Berkeley Sports SA322
|Production||Oct 1956 - Jan 1957 163 approx produced.|
|Body style||2-door roadster|
|Engine||322cc transverse two stroke twin, air-cooled|
|Wheelbase||70 in (1,800 mm)|
|Length||123 in (3,100 mm)|
|Width||50 in (1,300 mm)|
|Height||41.5 in (1,050 mm)|
|Curb weight||605 lb (274 kg)|
Berkeley's first production car was the 'Sports' (type SA322), announced in September 1956 and produced from October 1956 to January 1957. Production began with two prototypes (registered RMJ395 and RMJ946), which were seen being tested with enthusiasm around the neighbourhood of Biggleswade in the late summer of 1956. Stirling Moss drove one at Goodwood in September, and the car was launched to the public at the 1956 London Motor Show - one year ahead of the Lotus Elite which was also to be of fibreglass monocoque construction.
Bond's attractive 2-seater open tourer design capitalised on Berkeley's GRP experience, and consisted of three large mouldings (floor or 'punt', nose, tail) with no conventional chassis. The front edges to the doors slanted forward so that when the doors were opened they hinged upwards and then closed by themselves. Although usually configured as a two seater with simple bench seat, a hatch could be removed from behind the front seat revealing a compartment normally containing the spare wheel and some luggage space which could double as a basic seat for a small child.Equipment was basic, even the fuel gauge was an optional extra.
Power was provided by a British Anzani twin-cylinder 322 cc two-stroke engine producing 15 bhp (11 kW; 15 PS) and mounted transversely driving the front wheels via a chain and three speed gearbox. The engine was already used by various motorcycle manufacturers such as Cotton and Greeves, but in the Berkeley was fitted with a Siba Dynastart to provide both battery charging and electric starting. It was a very advanced two stroke engine which incorporated a rotary inlet valve mechanism in the centre of the crankshaft. The gearbox was a three speed Albion HJR5, utilising a steering column-mounted gearchange.
The car had all round independent suspension by coil springs and in spite of the tiny engine gave remarkably good performance owing to its light weight (kerb weight 605 lb (274 kg) and excellent roadholding. Girling hydraulic brakes with 7 in (180 mm) drums were used.
The identification plate was a plain stamped alloy rectangle fitted on the engine bay side wall just above the Dynastart and marked SA322 B1 etc. (Sports Anzani 322cc Berkeley Chassis number 1).