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Raymond Mays


Raymond Mays was a very well known British racing driver and hill climb exponent in the 1930's, having many successes with his 6 cylinder supercharged 'White Riley'.

Partnered by wealthy amateur racing driver Humphrey Cook and Peter Berthon, he had started manufacturing ERA (English Racing Automobiles) in a workshop behind Mays' house in Bourne, Lincolshire.

The ERA was made famous by drivers such as Prince Birabongse (known as Prince Bira) of Siam who set up a Mountain Circuit lap record at Brooklands and had numerous successes on the World racing circuits and band leader Billy Cotton who's supercharged ERA could be plainly heard on the radio motor racing coverage in pre-television days.

In 1939, he decided to enter the motorcar manifacturing market with a hand-built car bearing his name - the RAYMOND MAYS.  Despite the fact that American engines of the day were almost unbreakable and very reliable, he chose a current Standard 2.6 litre V8 engine. This was an excellent engine developing 75bhp at 4000rpm. Consequently, it lacked the performance of similar machines, but it could take a large, heavy family saloon from a standstill to 60mph in around 18 seconds.  In the RAYMOND MAYS, it was developed to give a further 10bhp at 5000rpm.

Using a Standard gearbox, a maximum speed of 90mph was possible.

The chassis frame, designed by Peter Berthon, was underslung at the rear and the car had two-leaf independent front suspension.

The RAYMOND MAYS was advertised as a sedan or a drophead coupe, but only five cars were built when WWII intervened and the venture was brought to a close.

In 1947, Raymond Mays was involved with the 1500cc 16-cylinder BRM (British Racing Motors). With its unique exhaust note that could be heard miles from the circuits, it thrilled everyone that saw and heard it, but it was the most unreliable racing car of all time.

Source: Reg J. Prosser

Models produced by Raymond Mays


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