Car Plus Trailer: 1957 Berkeley SE328

Berkeley Cars Ltd. was an English producer of sporty microcars and had a relatively short span in business – 1956 to 1960. One of their cars was the SE328, which stood for Sports Edition and the engine size (328 cc). While many of them made it into the U.S., they only built about 1,200 or so of the SE328, so they were a rare sight then and now. This edition from 1957 is a project that needs completion, but most of the heavy lifting has already been done. The car and the trailer that comes with it are in Boise, Idaho, and available here on craigslist for $7,200. Thanks to our finder of great finds, Ikey Heyman, for uncovering this one for us!

The SE328 models, like all Berkeley cars, had front-wheel drive and were nimble in the handling department. Speed was another issue. The engine, which was 328cc, transverse-mounted, two-stroke twin and air-cooled, put out only 18 hp, so top speed was said to be between 62 and 70 mph, but it took 30 seconds to go from 0 to 50. Fuel mileage was in the 50-mpg range. The SE328 was only built for 15 months in 1957 and 1958. The SE328 employed a 3-speed manual transmission, column-shifted at first and floor-shifted later (the seller’s car is floor-shifted, making it a later 1957 edition). The 2-seat roadster was small, measuring just 122 inches long and 50 inches wide. Thanks, Wikipedia, for the SE328 run-down.

This 1957 SE328 is for sale because the seller has too many projects and needs more time to devote to flying! It looks to be a project that doesn’t require that much work to be finished. The body panels all look good and the red paint is nice. The top is in excellent condition and is said to never have been used. In the photos, the taillights are missing but the seller has them. The seat and the instrument panel look to be good, but I’m guessing it will need a floor covering.

The motor is ready to go and is said to run well. We’re also told that the master cylinder has been rebuilt, but the brakes still need bleeding. The fuel tank and battery are not shown, but the car comes with both, the latter being new. The tires are the original Michelins, so the buyer should be prepared to replace all of them.  When you buy the car, you get the trailer for free – it’s a package deal. Apparently, the trailer is the perfect size to haul this little car around on. It’s an all-steel deck-type made for motorcycles. It has new tires and wheel bearings.

While the car is available in Boise, the seller is willing to deliver across a wide area: Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and Northern California.  As one of 1,259 built, the top dollar for these cars according to Hagerty is $21,000 with “good” being about half that. So, given the condition of what’s there and the amount of work still needed, the asking price sounds about right. The trailer alone is said to be worth $1,000.

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Comments

  1. Somer

    That’s good value. I had one years ago. So light you could pick it up and walk it like a wheel barrel.

    Like 3
    • Josh Josh Staff

      So, I had to give this a try. Sure enough, I was able to pick up the back and move it around our shop like a wheel barrel! It sure makes it easy to put it up on jack stands.

  2. Bruce Rolfe

    This used to be my fathers car. We sold it after he passed away. The trailer is what gave it away.

    Like 17
  3. Bultaco

    Put a modern bike engine behind the seat driving the rear wheels. That’ll fix the 0-60 time.

    Like 4
  4. TRPIV

    Hayabusa swap!

    Like 6
  5. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    Josh and I actually went and bought this! I’ve wanted one for a while and it was here close so we couldn’t resist. We will post some updates when we get it to the shop!

    Like 27
    • Paul Bandelier

      My old man has two of them. Want some more?

      Like 5
      • Josh Josh Staff

        Possibly. Could you email us photos of them? Our address is mail@barnfinds.com

        Like 3
      • Royal

        Post pics

        Like 1
  6. TRPIV

    Niiice! Congratulations.

    Like 3
  7. Phil B.

    Wow, what a neat little car. The engine looks like a free air snowmobile two stroke from the 60s.

    Like 2
    • Josh Josh Staff

      The engine is an Excelsior two stroke. Incredibly, the engine number matches up with the VIN tag, so it’s the original unit. Tomorrow, we will try to get it started up to see how it runs.

      Like 10
      • Nathan S

        Be careful starting these engines. The cranks are pressed together and if the timing is off you can actually twist the crank and do some serious damage. I have a 1957 SE328 myself, but I do not have the original motor, I am just going by what another local Berkeley guru told me about the Excelsior motors a while ago. Good luck! They are great little cars!

        Like 3
      • luke arnott Member

        Thought these had a Villiers engie,which is what Excelsior used after the war until they finished.

  8. Mark

    This is an unusual find for Barn Finds but not so for us. We have several in various states of repair, both 3 and 4 wheelers. The body on this one looks good but the bodies are the least of our worries as we have all the moulds as well. Good luck with the project, they are a fun little car.

    Like 2
    • Simon

      I would like a three wheeler.

  9. Bruce Rolfe

    I need to fire up my old desktop PC and see if I have pics of this car when my dad had it. If I find them I will post them to the site for you guy’s.

    Like 4
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      That would be helpful Bruce as a few parts appear to have gone missing. There should be a strut brace in the front but we don’t know if the last owner misplaced it or if it disappeared long ago. Should be super fun once we get it all put back together!

      Like 1
      • Michelle rand

        Join the UK Berkeley Club. I have found it to be very helpful, and frankly sometimes hilarious like when they recounted the story of a couple who did the micro car rally up some huge mountain range. At one point the passenger had to get out and walk, to relieve the weight in the car so it could make it up the pass. Note: do not be the passenger.

        Like 3
  10. tompdx

    Nice looking car! The front end has a mini-A/C look

    Like 1
  11. Sid Cannon Sidney M Cannon Member

    In a sea of look alike cars this one is very interesting and refreshing.
    Good score Barn Finds Crew!

    Like 1
  12. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Coming from the country that mad everyone the Austin 7 and others….never understood how a 1 liter car engine never was transplanted?

    Like 1
    • Michelle rand

      You need to drive one. A big motor would blow the car apart, ha ha!

  13. Roger Buck

    I had the 492 cc version in British Racing Green. I still have the portable fuel tank I used to mix the oil with gas. The starting routine was turn on the ignition and wait for the electric fuel pump to stop clicking (fully pressurized). Open the hood. There were no air filters on the Amal carburetors (one for each of the three cylinders). Press the button on each carb (that depressed the float) until fuel runs out. Close the hood, get back in the car, press the start button on the dash, and the car is running. The Ciba Dynastart was on the crankshaft (no gearing) so the engine magically came to life.

    Like 1
  14. Josh Josh Staff

    So we got the Berkeley home! I won’t spoil anything yet, since we will be posting a full update on it tomorrow, but what an awesome find. This little car is possibly the coolest find we’ve ever had!

    Like 4

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