by a variety of Grand Prix Bugattis and other racing and sports racing exotica which he used successfully and enthusiastically throughout the UK primarily in sprints and hillclimbs.

When he acquired the car now offered here in 1954 he equipped it with the Jamieson-supercharged ex-Cuth Harrison 1½-litre 6-cylinder ERA engine, mated to an ENV 110 pre-selector gearbox. The car then emerged into public gaze as Jim Berry's 'ERA Special', performing well at Prescott, Westbrook Hay, Rhydymwyn and Staverton.

For 1955 a 2-litre ERA engine was installed, but its torque proved perhaps too much for the car's rear suspension, which failed at Rhydymwyn. Subsequently, we understand that the ERA Special's over-stressed Richards designed torsion-bar rear suspension was replaced by the HWM-like de Dion system which survives on the car today.

Berry continued to sprint and hillclimb this ERA-engined Special successfully until 1959 when he acquired the illustrious ERA 'R4D' and - in November of 1961 - Berry advertised the car for sale, now fitted with a Jaguar XK engine, in Autosport (see copy of advertisement on file).

In 1963 the car reappeared in the hands of Jim Goddard of Northern Sports Cars of Catterick. He passed it on to Tony Kitchener of Northampton and the car next appeared in 1964 northern races, sprints and hillclimbs driven by Peter Shakesby. The HAR subsequently passed through the trade to Richard Smith of Brighton in 1967, thence to Bob Salvage who in turn sold it to Gavan Sandford-Morgan who purchased it on behalf of the Birdwood Motor Museum in South Australia. The car was exhibited there while also being used in a variety of historic motor racing events by Sandford-Morgan.

In 1987 the HAR was purchased by racing car collector Noel Roscow. The car was very tired and an alternative Jaguar XK engine was fitted, while the chassis was rebuilt by Elfin Cars and a new body fabricated, in the original style but with an HWM-like nose (since the car was for a time thought to be an HWM). This restoration work totalled some 2,500 hours.

The current owner - a renowned collector of sports and racing cars - acquired this unique vehicle in the late 1990s. During his ownership it has been sparingly used and has spent many years on display at the Brooklands Museum in England. When recently inspected by Bonhams the HAR appeared - apart from its Jaguar engine - to be still fundamentally in Jim Berry 'ERA Special' form, with torsion-bar front suspension, de Dion rear end and ENV 110 pre-selector gearbox all still present.

This HAR-chassised sometime Woden, sometime ERA Special is offered here today as a unique Historic Formule Libre single-seater racing car with what is actually a very noble, respectable and successful British sprint and hill-climbing pedigree.

Additional information