the history of the New Era Mini conversion, an attempt to produce a higher
performance version of the basic Mini which looked sporty and special. The first version appeared within a year of
the launch of the Mini. Ken
Nightingale, designer of the car and owner of New Era Ltd, searched for
financial backing for his conversion and initially some interest was shown by
Cyril Kieft, a businessman who owned an engineering company in Wolverhampton.
Cyril Kieft had become involved in motor racing through Kieft racing cars
which contested the 500 cc racing car class along with Coopers. Had Cyril Kieft taken the plunge with investing in the conversion, there
would have a Mini Kieft as well as a Mini Cooper! The Dutch journalist, Jeroen Booij (http://www.jeroenbooij.com/) , features
58 attempts by companies and individuals to build different versions of the
basic Mini in the first edition of his book entitled ‘Maximum Mini’, although he admits that several
attempts (including the New Era Mini) eluded him. The first version of the New Era Mini
appeared in 1960 and may have been the first of all of them, although at least
one other attempt was around in the same year.
It pre-dated the launch of the Mini Cooper by several months. The various stages of the genesis of the New
Era Mini are described in the pages of this website including a full
description of the surviving car.
POP 22, the sole surviving New Era Mini after completion of restoration in 2011