"How much car is car?" This is a question that has plagued gearheads and nosy HOA enforcers alike for decades. As time marches onward and rust never sleeps, many of our hoopties become less "car" with every passing season, choosing instead to adopt the identity of "heap", "pile", or "jumble." Amidst this entropy, one manufacturer was brave enough to start from the bottom and race downward. Berkeley, an intrepid group of shed-dwellers located in Biggleswade, in Bedfordshire, on the Thames (as declared with odd specificity on the VIN tag), set out to make a car that started life as so little "car" that once it becomes less "car" you question what is "car" and what isn't, in fact, "car." This is my Berkeley S492, VIN #84. Originally powered by an Excelsior engine, it is now powered by nothing. One morning at a Cars and Coffee, I stumbled across a Berkeley SE328 and remarked to the owner that I've always wanted to own one. He told me to follow him back to his garage, which I did in my '72 Leyland Mini Pickup. Once there I saw this beautiful specimen of fiberglass, aluminium, and sadness. I offered $350. He responded, "I'd be more comfortable with $250." A deal was struck. It was at this point that I realized I did not have a trailer. But I did have a tape measurer and theoretical degree in physics. 48" wide... yup. That should fit. It came home inside my Range Rover, creating the most British sight since Elton John mispronounced a French word while suppressing his emotions. As a bonus, if you take the doors off the Berkeley, you can even close the glass hatch of the Rover. Science! I'm slowly making it into something slightly more car-ish car by installing a Suzuki G10 from a Metro, cobbled together with Austin America shortened suspension arms, a custom subframe, and unfounded faith in my own welding abilities. It will never be done.
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