In the 1950s, the British company Berkeley launched a series of sports models that did not enjoy the expected popularity, and as a result, the factory had no choice but to close its door 60 years ago. Four models were created, and one of these was an open small car called the Bandit.
Now industrial designer Martin Rees and motorsport engineer Simon Scleater will revive the brand, and the plan is to launch a modern version of Bandit in April next year.
The Berkeley Bandit features a retro-styled design created by Lithuanian designer Vladas Trakselis. The company has not commented on many details of the project, but we do know that the British sports car will be available in coupé and roadster bodywork, with a design that “embodies the elegance and sportiness of the original.” In this regard, it should be noted that the original Bandit was produced in 1961, and only two units were produced.
Berkeley Bandit will be offered both as an open roadster and as a Coupé. It will be underpinned by sustainable technology, with a fully electric option available. Engineers have designed a composite chassis which will use plant-based materials such as flax to replace carbon fiber and sticky resins from trees to replace chemicals. The roadster will also stand out by offering buyers a variety of powertrains, whether they be gasoline engines, electric powertrains, or a fuel cell alternative. The EV variant will feature an internally developed battery and promises to be accessible, stylish, and iconic.
Regarding the gasoline unit, it is a 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost block that will produce 406 horsepower. A gasoline engine paired with a six-speed gearbox will be able to accelerate a 700-kilogram Berkeley Bandit to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.5 seconds and a 730-kilogram coupe in 3.8 seconds.
“At this time, when norms are challenged by both pandemic and climate change, we need to create vehicle solutions that are in tune with the concerns of the public and address these with quality design and engineering solutions,” said the managing director of Berkeley Coachworks Simon Scleater.