1959 Berkeley SE492

Sale Price
Lot Number
Older Restoration
RM Sotheby's
Auction House
Chassis No. 597. Ecurie Ecosse Blue over red. 492-cc, 30-hp L-3, 4-speed manual. Brooklands aero screens.

Evaluation: Older restoration | Restored in 2009. Represented as the 597th of 666 built. Some paint chips off the edges of the wheels and one crack in the body, but otherwise good paint. Good restored interior with new-looking seats. Very clean engine bay. One of the few cars out there that can make a Mini look massive. Located in British Columbia.

Bottom Line: Berkeley was an automaker born of a partnership between a car designer and a caravan (British-speak for camper) company. The cars were powered by various engines, but all were tiny. The basic Berkeley formula was a fiberglass and aluminum monocoque with a small two- or three-cylinder motorcycle engine (of either two- or four-stroke variety) mounted transversely and powering the front wheels—an unusual layout in the 1950s. The 492 model used an Excelsior two-stroke triple that made 30 horsepower, enough for an 80-mph top speed. It’s unusual to see one that has had so much money put into it, and that explains this huge result, which comes out to about $1173 per horsepower.

by Hagerty Editor
20 August 2020
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.