Berkeley was Europe’s leading manufacturer of fiber glass caravans when it diversified into car manufacture in 1956 to fill seasonal gaps in it’s manufacturing capacity.
The first Berkeley sports car was the SA322 designed by Lawrence “Lawrie” Bond featured an all fiber glass shell and body beating the Lotus Elite which used similar technology to market by a full year.
After 163 SA322’s had been built the original 11 hp 322cc/19.65 British Anzani motorcycle engine was replaced by a 18hp 328cc / 20 cui Excelsior motorcycle engine of the type seen above. Today’s featured car is a Delux version distinguished by the twin carburetors. The two stroke motor is started with the aid of a Dynastart electric motor that also served to charge the battery once the 2 stroke motor was set in motion.
Fuel gauges were optional extra’s on Berkeley sports cars however the Deluxe models were fitted with tachometers and a fuel gauges as standard. Early Berkeleys were fitted with a column shift for the chain driven three speed gearbox that drives the front wheels.
Stirling Moss’s sister Pat drove a Berkeley Sports SE328 in the 1958 Liége-Brescia-Liége Rally as part of a six car works team and was leading as far Slovinia before the heat on the Italian hills took it’s toll and resulted in her being towed by another team car.
The diminutive chrome hub caps fitted with ‘spinners’ were another standard feature of the SE328 Deluxe. In all around 1259 SE 328’s that were capable of 70 mph accelerating from rest to 50 mph in just over 30 seconds while achieving over 50 mpg are thought to have been built.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs that were taken at last years Concours on the Avenue at Carmel by the Sea.
Thanks for joining me on this “Excelsior Twin Carb” edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !