Game Changer! 1958 Berkeley SE328

As frequent Barn Finds readers know, Berkeleys are small, motorcycle engined British sports cars that have largely fiberglass bodies and a steel central tub. They also tend to be found in dilapidated condition, usually without an engine. If an engine is present, it’s usually something it didn’t leave the factory with that someone decided it would be a good idea to shoehorn in. So imagine my surprise when I looked into this find submitted by reader 64 Bonneville and it had not only an engine that would turn over, but the original Excelsior Talisman Twin engine! That’s a game changer for me! It’s located in Elizabeth, Colorado and is listed for sale here on craigslist. The asking price for this rare little roadster is only $3,500!

The 6-character plates were used from 1982 to 1992 in Colorado, so we know it’s been off the road for a good while. The seller tells us they have the doors (great!) but does not mention the windshield frame, top, seats or other components that aren’t present in the pictures. Obviously, a call would be in order before going to look, depending on how important those things are to you. It’s great that all the wheels are intact, though, as they are quite unusual and can be difficult to come by.

Here’s that Excelsior Talisman Twin engine — isn’t that a cool name? And it’s the original engine, as you can tell from the chassis plate here and the engine plate here. I’m hoping other components of the drive system are there as well. A vintage motorcycle shop should be able to help you with this one.

The seller is kind enough to include this pictures of a completed Berkeley restoration project to give you an idea of how far you have to go get you enthusiastic about restoring this one. I don’t think that’s what the factory windshield looked like; that being said, it looks nice and that’s something that could be duplicated in Lexan relatively easily. Do you think this tiny little sports car could be a game changer for you?

 

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Comments

  1. Dave

    We still have six-character plates.

    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      Yep. In fact, very few 7 character plates in CO. Usually they are vanity plates.

      • wuzjeepnowsaab

        I’ll add to that, this is a newer 6 character plate. Earlier plates had numeric/alpha layouts, newer ones are the opposite…alpha/numeric layout

        Not that the plate semantics matters much…this Berkeley is a cool little car!

  2. Mr. Bond

    Not sure if that’s orange or a faded red! These are really tiny. Two average size guys can barely sit side by side. Most big 4×4’s out there would hardly notice you were there.

    • norm

      and with the way people drive these days , you would have to drive extremely careful and wary of a landscape of uncaring suv and giant crewcab pilots …..

  3. Michael Rogers

    I’ve been saving a 1200cc, carbureted, dohc water cooled, 5 speed, shaft drive Yamaha drivetrain for one of those for years, YEE HAW!

  4. gbvette62

    A high school buddy of mine had a Berkeley. We screwed around with it in the late 60’s, but never did get it licensed and on the road. Sat behind his parents garage for a long time, and I think his father eventually sold it.

    It was a shame because it was a pretty complete little Berkeley, really just needed some paint and TLC to finish it up. Of course that was before it sat out uncovered for 15-20 years.

  5. Jim Fox

    The last photo is my car taken at a club event here in California. I had a new 1957 SE 328 that I raced back then. They are fun cars and pretty easy to work on.

  6. RobM

    FYI, there is no “steel central tub”, only bonded aluminum. However there steel pickup points for suspension. Fun cars!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thanks for the correction, Rob! The only one I’ve ever seen in person was hanging on the wall (vertically) in a no-longer-existent import car repair shop in Raleigh, NC…and that was back in the 1980’s.

  7. chad

    a 330 cc engine, 700 lb car…what is the rest of the drive train (4speed? chain drive?)

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