Berkeley Car Models

Sports (SA322 and SE328)

Berkeley Sports

Production 1956–1958
1422 approx produced.[5]

Body style 2-door roadster

Engine 322 or 328 cc transverse two stroke twin, air-cooled

Wheelbase 68 in (1,700 mm) [6]

Length 122.5 in (3,110 mm) [6]

Width 50 in (1,300 mm) [6]

Height 43.5 in (1,100 mm) [6]

SA328 fitted with a Honda CB400 super sport engine.

Berkeley's first production car was the 'Sports' (type SA322), announced in September 1956 and produced from October 1956 to January 1957. It was a glass-fibre monocoque, two-seater open tourer powered by a British Anzani twin-cylinder 322 cc two-stroke engine producing 15 bhp (11 kW; 15 PS) and mounted transversely driving the front wheels via a chain and three speed gearbox. The engine was already used by various small motorcycle manufacturers such as Cotton and Greeves, but in the Berkeley was fitted with a Siba Dynastart to provide both battery charging and electric starting. It was a very clever little two stroke engine which incorporated a rotary inlet valve mechanism in the centre of the crankshaft.

The car had all round independent suspension by coil springs and in spite of the tiny engine gave remarkably good performance owing to its light weight (kerb weight 700 lb (320 kg)[6]) and excellent roadholding. Girling hydraulic brakes with 7 in (180 mm) drums were used.

Although usually configured as a two seater with simple bench seat, a hatch could be removed from behind the front seat revealing a compartment normally containing the spare wheel and some luggage space which could double as a basic seat for a small child. Equipment was basic, even the fuel gauge was an extra. This car has often incorrectly been called the B60 to make it 'fit' with the later model names, but it was never marketed under that name. The identification plate was a plain stamped alloy rectangle fitted on the engine bay side wall just above the Dynastart and marked SA322 B1 etc. (Sports Anzani 322cc Berkeley Chassis number 1). The gearbox was a three speed type HJR5, and these cars had sloping front edges to the doors so that when the doors were opened they hinged upwards and closed by themselves.

After 163 of the SA322 cars had been manufactured, a change was made to the SE328 model with a 328 cc Excelsior engine offering 18 bhp (13 kW; 18 PS). The production run ran from Jan 1957 to April 1958 with chassis numbers from 164 to 1422, many being exported to the United States. The export model was differentiated by having separate headlamps whereas on the home market they were faired into the wings, although the export type lamps could be specified.

Early cars from Jan 1957 to about chassis number 476 in June 1957 still used a column gear change. During their production run a Deluxe model was offered which was bodily the same but featured polished wheel trims and spinners, tachometer and twin carburettors. The chassis plate was similar to the Anzani type on the early cars but was later changed to a printed type fitted to the bulkhead above the brake master cylinder. The printed type chassis plate had type ‘SE328’ printed on it. Most of these cars had the three-speed gearbox similar to the Anzani except for the mounting flanges. All of the cars had the sloping leading edges to the doors.

The Motor magazine tested a 328 cc Berkeley in 1957 and found it to have a top speed of 62.1 mph (99.9 km/h) and acceleration from 0-50 mph (80 km/h) in 30.6 seconds. A fuel consumption of 58.3 miles per imperial gallon (4.85 L/100 km; 48.5 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £574 on the home market including taxes of £152[6] (equivalent to £10.3 thousand today).

The SE328 enjoyed considerable success and press exposure through their involvement with lightweight motor racing, and their famous drivers included Pat Moss who drove one in the 1958 Liège-Brescia-Liège rally for cars up to 500cc. The Berkeley team – a works-supported entry of six cars including BBC commentator Robin Richards – led as far as Slovenia, but slow climbing in summer heat found their weakness and Pat ended up being towed back to Italy by another Berkeley.

Sports and Twosome (SE492)

Berkeley Sports SE492

Body style 2-door roadster

Engine 492 cc transverse two stroke three cylinder, air-cooled

Wheelbase 70 in (1,778.0 mm)[7]

For 1957 the engine was changed to a 30 bhp (22 kW; 30 PS), Excelsior three-cylinder 492 cc with three carburettors. This engine configuration was made possible by the vertically split crankcase of the Excelsior engine and modular crankshaft and barrels, which made adding a central cylinder relatively easy. A four speed gearbox was standardised. The top speed was now 80 mph (130 km/h). The production ran from October 1957 to March 1959 with chassis numbered 1 to 666. From about October 1958, in order to coincide with the introduction of the 'Foursome' (see below), they were renamed the ‘Twosome’. Also at the 1958 Motor Show a Fixed Head (or Hardtop) was announced and displayed that had internal AND external door handles, but there are no records that this body style actually reached production.

It is probable that cars pre chassis number 120 (approx), about April 1958, had similar bodies to the early Berkeley “Sports” cars. Cars from about April 1958 to the end of production had vertical front door edges and internal door hinges as well, as body moulding and a few mechanical changes. Early cars were fitted with the four speed TR gearbox whilst later cars had the larger and stronger VR gearbox.

The cars were successful in Motor Sport and Giovanni Lurani bought three which he took to Italy, fitted them with his own design of hardtop, and running them in the 750 cc GT class, one driven by Lorenzo Bandini finishing first in the 1958 Monza 12 hour race.

Reliability, always questionable with the aircooled two-strokes, became more of an issue with the extra heat generated by the triple, and there are many recorded reports of warranty claims. At one point the US authorities appear to have stopped a shipment of Berkeleys at the dock pending rectification of what they considered a serious design issue. There seems little doubt that profitability of the Berkeley programme was impacted as a result of these claims and the aggressive export drive to markets not familiar with the eccentricities of British sports motoring.

B95 and B105

Berkeley B95 and B105

1960 Berkeley B95

Production 1959–1961
200 approx produced.[5]

Body style 2-door roadster

Engine 692 cc transverse four stroke twin, air-cooled

Wheelbase 70 in (1,778.0 mm)[7]

Length 125 in (3,200 mm)[5]

Width 50 in (1,270.0 mm)[7]

Height 45 in (1,143.0 mm)[7]

The B95 and B105 models were launched at the 1959 Geneva Motor Show and boasted more power from twin-cylinder Royal Enfield 692 cc four-stroke engines, with the 40 bhp (30 kW; 41 PS) Super Meteor engine in the B95 and the 50 bhp (37 kW; 51 PS) Constellation unit in the B105 which could reputedly exceed the magic 100 mph (160 km/h). The engines featured Berkeley-design primary chain cases to accommodate a Bendix starter motor, and duplex (or double-row) chain drive to the differential. Kerb weight increased to 402 kg (890 lb). B95 engine numbers have the unique prefix 'SMTB', while B105 engines are prefixed 'SMUA'.

The prototype car was SE492 chassis number 638, which was modified to add bracing to withstand the extra power and weight of the four-stroke engine, a taller bonnet (US hood) with large grille to accommodate the engine, and unfaired headlights. In mid-February 1959 this car spent two weeks at the Royal Enfield factory, during which time it covered 500 miles of general road use and 1,000 mi (1,600 km) of endurance testing at MIRA.

By the time of the press release announcing the launch of the B95 in March 1959, a further 2,500 mi (4,000 km) of road and track tests had also been carried out by Berkeley factory drivers. Perhaps to address the reputation for breaking down that the two-strokes had developed, especially in export markets, it was emphasised by the factory that during this testing there had been no involuntary stops or any form of mechanical failure, and that further testing would be performed until a total of 15,000 mi (24,000 km) had been completed.

At its launch, the B95 cost £659 (equivalent to £11.4 thousand today). About 200 B95 and B105 models were made, with chassis numbers following-on from the SE492 series and chassis number 670 (the earliest known B95) was registered at the end of March 1959. The first B105, chassis number 686, was delivered about one month later.

About half of the four-stroke cars were exported, and both the B95 and B105

T60 and T60/4 Three Wheelers

Berkeley T60

1960 T60 Three-wheeler

Production 1959–1960
1800 made[5]

Body style 2-door roadster

Engine 328 cc transverse two stroke twin, air-cooled

Length 122.5 in (3,110 mm) [5]

Surprisingly late-on in the British microcar boom of the 1950s, Berkeley's only three-wheeler model was not introduced until September 1959. It was an instant success in the UK where three-wheelers could legally be driven on a motorcycle licence, so were suitable for a motorcyclist with family. Another advantage was that the purchase and road tax fees for three-wheelers cost considerably less than four-wheeled vehicles. Thus at its launch, the T60 only cost £400 (equivalent to £6.93 thousand today).

They were fitted with the 328cc Excelsior Talisman engine like the older SE328, and the four speed and reverse type VR gearbox, and were available as both soft and hardtops. Chassis numbers run from 1 to approximately 1800, the chassis plate was the printed SE328 type but with the ‘SE328’ part is often drilled out and T60 stamped in the chassis number block with the chassis number, the plate was mounted on the bulkhead above the brake master cylinder.

In their road test of October 1959, The Motor Cycle magazine described the car as "a fascinating, front-wheel-drive sports car which combines economy with liveliness and superb cornering."[9]

Drive was still to the front wheels through a four speed gearbox, but a trailing arm replaced the swing axle independent suspension of the four wheeled cars. The very last cars had a revised ‘unit’ front and rear suspension layout, presumably to stop the bridge over the differential from breaking and the rear damper top mount detaching itself from the car.

The T60/4 was produced from October 1960 and are mechanically and outwardly similar to the later T60. It was the same length and width as the standard T60, but differed in having extra room in the back for two seats, the additional space being created by a revised rear body moulding, thus creating proper seats in the back for two children. The rear bench seat was fastened to the car and the centre backrest had a bulge in it because of the revised rear wheel arch. The Car was available in both soft-top and hardtop forms. These cars used the revised front and rear suspension layouts used on the very late T60’s.

Both variants of T60 were in production at the time the company was declared insolvent in December 1960.


Berkeley B65

Production 1960
Less than 20 produced.[5]

Body style 2-door roadster

Engine 492 cc transverse two stroke three cylinder, air-cooled

Wheelbase 70 in (1,778.0 mm)[7]

The B65 was announced in September 1960 to compliment the T60, B95 and B105. They are bodily the same as late SE492 and shared some body panels with the T60, and were fitted with the 328cc Excelsior engine. Although logically these cars should have run from chassis number 1422 to 1520, it seems more likely that chassis numbers ranged from 1500 to 1520. Very few of these cars are known to exist and the ones that do seem to suggest a production run of about 20 cars or less. All cars had the later SE492 type bodyshell, complete with the lower front right hand side bulge in the punt, to accommodate the larger 492cc engine. The type reference marked on the chassis plate is B65.


Berkeley Bandit

1961 Berkeley Bandit

Production 1960
2 made[5]

Body style 2-door roadster

Engine 997 cc longitudinal four stroke four-cylinder, water-cooled

Wheelbase 82 in (2,082.8 mm)[7]

Length 143 in (3,600 mm) [5]

Width 54 in (1,371.6 mm)[7]

Height 44 in (1,117.6 mm)[7]

For 1961 the intention was to move into the mainstream sportscar market with the Bandit designed by John Tojeiro.[5] This was to be powered by the 997 cc Ford engine (as in the 105E Anglia) with Berkeley-designed MacPherson strut front and independent rear suspension. The car had a complex sheet steel chassis, braced by a GRP floor which was riveted to it, and boasted 8in diameter Girling disc brakes at the front. This made the design more conventional than earlier models, but still retaining a distinctive design and relatively light weight. The project did not progress due to the financial difficulties facing the company at the end of 1960 and fierce competition from the cheaper Mini and Austin-Healey Sprite, and despite active involvement in the project from Ford the Bandit failed to survive Berkeley's insolvency. Only two prototypes were produced; the original Motor Show and press car registration number 700CNM, which has since been restored, and a second prototype car registered YRX292, which was last seen in Swindon in the late 1960s.

The car was to have sold for £798, equivalent to about £13.2 thousand today.

Berkeley Car History

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