Unusual Three Wheeler! 1959 Berkeley T60

Ever heard of a Berkeley? We have covered them here at Barn Finds before but I have to admit, I’ve missed those posts. This example is a bit special as it’s a three-wheeler – how unusual! Let’s take a closer look and see what we have here. This 1959 Berkeley T60 is located in Manchester, England and is available, here on Facebook Marketplace for £2,000, or about $2,700.

A 1959 Berkeley T60 as it is supposed to appear

The listing for this most unusual car is extremely thin and the pictures are few so we’ll have to glean what we can. Berkeley Cars Ltd, a producer of economical microcars, was a short-lived enterprise, existing between 1956 and 1960. Berkeley relied on fiberglass or “glass-reinforced plastic” and transverse-mounted motorcycle engines to power their cars. There were numerous “traditional” roadsters designed and built, similar to competing manufacturers, but the T60 took a different and unique approach. The three-wheeled T60 was considered, for registration purposes, to be a motorcycle and was taxed accordingly. Relatively popular with approximately 1,800 copies assembled, the T60 was offered in both the ’59 and ’60 model years. Poor cash flow in 1960 adversely affected Berkeley’s viability and in spite of support from Ford Motor Company, Berkeley closed its doors for good. All told about 4,000 Berkeley vehicles were built over its four years of existence.

Our 94K KM (about 59K miles) subject car has a disassembled four-cylinder, transverse-mounted engine, not the 18 HP, 328 CC, air-cooled twin that should be in place. As to what it is, no idea, there’s no surrounding detail. The transmission is listed as a manual but there is no description on that front either. Whatever the case, the engine is in pieces and is hardly operable.

The body of this T60 is rough but intact, there are no comprehensive images of it so a detailed examination is not possible but there is no sign of the typical foibles that befall a fiberglass body. The designation of “UYE981” stenciled across the header could be…a license tag number perhaps? There is a fold-up canvas top in place but it’s difficult to discern anything else. The story with the interior is similar, the seats are missing and it is an environment in disarray. The red dash is a peculiar sight with the blue exterior, while not known for certain, one or the other has probably been changed.

Interesting car? Sure! Restorable back to road-worthy status? Maybe, depends on what’s going on under the hood along with a lot of other undisclosed items. It’s unlikely there will be a buyer on this side of the Atlantic but to all of our readers in the U.K. what do you think, interested?

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Comments

  1. EPO3

    I cant figure out how I can put a turbo 3.8 in this thing.But I’ll sleep on it AND I’LL GET BACK TO YOU TOMORROW

    Like 2
  2. luke arnott Member

    This car was first registered in London (UYE).

    Like 1
  3. Tom Lehnen

    That looks more like the SE328 4 wheel car from the last picture…

    Like 1
  4. Neville

    Should be fun, there’s already a mini engine in it, at least you’ll have reverse, should go like stink!😀🇬🇧

    Like 1
  5. ChingaTrailer

    The engine is from an Austin Mini or similar variant, minus the head. Gotta wonsee how they worked the radiator out.

    Like 1
  6. Randy

    Looks like an Austin Mini engine in there, complete with a hood bubble to fit over it. There are a lot of enthusiasts in GB that have undertaken these Berkeley projects since so few of them exist.

    My first exposure to Berkeleys here in the US was as a kid in 1960, and I fell in love with em’. I am partial to the 4-wheelers myself and am on my second one (a ’59 SE-492).

  7. Malcolm Boyes

    I owned two Berkeley T60’s. They look amazing and with front wheel drive handle on rails. With only 18 hp but in a car weighing about 500 lbs you can cruise at 65/70 flat out all day. These look like baby Maseratis from the front with covered headlight years before the E Type. This will probably get snapped up in the UK and restored. Anyone interested in Berks ( BTW pronounced UK style BARKley) should check out/join the Berkeley Enthusiats Club..very active and helpful members.One thing to know..although they were fiberglass some were steel reinforced and some aluminum..the steel ones can rote and cause problems…other than that they are simple, air could and really COOL!

  8. Mark

    Pretty poor description as it is not a Berkeley T60, it is actually an SE328 which has had a Mini engine and manual transmission installed. The picture of the rear clearly shows it is a 4 wheeler as the 3 wheeler tapers to the rear. The dash covering is not original. The car was first registered 1958 but has not been used for probably nearly 40 years plus and it has never been registered with the Mini conversion. I know this as we have a lot of original Berkeleys both 3 and 4 wheelers and we also have all the moulds so make panels up to complete new bodies. It would have been a good price if it had the original engine in place but the Mini engine greatly reduces the value.

    Like 3
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Thanks for the clarification.

      JO

  9. Gerard Frederick

    Sadly abused. Those were great original cars, drove one for a day or so in Ft. Hood, back in the day. The one I drove had a 3-cylinder 2-stroke mill – sweet sound and smell!

    Like 2

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