Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Berserk-ly: 1958 Berkeley 328

In all disclosure, an unnamed automotive publication originally coined the term "Beserkely" for one of it's project cars that featured a Suzuki GSXR 750 motor in a lightweight British body. Since then it seems swapping obscene powerplants into Berkeleys is such an accepted practice that the moniker has become a distinct sub-species.

Which is not that much of a crime: the 328 designation of this car indicates it originally left Biggleswade, England with a 328 cc Excelsior 2 stroke twin. Even the highest output option- the Royal Enfield 692cc 4 stroke (good for 90 mph in high tune) - left room for improvement given modern ingenuity.

So it is that numerous mutations of the Laurie Bond designed body are running around with alternate motivation. This example on Ebay takes that idea to the extreme. What passes for Berkeley on this vehicle amounts to about 60lbs. of fiberglass shell; the rest being a custom tube frame housing a 692cc Tecumseh engine apparently scavenged from a Kawasaki ATV. The intent of this glorified go cart is strictly for autocross competition.

If you have never seen a Berkeley in the flesh, be advised that they are truly microcars. Despite the rakish, AC- style bodylines, these are basically undriveable cars on the street. The good news is that a couple of guys could  probably lift this car and put it in the back of a full size pickup truck and you'd be off to your next parking lot Grand Prix. Even at the Buy It Now price you cant get stung too badly. Just make sure you actually fit inside the thing before you pull the trigger.

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