Berkeley Cars were produced between October 1956 and December
1960 by Berkeley Coachworks at their Hitchin Street, Biggleswade
factory. Designed by Laurie Bond of Minicar fame, the original
Berkeley Sports was a lightweight two-seater sports car powered by
a 322cc Anzani two-stroke twin.
The Berkeley unit was fitted with 12 volt electrics; a
three-speed and reverse gearbox was later replaced with a
four-speed and reverse Albion gearbox. The car was unique at its
time of launch in that it employed, not only a transverse engine
driving the front wheels, but a complete fibreglass monocoque
chassis reinforced locally by lightweight aluminium sections. This
provided the car with a maintenance free (no rust) chassis of
immense strength and very low weight.
Throughout their short career, Berkeley's built up an enviable
reputation in the field of competition. With superb brakes,
leech-like road holding and immense bags of 'chuckability', what
they lost on the straight, they soon made up on the corners.
This car was manufactured in 1957 at the height of the
bubble-car rage when many micro-cars were produced using small
motor cycle engines; chassis 248 was in one of the first batch
produced. Originally built with a three-speed column gear change
and an Excelsior engine, it was modified in factory to floor change
and, more recently, the Excelsior engine has been 'blue-printed';
it also benefits from new bearings, a ported barrels and new rear
shock-absorbers. Purchased by the present owner in 1981 and
completely rebuilt, this charming example comes with an extensive
history file and enormous smile-factor!
For sale by auction on Saturday 26 November 2016 with Historics at Brooklands, Brooklands Motor Racing Circuit, Weybridge, Surrey, Call 01753 639170