19th Jun, 2024 13:00

Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire

  Lot 53

1989 Rover Mini ERA Turbo
No Reserve


(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: G9 RAE
Chassis No: SAXXL2S1020425940
MOT: Expired

  • Vanishingly rare UK supplied ERA Mini Turbo in garage-find condition
  • Only two owners from new with the current deceased lady owner from 1991
  • Displaying a very credible 27,000 miles from new
  • A very rewarding project that appears very solid and with all important parts present

ERA originally stood for English Racing Automobiles and, courtesy of its A, B and C Type models driven by such schoolboy heroes as Prince Bira, Raymond Mays, Dick Seaman and Earl Howe dominated voiturette racing in the mid to late 1930s. The sale of the company's G Type project to Bristol in 1953 brought its racing days to a close and the following year it was absorbed by the Zenith Carburettor Company and the name changed to Engineering Research & Application Ltd. However, none of the engineering skills were lost and, 35 years later ERA decided to embody them in the design and manufacture of a new performance car - the ERA Mini Turbo. Conceived as an '80s replacement for the Mini Cooper S, it was intended to combine the speed, handling and excitement of the mainstream product with a far greater level of refinement and comfort - in short, it was to be the fastest and best engineered Mini ever produced. The body modifications and spoilers were styled by Marcos designer Dennis Adams. The interior was trimmed in a combination of Connolly hide, cloth, ambla and deep sound-deadening carpet. It featured retrimmed MG Metro seats, a glass sunroof and a range of traditional VDO instruments. Power was supplied by a deliberately torquey version of the Austin Rover 1275cc Metro Turbo engine that produced 94bhp at 6200rpm. The suspension and brakes were suitably upgraded and the newcomer placed on special one-piece 6x13-inch Compomotive alloy wheels. Factory records show that just 99 UK and 337 Japanese specification cars were built all told.

First registered on 25th October 1989, this extremely rare ERA Mini Turbo was first registered as 'G212 CPD' and reputedly supplied by the renowned Sports Car dealers, HWM. Owned for only two years by the first keeper, the car was purchased by its long-term lady owner, Mrs Gladys Rae of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire in 1991. Mrs Rae's taste in vehicles is fondly remembered by her son and daughter (the vendors of the car) as according to them she owned a Mini Cooper S during the 1960s which was her pride and joy, so the ERA must have been the closest possible replacement available during the early 1990s. Mrs Rae was said to be a fairly handy driver and would often enjoy her Mini with her children and grandchildren, with pleasant trips to Brighton that were added to with the thrilling addition of the spinning turbocharger - she loved the car so much she fitted it with her personalised registration "G9 RAE" which is included with the car. Unfortunately, all of the history file (including the V5c although the car is registered with the DVLA) for the ERA has been lost to time due to Mrs Rae's untimely passing in 2019, but there is some confidence from the vendors that the mileage of approximately 27,000 miles is correct (and the condition of the car does indicate this.) In 2001, the car was laid up in Mrs Rae's dry garage due to a family friend's diagnosis of the unwelcome rumble of noisy big end bearings. Unfortunately, the Mini was never to return to the road during Mrs Rae's lifetime, so the car is now offered for sale by her family and we imagine it will be an extremely attractive proposition for any collector.

Upon inspection, we noted that the bodywork is on the whole relatively solid, thanks to the dry storage conditions; with some minimal patches of rust coming through on the offside front wing and some surface rusting underneath. Turning the engine over has not been attempted, however with some persuasion the brakes were freed off for transport. The interior, with its Connolly hide leather and extra gauges on the fabulous 80s dashboard, appears to be in remarkably well-preserved order and indicates that the mileage is most likely correct.

Offered for sale strictly as viewed, this Mini - ERA collaboration is an extremely exciting proposition for any collector and well worth financial investment to make a highly original example of an extremely rare 1980's take on an Issigonis designed icon.

For more information, please contact:
Lucas Gomersall
07484 082430


Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 19th Jun, 2024

An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars held at the iconic and visually stunning Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Venue Details 

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