Three Wheels Or Four? LGBSC* Sprite and Berkeley Finds

collage

We had two readers submit Little Green British Sports Car* finds yesterday. First up, we have a 1960 Austin-Healey Sprite with a lot of mechanical improvements but that hasn’t been driven a lot recently and needs some cosmetics. Jim S. sent us the Sprite, which is located in Chesapeake, Virginia and is for sale here on eBay at no reserve with spirited bidding. On the other hand, reader Tory A. sent in this beautiful little three-wheeled Berkeley T60 which, while not technically a barn find is neat enough to be featured anyway. It’s in Fairview, Pennsylvania and is listed for sale here on craigslist for $11,900–which is about where I expect the Sprite to end up!

s6

While the Sprite has a lot of high-quality performance modifications, all with receipts, it has some issues as well. There is rust like what you see here throughout the body. I don’t see anything that I wouldn’t classify as “typical” Sprite rust, but there’s enough that I wouldn’t want to leave it alone. As this isn’t the original paint anyway, I see no drawback to repairing the damage properly and repainting the car.

collage1

With great specs on the 1275 replacement engine and a tastefully modified interior (sorry, I love the wooden dashboard even though it’s not original at all) the car is ready to be driven with a few teething problems the seller can no longer diagnose and repair due to decreased mobility. I can easily see this car going for more than $10,000 even with the rust repair needed because so much about it is just right!

b5

If you aren’t familiar with the Berkeley T60, it was a motorcycle-engined sports car that was unusual in that it was available with an optional fourth wheel! The three wheeled versions were not generally imported here and were used in the UK to get around some regulations. This right hand drive model almost assuredly came from the UK originally based on the license plate, and has obviously either been extremely well taken care of or restored nicely; I’m betting the latter due to the quality of finish. I’m surprised to see that even the original wheel covers have survived.

collage2

The 328cc Excelsior Talisman engine didn’t offer a lot of power to drive the four-speed gearbox, but the T60 only weighed 763 pounds fully loaded according to this period road test (which also commented on the lusty engine and 60 miles per gallon!). It’s obvious that the interior accommodations don’t even measure up to the very basic Sprite, but how often do you see one, and especially in this nice condition? If I were in the market today for a LBGSC, I’d be hard-pressed to choose between the two. Which one would you prefer, and why? Let us know in the comments!

WANT ADS

WANTED 1925-1995 Vintage RV’s, Airstreams, Spartans, Vans, VW, etc Airstream We buy vintage trailers and motorhomes of most makes. We buy Airstreams of all years. Contact

WANTED 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 2 dr HT I need both rear quarters Contact

WANTED 1970-1974 Dodge colt galant looking for both windscreens and side windows Contact

WANTED 1968-72 Chevrolet Nova Looking for a survivor rough around the edges original car for a sleeper project!! Contact

WANTED 1975 Chevrolet Impla/Caprice Hood. Decent Condition / No Junk Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Dolphin Member

    The Excelsior Talisman engine wasn’t the most reliable bike engine around, and IIRC had a tendency to seize up. I think someone developed antifriction coatings for pistons that helped, but a lot of these engines got yanked out of Berkeleys and replaced by 4-cylinder bike engines, which fixed the power and reliability problems in one shot.

    A car / bike guy I knew had a Berkeley with 2 wheels close together in the rear, and replaced the Excelsior with a Kawasaki engine. The little Berkeley flew after that, maybe not like the Kawa bike it come out of, but way better than when it had the Excelsior.

    I had a ride in it with him once on a cold early Spring morning….no top or side curtains of course. Also very close….not enough room to put a piece of paper between our shoulders. Berkeleys are very small cars. It was fun, but really a novelty car to drive every once in a while.

  2. Jesper

    3wheeler, becourse its super rare.
    Im Danish, and when i was a kid we had many english cars in Denmark, but that model, i have never seen before.
    Not even on tv, or in oldtimer magasine

  3. Van

    Dumb question , does it have reverse?
    60 mpg, sign me up.

    • Bonna

      Yes it did have a reverse.

  4. Mark S Member

    I agree with the Kawasaki engine transplant, who wants to be messing around with mixing oil and fuel anyway and the power increase would be worth it too.

  5. Scotty G Staff

    That Berkeley is fantastic! That’s a no-brainer for me. I also like the AH Sprite, but I’m not big on modified vehicles so it’s the Berkeley for me.

  6. erikj

    Ive got to give my thumbs up for the Berkley. I got one through you-barnfinds and it was the cat that got the girls eyes .1956 4wheel Had to sell it since as put before, a noviltiy car. but lots of slow fun

  7. Ross W. Lovell

    . Greetings All,

    Never seen a three wheeler of one of these, just the 4 wheeled version.
    Last one I saw was powered by a Triumph Triple from the mid-70’s.
    Originally thought it might have been a Siata/Fiat, then peeked through the grille, where the was no radiator.
    Neat little cars, too small for a highway, they can go, just can’t be seen without one of those whip flags they put on dune buggys.

  8. John

    This might could become my Bugeye.

    Damn you BarnFinds. I’d just about put this idea outta my head.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Go John, go! :-)

  9. rangeroger

    There were a bunch of 4 wheel Berkeley’s with the Crosley Hotshot drivetrain. My brother-in-law had one before getting an MGB.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.