The ERA Mini Turbo is a modified Mini city car that was produced by Engineering Research & Application Ltd. under the ERA brand name from 1989 to 1991 at Dunstable in Bedfordshire, England. The fastest-ever version of the original Mini to be sold through official dealers, it has been described as “the spiritual successor to the Cooper and the 1275 GT”.
To create the car ERA installed a turbocharged Austin Rover A-Series 1300 MG Metro engine, which produced 94 bhp and gave the car a claimed top speed of 115 mph. The body kit was styled by Dennis Adams, who also designed the Marcos sports cars and the Probe concept car.
The interior used MG Metro front seats trimmed in Connolly Leather hide, VDO instruments in an ERA-designed dash panel, pile carpeting, and a sunroof. Torque steer, common in a front-wheel drive layout, is mitigated by greater front-wheel toe-out and specially-made lower front suspension arms that provided 1.5 degrees of negative camber. The 6” x 13” aluminium alloy wheels were shod with wider 165 section low-profile tyres. The servo-assisted braking system had Metro ventilated discs and four-pot calipers at the front, with modified drums at the rear. The car featured adjustable shock absorbers all round, and the ride height was lowered.
A total of 436 ERA Mini Turbos were produced in total.
This super-rare and UK-delivered example (car number 31) has covered a mere 34,000 miles from new, and has enjoyed a recent comprehensive restoration to the condition presented here. The ERA has benefitted from much mechanical work such as a new turbo, full service with head gasket, a replacement alternator, new tyres, new brake components, also new bushes and ball joints.
The Mini still retains its original panelwork, with the exception of the doors which were reskinned with genuine new/old stock Rover items. The paintwork has been refinished to a high standard in the correct shade of Flame Red. The interior of the Mini is original with the exception of the seat faces which have been nicely retrimmed in grey leather. The original and unique wheels were acid-dipped and then have been refinished and fitted on each corner.
One of the very best available, this genuine ERA Turbo is we understand a fantastic car to drive. With the increasing fortunes of the older Cooper models, we are sure this will prove a wise choice for the collector. The Mini is offered with much service history and all original owners manuals.