Classic Berkeley Tyres
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Berkeley cars were born from a partnership between designer Lawrence Bond and the Berkeley Coachworks firm controlled by Charles Panter, which was one of Europe's leading caravan manufacturers at the time. It was a perfect project for Berkeley, who had honed their expertise in the usage of glass-reinforced plastic and were searching for something to fill the holes in the highly seasonal caravan market. Panter and Bond aimed for "something good enough to win World 750cc races... but cheap, safe, easily repairable and pretty."
The early automobiles were an instant hit on the domestic market, and various variant models were developed throughout the course of the four-year manufacturing run. The automobiles developed a reputation for enjoyable, albeit fragile, sports motoring on a budget in export markets. Recognizing the danger posed by the newly released Mini and Austin-Healey Sprite in the late 1950s, the business began to create a more traditional vehicle with Ford Motor Company's assistance.
The caravan market crashed at the end of 1960, and Berkeley's weak financial flow led the firm to liquidate on December 12, 1960, taking its automobile production operations with it. After producing over 4100 different types of automobiles, the crew was laid off just before Christmas that year. The company's assets were liquidated in 1961 after an attempted sale to Sharp's Commercials Ltd (maker of the Bond Minicar) failed.
Kayser Bondor Ltd later utilised the plant to manufacture women's underwear, however, it was dismantled in 2002 and the property was repurposed into apartments. The only evident link to automobile manufacturing is a road in the housing complex called 'Berkeley Close.' Today, there is an active owner's organisation (the Berkeley Enthusiasts' Club) that offers a variety of components and services to help preserve the few hundred cars believed to exist globally.