Bought when I was out of work and needed some inexpensive transport. One of my neighbours, Steve gets the credit for all servicing, fixing, mending & bodging!
A front wheel coming off a Berkeley was a regular occurrence! It was held on with a split pin, forget that & you soon sang "Two wheels on my wagon" . When it happened to me, a following motorist swore he had just said to his wife, "I had one of those once, but the wheel came off" and of course it did!
It had a completely non-standard interior and it was good for about 50mph! (downwind with the wind behind you). It wasn't spectacular on the fuel consumption but it did OK. (I seem remember being pleased to get 40+ to the gallon).
It was a plastic fantastic of the 1960s, it had a 328 cc Excelsior motorbike engine. The car started its life in 1956 when Laurie Bond approached Charles Panter of Berkeley Caravans with his new design. It was an ideal project for Berkeley who had developed considerable skills in the use of GRP, and were looking for something to fill the gaps in the very seasonal caravan market. The first Berkeley cars used a 322cc British Anzani motorcycle engine fitted with a Siba Dynastart to provide both battery charging and electric starting.
It looked good. Most of those mini cars of the era were plumb ugly. I think that comparing it with the lines of an E type Jaguar with going a little OTT!
One of the early cars was driven round a race circuit by none less than Stirling Moss who was very impressed by its handling which allowed it to be driven flat out even round the corners. (I'm not that surprised, it didn't go too fast!)
What madness brought this on? Short of money & needed to get around for job interviews!
Three wheeled classic (?) I don't think so!
Isn't the web a wonderful thing?
It's now 2011 & out of the blue, a guy called David Windle emailed me.
I quote directly as it gives so much more information to add to the Berkeley's story.
I was passed the link to your page by a friend who thought they recognised the reg number of the Berkeley T60 you own(ed). I used to own that car back in the late 60s and rebuilt it with friends as it was in a very sad state.
I'm afraid being a teenager at the time, the notion of simply restoring it back to its original condition seemed far less interesting than 'improving' it, and as it was in such poor condition and we loved working on cars, we changed the interior - which was all but missing anyway and I managed to source some parts from Prices in Leigh-on-Sea which I believe came from racing Berkeley's, the chrome 'zig zag' gear change, the finned brake drums and the bonnet with the over-sized vent (that was totally as it came - no messing with that bit!)
It used to be red with a black triangle on the bonnet, but it's good
to know that it's still around. Do you still own it? Had many happy days in
that car and only sold it because I had to get a larger - and more
reliable vehicle! Never had the wheel come off as we totally rebuilt the
front suspension, steering and diff ( I think I had a stainless steel shaft
made for the diff to stop it shearing woodruff keys (another common Berkeley
foible. The engine and gearbox were professionally rebuilt too. It cost me a
good chunk of my spare cash fixing it up! I fitted it with new Lucas lights
and a switch panel from what was then the new XJ-6 Jaguar. Tech speedo was
from a jag too, but I had it recalibrated - don't think we ever got around
to sorting out the rev counter before I sold it.
Hope you find this interesting, it's good to know it's still around. Do you still own it?
As David now knows, the car was sold on many years ago. I think it's great to hear such details from the cars past & I credit David with turning it into a sexy bit of kit (well it was back then!)
If you want to visit a really good small museum, dedicated to all Micro cars, look at this link: