In British slang to get one's kit off means to get nekkid. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Blakely is a kit car, and while American, it looks all kinds of Jolly Old. Will its price however, have you ready to drop some cash?
I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that very few you shared my amusement for the kitschy-kitschy-ya-ya coolness of yesterday's 1989 Brilliant Vendetta. I mean seriously, you can't even say that name without a giggle. I dare you. Oh well, not unexpectedly, that custom 's price was also vilified, and it dropped in a decisive 92% Crack Pipe loss.
Yesterday's car was trying to be something it was not, a Ferrari Testarossa, or as we like to say, it was a prancing horse poseur. Today's 1982 Blakely Bernardi on the other hand isn't trying too hard to look like an MG TF, but it's pretty obvious that the British sports car was its inspiration.
Dick Blakely founded Blakely Auto Works in 1972 in Love Park, Illinois, with the company's first offering being the Lotus 7 inspired Bantam. The larger Bearcat followed, and both of these cars leveraged the Ford Pinto as their source for mechanical parts. In each case those were bolted to a proprietary box-section frame and capped with jaunty fiberglass bodies.
The company was bought by Art Herschberger in 1977 and moved to Princeton, Wisconsin. At the same time the Bearcat was restyled and re-named the Bernadri, after Nineteenth Century automotive pioneer, Enrico Bernardi. The company offered both kits and semi-complete rollers for those who sought something different, at least they did until going under in 1987.
According to its ad, this 1982 Bernardi was built by the father of the family that is now selling it, following his passing. That's kind of sad, but the car itself looks to be a fitting legacy for any auto buff. These cars were reasonably well engineered, and as they used a lot of Pinto parts, they have modern mechanical systems like dual circuit brakes with discs up front, and rack and pinion steering.
The drivetrain here is also Pinto-popular, being a 2.3-litre SOHC Lima four and four-speed stick. The ad says that the parent car was actually a Mustang II, but as that car was based on the Pinto, it's all a wash. The engine is claimed to have an Offenhauser intake and a Weber 2BBL, so perhaps it makes more than the probable 88-ponies it had when it left the factory.
Other attributes of note are the high-back buckets that will be a familiar sight to any Ford fanatic, and a fiberglass hardtop that I will bet is a rare accessory for these cars. Both the fiberglass and the paint on the car look to be in fantastic shape, and I'll bet you that you can peg the original source of the car's grille without too much effort.
The interior is pretty professional looking for a kit, and also seems to be in fine shape. With less than 10K on the clock, I guess it should. Along with the car you get the original manual and what looks to be the builder's notes on the car.
This is a very unique opportunity to own a bit of American automotive history, and one that would probably be a lot of fun to drive as well. I should note too that the Bernardi could swallow a number of different engines, and so if a new owner were not content with the Pinto popper, a 302 can also be squeezed in there.
How much for this neo-classic? The ad is asking $10,900, and yes that will buy you three Miatas that will each be a better car in many ways. Okay, you Miata people need to keep it down, m'kay? For the rest of us, what do you think about $10,900 for this Blakely? Should that price have buyers breaking down its door? Or, is this a kit that's priced with too much caboodle?
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