Beribo Replica Automobiles
In the late 1970's John Berry & Peter Ibbotson formed Beribo Replica Automobiles. In those early days the company was most famous for the much acclaimed MG P-type (right) and Cobra 289 (left) replicas of which more than 400 were sold. In 1990 Berry & Ibbotson designed the Honda powered CX3 and when they retired from the business in 1996 the CX3 project was purchased, along with the company name, logo, etc. by James Mather. Development of the CX3 was almost complete at this stage and approximately 10 kits had already been sold. One of those early kits was exported to Canada.
An experienced engineer and previous owner of many three wheeled cars, James decided to undertake a number of design modifications on the CX3, the most notable being the addition of four inches in length in the cockpit area of the car. The demonstration car was literally cut in half and, following the addition of suitable sections of steel, it was re -welded. After proving that the car had not suffered any harm to the superb handling characteristics the jigs were altered accordingly and all subsequent cars were the longer cockpit version. Further design refinements were made including changes to the body panels, gear linkage, steering mechanism and suspension,
Sales of the CX3 were healthy and James was joined by long time friend and fellow engineer David Wiles who assisted in production, which at that time was being undertaken in James's home workshops in North Wales. The CX3 remained in production and notched up sales of around 100 cars between 1996 and 2002.
Although most CX3's have remained in the UK they have also been exported to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and the USA. In 1997 a special "one off" CX3 was built as a test car for a specialist American engineering company involved in developing a new type of pneumatic engine. This particular car was made wider and the cockpit was altered to accept a large, high pressure, air tank. A specially engineered gearbox was also installed.
The CX3 has enjoyed many favourable press reports and reviews and has become one of the most sought after three wheelers of all time.
During the (very cold! - DW) winter of 1997 David & James designed the Citroen powered CV3 and the car was launched at the Stafford Kit Car Show in March 1998. Shortly after the launch of the CV3 David became a full time partner in BRA and the company moved to larger premises in order to increase production, which peaked at 30 per month. The CV3 proved to be great success and between 1998 and 2001 over 400 CV3 kits were sold. The company also sold in the region of 25 fully built CV3's in the same period. CV3's have been exported to Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, South Africa and Spain.
In 1999 BRA purchased the Citroen powered Leighton project from Kent based engineering company GCS Hawke and following much redesign work the car was launched in 2000. With a combination of Citroen 2CV front end with coil over dampers and Metro rear trailing arm with single coil over damper, the Leighton boasted exceptional handling and proved to be very popular. Early magazine test reports were very favourable and the car was featured in Which kit magazine in August 2000.
BRA continued to develop the range of cars for which the company was famed and development work on the the Metro powered MR3 was started in 2000 although, due to pressure of work and GRP production problems, this particular project was placed on the back burner.
The CX3 was also made available with the capability to accept Moto Guzzi components. Known as the MG3 the first example of this car, pictured right, was registered in 2000. The MG3 was only offered as a specified option in very limited numbers and only five MG3 chassis were produced. A small number of other "special order" chassis were produced to accept other power units including the Harley Davidson V-twin and Honda ST1100 (Pan-European) V4.
In January 2002 the CV3 and Leighton projects were sold to a company in Kent and production of both cars continued in small numbers until both projects were sold again late in 2005.
James & David continued production of the CX3 until September 2002 when the project was sold to a company in East Sussex. Sadly, as far as we know, no CX3's have been produced since.
In September 2002 the last CX3 to leave the BRA factory in North Wales was shipped to a customer in Aukland, New Zealand and James & David continued to pursue other interests. James and David did however retain the names BRA, BRA Motorworks and BRA Engineering along with the BRA logo and licensed the use of the name BRA and the BRA logo for attachment only to the CX3, MG3, CV3 and Leighton models by the two companies who purchased those projects from them.
In 2003, and with a complete deviation from the usual BRA style, two road legal all terrain vehicles were produced by the now scaled down BRA Motor Works. The space frame chassis for these vehicles were manufactured by NCF and they were prototypes for BRA's own version of NCF's well known Blitz2. Known as the 'BRA Q4' the vehicles were successfully registered and are still owned by BRA. The Q4's used the sub-frame and K-series engine etc. from a 1992-onwards Rover Metro. There are no plans to productionise the Q4.
The MR3 project is also still bubbling away in the background so
Watch this space!