The Berkeley Lives On

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Sir,

With reference to “Matters of Moment”, January, specifically the paragraph mentioning the Tamworth monopoly. In this paragraph you bemoan the lack of a “sporting three-wheeler” of the Morgan ilk, etc,

Well, with respect, damn-it Sir, you, along with motoring journalists at large, have a mental blockage where the Berkeley is concerned.

This ill-fated, poorly constructed, unreliable, under-powered (except for the Enfield-powered model) motor car has a sustained following both here and in the States. My company first took up the struggle in 1970 to maintain a spares supply, and two years ago work began in earnest to revitalise the marque.

You are disappointed that the BL unit is not more widely used in a three-wheeler. So am I, but it’s just too damned heavy, unless (a la Ranger Cub) you dispense with the doors and trim the chassis to little more than a chip basket.

I too would like to sec a hairy-chested bike motor up-front, perhaps the BSA A10 powered model we are building will fit the bill, if we can start it electrically, if we can get more than 70 watts from the generator, if we can slot-in a reverse gear and improve the diff. Or perhaps we could use the new Silk 700s, if we can, etc.

We can even produce the original moulds, but capital or the lack of it is the main problem; an unrelenting bank manager and an antagonistic family are not conducive to rapid development. Even so we are delivering a Triumph TRW 500-powered Berkeley this weekend, and today we put life into an early four-wheeler when we fired-up its Honda CB250 transplant.

We have been offered a Honda 750 engine in good condition; if anyone’s interested we’ll build a Berkeley round it for around £700. Provided they don’t mind doing without reverse!

One of our cars has taken third place the last two years running in the A-CU rally. Not much, I know, but the engine ran continuously for 18 hours (who said unreliable?).

Tamworth, look to your laurels.

Chaddesden, DAVID L. RATNER Derby Berkeley Developments

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