The Biota history - a summary
The name Biota stands for "Bi" to indicate its two-seater design and "iota" for small, to refer to its minimal size and weight. The first prototype car was built by John Houghton in 1968 and consisted of a tubular steel spaceframe with an aluminium body. The GRP-bodied production model accepted all Mini mechanics and Series-A engines, from basic 850 up to 1275 Cooper S specs and tuning stages beyond. Delivery options included complete "turn-key" cars, and various kit "stages" to be completed by the owner with parts sourced from other Mini's.
The first commercial Biota with GRP body, delivered by Houghton Coldwell Ltd.
From 1969 - 1972, about 25 Mk 1 production models were built. The famous 1972 BARC Hillclimb championship at Prescott Hill was won in 1972 by Chris Seaman with a light-weight competition version, proving its excellent performance and road-handling capability. The Mk 2 model was built from 1972 - 1974 with various technical improvements, increased interior space, and a revised front-end body design. Only 6 Mk 2 cars were delivered when the company and production ceased in 1974, due to lack of sales combined with too high production cost
For a more comprehensive Biota history and other Mini derivatives, the wonderful book Maximum Mini by Jeroen Booij, published by Veloce Publishers, is highly recommended. Our Biota is featured in this book.