1959 Berkeley SE492 Sports news, pictures, specifications, and information
Roadster
Chassis Num: 74
Engine Num: 190
Sold for $16,500 at 2017 Bonhams.
The Berkeley family of micro cars was manufactured from 1956 to 1960 in Great Britain. The Berkeley Company was a manufacturer of travel trailers and possessed a factory full of fiberglass craftsmen. A natural outgrowth of the business, the company began building small and sporty cars with fiberglass bodies. The project was aided by Britons 'Lawrie' Bond, an aircraft engineer who would later produce his own eponymous minicar.

The collaboration between Mr. Bond and Mr. Charles Panter's Berkeley Coachworks resulted in a two-seat, fiberglass-and-aluminum-bodied, front-wheel drive, motorcycle-engined British sports car. They were produced in small numbers in the 1950s and were instantly popular. The company goals were to build an affordable, enjoyable, and small sports car that could also be raced competitively in the under-750cc category. It was soon evident that more power was needed, so Berkeley increased the engine size, topping out at nearly 500cc. The 30-horsepower Berkeley-Excelsior SE492 proved competitive, especially considering its weight of just 700 pounds. Combined with fully independent suspension, a low center of gravity, and front-wheel drive, it was both fast and nimble. Count Johnny Lurani entered a trio of SE492 roadsters, all fitted with specially-designed hard-tops, in the 1958 Monza 12 hours 750 GT category. Future Ferrari driver Lorenzo Bandini drove one of the tiny cars to a class victory.

The 492 was introduced in 1957 at the British Motor Show. It came equipped with a three-cylinder, air-cooled, two-stroke engine that displaced 492cc and made 30 horsepower. They had a four-speed transmission and front-wheel drive configuration. Total production is estimated at 666 examples of this final model before production came to a close in March of 1959.

This particular example, chassis number 74, was acquired by its current caretaker in 2013. It is finished in silver with a dark red vinyl interior. Power is from the 492cc Excelsior motorcycle engine fitted with triple AMAL carburetors. It has been fully restored to as-new condition in 2013.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2017
The SE492 was introduced to the public at a 1957 Motorshow alongside of the SE328. The SE492's were constructed to be either left or right hand drive and most were exported to the US.

The three cylinder 492 cc engine with three carburetors was capable of producing 30 horsepower. Top speed was achieved at 80 mph.

Production was low with around 650 examples of the two seaters being created. The four-seaters was even more rare with 16 examples created.

The original Berkely Manufacturing Company produced cars as early as 1913. The cars were powered by 18 horsepower engines. The company reappeared near the close of the 1950's and was located in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. The designs were created by Laurie Bond while Charles Panter provided the finacial backing. In total there were four models created and production lasted only a few years ending in 1960.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2017
Recent Vehicle Additions

1990 Toyota Pickup

1979 Toyota HJ45 Land Cruiser

1959 Berkeley SE492 Sports

2017 Fiat 500 Mirror

2017 Lotus Exige Cup 380

1981 Morgan Plus 4
Silverstone Gears Up For Another Sizzling Classic
◾Huge turnout for Media Preview Day curtain-raiser ◾Jaguar on-board as Official Partner in 2017 ◾Tiff Needell joins Formula Ford celebrations and anchors ITV4 coverage ◾Mike Brewer's Car Clinics now on both Saturday and Sunday ◾Celebrities look forward to race debuts ◾Anniversary car club parades announced ◾Last chance to buy Early Bird tickets offering significant savings Full plans for the latest illustrious chapter in the Silverstone Classic's remarkable history were confirmed at the...[Read more...]
ALL-NEW 2015 ALFA ROMEO 4C SPIDER PRICING ANNOUNCED
All-new 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Delivers Race-inspired Performance, Advanced Technologies, Seductive Italian Style, and Now an Even More Exhilarating Driving Experience With Open-air Freedom ◾All-new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider's open-air performance cockpit and mid-engine proportions draw from more than 100 years of groundbreaking and functional Italian design ◾Unique carbon fiber windshield frame and available carbon fiber 'halo' highlight 4C Spider's ultralight carbon fiber monocoque and aluminu...[Read more...]
SHELBY AMERICAN COMMEMORATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY FIA COBRA WITH SPECIAL EDITION CAR
• Iconic Shelby FIA Cobra to be Celebrated
Scottsdale, Ariz. – Jan. 17, 2014 – In 1964, Shelby American, today a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc. (CSBI:PK) introduced the FIA version of the small block Cobra, which competed in the 1964 World Manufacturers Championship series against marques like Aston Martin, Jaguar and Corvette. To celebrate the birth of the 289 Ford powered roadsters, Shelby American will offer 50 limited edition continuation (CSX70...[Read more...]
Eleanor of 'Gone In 60 seconds' Will Cross The Block At Mecum's Indy Auction
The Opportunity to Own the Original Movie Hero Car is this May 18 in Indianapolis A true movie star will make its way down Mecum's signature red carpet this May in Indianapolis. Known by most simply as 'Eleanor,' the modified 1967 Ford Mustang from Touchstone Pictures' 'Gone in 60 Seconds' will cross the block as Lot S135 at Dana Mecum's 26th Original Spring Classic auction this May 14-19. This collector car icon piloted in the movie by retired master car thief Memphis Raines, playe...[Read more...]
World's Rarest Muscle Car to Join a Spectacular Show Field at the 2nd Annual Concours d'Elegance of Texas
Houston, Texas. April 1, 2012. Organizers of the 2nd annual Concours d'Elegance of Texas have confirmed that the world's rarest muscle car, the only big block GT convertible ever built by Shelby American Inc., will be part of this year's spectacular show field on Sunday, May 5 at La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa. The 1967 Shelby GT500 Convertible was originally assigned to Carroll Shelby, the most expensive GT500 in Shelby American's company car inventory and the only Shelby GT Convertible f...[Read more...]

SE328
SE492

Image Left 1958 SE492 Sports
© 1998-2017. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.