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Kirkham Motorsports

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-04-2005, 11:04 AM
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Default Rockstars Billy Idols ERA #

I have read that the famous rockstar Billy Idol owned a ERA, does anybody know what chassis number it was and where it is now?
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Old 03-22-2005, 05:32 PM
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yes, Billy did have an early 427 by ERA. He drove the doors off it. Northwest cars and restoration of portland restored it in 2001 with new interior, electrical and paint a few years back. It was being painted when they were painting my car. Both won trophies at the Portland roadster show after completion so you know they do good work. The painter used to have it featured on the web but now the site has become quite simplistic (new management?).

oh, and the owner was not Mr. Idol when it was being painted in 2001

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Old 03-22-2005, 05:58 PM
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The car is owned and driven by a gentleman here in Portland. The car looks good! Let's see if we can get him to post a photo...
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Old 12-05-2022, 03:38 PM
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Default Billy Idol's ERA 427 Cobra Replica #044

Details on Billy's ERA Cobra,
I ordered the kit from ERA (Peter P.) in 1981, took delivery in May of 1982. The S/N was 044. I lived in Orange Cty, CA. I originally built the car with a 427 side oiler with 12:1 compression, a real mistake. It was painted by Pete Santini's shop in Orange Cty, color Honda Accord red with silver stripes. I did all of the aluminum work in the trunk and some of the aluminum in the engine compartment, I subbed the balance to a shop in Costa Mesa. I never installed the ERA data plate on the footbox and filled in the ERA 044 in the side of the inner left fender fiberglass. I wanted to fake out a lot of people. The car as I sold it in 1987 had a 428 Cobra Jet that was great for taking real driving trips along the California coast and attending shows 100 miles away. The entire engine compartment was covered in aluminum and it also had the famous puke-tank mounted to the firewall near the rear right side valve cover. I mounted the battery in the trunk and raised the right-side footbox for more legroom. This car won 1st place at the SAAC convention in Anaheim in 1985.The car won the best Cobra replica at the annual kitcar show at Knotberry Farm in 1995. It was also featured in a 3 page article in Peterson's Kit Car Magazine's May 1986 issue. I can tell you some funny stories about Billy's ownership.
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Old 12-05-2022, 05:25 PM
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Did you sell it to Billy Idol? Or did it pass through someone else's ownership before getting to him?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul A View Post
Details on Billy's ERA Cobra,
I ordered the kit from ERA (Peter P.) in 1981, took delivery in May of 1982. The S/N was 044. I lived in Orange Cty, CA. I originally built the car with a 427 side oiler with 12:1 compression, a real mistake. It was painted by Pete Santini's shop in Orange Cty, color Honda Accord red with silver stripes. I did all of the aluminum work in the trunk and some of the aluminum in the engine compartment, I subbed the balance to a shop in Costa Mesa. I never installed the ERA data plate on the footbox and filled in the ERA 044 in the side of the inner left fender fiberglass. I wanted to fake out a lot of people. The car as I sold it in 1987 had a 428 Cobra Jet that was great for taking real driving trips along the California coast and attending shows 100 miles away. The entire engine compartment was covered in aluminum and it also had the famous puke-tank mounted to the firewall near the rear right side valve cover. I mounted the battery in the trunk and raised the right-side footbox for more legroom. This car won 1st place at the SAAC convention in Anaheim in 1985.The car won the best Cobra replica at the annual kitcar show at Knotberry Farm in 1995. It was also featured in a 3 page article in Peterson's Kit Car Magazine's May 1986 issue. I can tell you some funny stories about Billy's ownership.
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Old 12-05-2022, 07:19 PM
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I sold ERA 044 to a gentleman who owned Carson Toyota, in Carson, CA. He drove it for a few months and then flipped it. Tony S lived in Marina Del Ray and ran with the LA heavy hitter crowd and got talking with Billy Idol and ended up selling it. Billy picked up the car from Tony's dealership and drove it up to his place in Hollywood.
Billy never got to his home, smoke starting coming out of the rearend & trunk, so he took it to a shop in Hollywood who stored Billy's collections of motorcycles. Billy called Tony S and Tony referred Billy to call me to help do a root cause analysis for the smoke.
I was on a speaker phone with Billy & the shop owner and I asking them a number of questions of what to feel and where to look. I was at a loss and then I finally asked them what position is the emergency brake handle in? Is it horizontal or point towards the sun? They said it was pointing towards the sun. The whole shop broke up in laughter and the employees were calling Billy various names that started with a D.
I told him to put it down and take if for a 15-20 ride and see if it still smokes and call me back with the results. It didn't smoke anymore.
Even thou I didn't display the ERA044 S/N on the car, when I registered the car with the California DMV, the CHP installed the state's vin # where I asked them to put it, in the trunk, drivers side on a horizontal steel cross brace just behind the bulkhead between the two vertical rollbar hoops. It was registered as a Specialty Constructed Vehicle.
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Old 12-06-2022, 02:03 AM
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Do you have any good pictures of ERA 044 that you could post here?

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Glen
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Old 12-06-2022, 07:54 AM
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Additional details on ERA044 that Billy Idol purchased.
I indicated that I had additional anecdotes about Billy's early use of ERA044. In those days (mid-80s) he was appearing in Vegas. He had owned the car for about a year and I got a call from him & the owner of the shop who maintained his motorcycle collection and Billy had a major problem driving it back from Vegas to LA.
While heading west bound on the interstate at speed, Billy and his passenger saw something bright/shinny streaking past the car into the desert. Then they saw a wheel/tire starting to pass up the car on the right side and rolled out into the desert for about 100 yards. Believe me, I couldn't write a script better than this if I tried. The car was equipped with the 6 drive pin knock wheels.
First the wing nut flew off and passed up the car and then the wheel came out of the wheel well without any damage to the body/chassis and sheared off all the drive pins. This was living proof that the ERA Cobra is a 50/50 weight distribution vehicle and sat at rest with one wheel missing.
They wanted to know where they could get new drive pins & a new knockoff spinner. I gave them Mike McCluskey's name and business contact info in Torrance, CA. It was Mike who I purchased all of their brand new Trigo wheels, adapters, wingnuts in 1982.
I asked how the wing nut came off because I was very serious about safety and lock wired the wingnut to the wheels, I was a test engineer for an aircraft manufacture and safety was everything.
Billy responded that he had a flat tire on the right rear, 295/50x15 BFG radial. He just had a typical tire store do the flat repair and put it back on the car. I strongly suspect that no one in that shop had a shot filled hammer to knock on the 3 ear wing spinner and NO lock wire & No lock wire pliers.
Correction to my earlier comment about winning best Cobra replica @ Knottsberry Farm Show, it was in 1985 and not 1995 as shown.
A note on pictures of the car: I do have photos of the finished car and photos it during the build, but I will need to have those photos converted into digital. It will take some time.
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Old 12-06-2022, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul A View Post
This was living proof that the ERA Cobra is a 50/50 weight distribution vehicle and sat at rest with one wheel missing.
That is absolutely f'ing amazing. Over the winter I'm going to test that out with mine (in the garage with something under the frame so it can only drop an inch or so). I would never imagine that you could drive on three wheels.
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Old 12-06-2022, 05:42 PM
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Wow a thread from 2005 that's actually interesting.
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Old 12-06-2022, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
That is absolutely f'ing amazing. Over the winter I'm going to test that out with mine (in the garage with something under the frame so it can only drop an inch or so). I would never imagine that you could drive on three wheels.
Wait a minute, couldn't you also test this my driving very slowly over a big pot hole with the back right wheel and if you can drive on three wheels then the tire shouldn't drop down in the hole. Hmmmm, where is eschaider when you need him?
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Old 12-06-2022, 05:53 PM
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You originally put a 427So with 12/1 compression and it was a mistake? Sold it with a 428cj?

The SO is a very finicky engine.

Especially at 12/1?
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Old 12-06-2022, 05:58 PM
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You originally put a 427So with 12/1 compression and it was a mistake? Sold it with a 428cj?

The SO is a very finicky engine.

Especially at 12/1?
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Old 12-07-2022, 02:18 PM
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In regard to my reference of saying the 427side-oiler with 12:1 compression was a mistake could appear to be misleading and I would like to clarify that.
There is nothing wrong with the basic 427side-oiler, it's a fantastic bullet proof engine.
I made a big mistake in attempting to build an exact copy of a factory built comp/semi-comp Cobra. I handed Peter @ERA a deposit for a kit with some options, but not a roller assembly in 1981 and immediately went out and found the holy grail of all 427 engines: a Holman/Moody Marine built 427s.o race engine that came out of a local V-bottom drag boat that raced in the greater LA area Drag Boat series. It had low engine hours and was setup to redline at 7000rpm with 12:1 compression. It contained all the expensive Lemans rods, crank, dampener, pillow-block rocker-arm shaft end supports, etc. You had to have Big ***** to keep your foot on the throttle. I did, but here is why I pulled it out.
California was the leading state in fighting pollution and by 1980/1981, the state started phasing out leaded gas and I was not paying attention. By the time I got the kit in 1982 and started installing all the the driveline pieces and all of the front suspension pieces, making all of the subtle changes to the body & aluminum work for the engine compartment, the time went by and it was 1984 when I got it painted and registered. 100 octane gas in California was gone forever, unless you wanted to buy racing gas in 55 gallon drums.
Compression makes horsepower, it also makes HEAT, it also makes NOISE.
It was not a comfortable car to drive at 65-70 mph because you could not carry on a conversation with your passenger-you had to yell at them, the footboxes were constantly hot. I used octane booster additives every time I filled the tank, but was concerned about pre-ignition/detonation. I never heard the death rattle, but my best friend, Steve W, who built ERA005 equipped with a dual quad tunnel-port head 427so with 11:1 compression would display the knocking rattle when he simply floored the gas at 60mph in 4th gear.
I finally had enough of the heat and noise, and the burned out fiberglass packed muffler blanks welded into the side pipes and parked the car for a month. 500 miles and the side-pipe muffles were burned out.
I then came out to the garage and pulled one head off and found the early signs of significant number of small holes being burned into the dome-top pistons. I had enough with trying to drive a car with a race engine on the streets of California in 1985/86. The times were changing.
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Old 12-07-2022, 02:38 PM
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Anyone have a picture of him in this car?
Would make a great story better....
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Old 12-07-2022, 06:17 PM
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Two blockbuster hits to listen to while driving your Cobra. Turn up the volume and Enjoy.
1. ZZ Tops "Gimme some lovin". Designed for cruising at a constant speed while enjoying the beautiful scenery or happening events around you.

2. Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell". Be careful when & where you listen to Billy"s song while driving your Cobra because it could be dangerous. The words go: "In the midnight hour she cried, More, More, More". With his driving beat and the words, you will find yourself nailing the throttle.
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Old 12-07-2022, 11:13 PM
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I looked at pinterest and saw him standing in front of a red cobra. I could get the picture posted.
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Old 12-08-2022, 12:06 AM
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Billy idol cobr

https://images.app.goo.gl/GXhXsvAU9yXrJLPB6
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Old 12-08-2022, 06:18 AM
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Default Proof of Billy Idol's ERA Cobra s/n ERA044

Wow, it's been over 35 years since I saw my Red with Silver stripes ERA Cobra. I also had Santini paint the wheel centers with the same silver paint as the stripes. Too bad the front wheels are turned to the right and not filling out the wheel wells. This is ERA044 and I will work on getting some of my album pictures converted into digital.
Was this picture taken in front of a Vegas Casino?
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