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.
The Japanese in particular were and indeed still are huge fans of the Mini, and such many of the ERA Turbos found their way to Japan over the years. One of only 157 examples painted in red, the low mileage example you see here is no exception, having only recently been repatriated into the UK. Having spent so long in a kind climate the bodywork is presented very well, the soft grey leather is unmarked and in excellent condition, and the five-spoke alloy wheels have recently been refurbished. 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 UK V5 document, fresh MoT certificate and a selection of period brochures and road tests, this ERA Turbo is a hugely enjoyable car which can only appreciate in value.