two New Era Minis were based on 1959 and 1960 basic 848 cc Minis and carried
with them all the virtues and vices of the standard Mini. The third New Era Mini (the present POP 22)
used a 1960 Austin Seven body shell, but its gestation period was longer such
that it was able to gain Cooper ‘S’ disc brakes and a 997 cc Cooper engine. The outstanding feature of the New Era body
shells was that they were all steel, unlike most of the other conversions which
included either part or complete fibreglass bodies. The panel beating of the first two cars was
performed by craftsmen from Burt Brothers, an old Birmingham engineering company. It is said that panel beaters on strike from
the Longbridge car factory were responsible for the work on the third car –
this may or may not be true. The cars
retained their original front panel, but with the New Era front beaten into
shape and welded onto the original front.
The ‘A’ posts of the third car were cut and rewelded at a more raked
angle to give a lower roofline. The
sloping back was beaten into shape and then welded into position. The reduced roofline meant that the
cars were virtually two seaters.
interior of the third car was extensively modified and trimmed with leather and
wood by Ken Nightingale. Restall
buckets seats were fitted, also trimmed from the same batch of leather hides
that were used for the interior door panels.
An extensive set of instruments were fitted. This is how you will find the car today.