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.
Finished in metallic British Racing Green with a grey leather interior, the example you see here was (like many others) first delivered to Japan, having been brought back to the UK more recently. As such the Mini has survived very well, with very little evidence of rust to the bodywork and chassis. The Mini has been converted to run on a Weber carburettor, but can be converted back to turbo induction easily, with suitable units available to purchase for c. £300.
The little ERA is said to be huge fun to drive, which comes as no surprise with a powerful turbocharged engine, lightweight body and nimble chassis. Offered with a recent MoT certificate, the ERA Turbo is a hugely enjoyable car which can only appreciate in value.