The Info List - Cooper Car Company

The Cooper Car Company
Cooper Car Company
is a car manufacturer founded in December 1947[1] by Charles Cooper and his son John Cooper. Together with John's boyhood friend, Eric Brandon, they began by building racing cars in Charles's small garage in Surbiton, Surrey, England, in 1946. Through the 1950s and early 1960s they reached motor racing's highest levels as their rear-engined, single-seat cars altered the face of Formula One
Formula One
and the Indianapolis 500, and their Mini Cooper dominated rally racing. Due in part to Cooper's legacy, Great Britain
Great Britain
remains the home of a thriving racing industry, and the Cooper name lives on in the Cooper versions of the Mini
production cars that are still built in England, but are now owned and marketed by BMW.


1 Origins 2 Rear-engined revolution 3 Final years 4 Formula One
Formula One
results 5 Mini
legacy 6 Coopers Garage 7 References 8 External links

Origins[edit] The first cars built by the Coopers were single-seat 500-cc Formula Three racing cars driven by John Cooper and Eric Brandon, and powered by a JAP motorcycle engine. Since materials were in short supply immediately after World War II, the prototypes were constructed by joining two old Fiat
Topolino front-ends together. According to John Cooper, the stroke of genius that would make the Coopers an automotive legend—the location of the engine behind the driver—was merely a practical matter at the time. Because the car was powered by a motorcycle engine, they believed it was more convenient to have the engine in the back, driving a chain. In fact there was nothing new about 'mid' engined racing cars but there is no doubt Coopers led the way in popularizing what was to become the dominant arrangement for racing cars. Called the Cooper 500, this car's success in hillclimbs and on track, including Eric winning the 500 race at one of the first postwar meetings at Gransden Lodge Airfield, quickly created demand from other drivers (including, over the years, Stirling Moss, Peter Collins, Jim Russell, Ivor Bueb, Ken Tyrrell, and Bernie Ecclestone) and led to the establishment of the Cooper Car Company
Cooper Car Company
to build more. The business grew by providing an inexpensive entry to motorsport for seemingly every aspiring young British driver, and the company became the world's first and largest postwar, specialist manufacturer of racing cars for sale to privateers. Cooper built up to 300 single-and twin-cylinder cars during the 1940s and 1950s,[2] and dominated the F3 category, winning 64 of 78 major races between 1951 and 1954. This volume of construction was unique and enabled the company to grow into the senior categories; With a modified Cooper 500 chassis, a T12 model, Cooper had its first taste of top-tier racing when Harry Schell qualified for the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix. Though Schell retired in the first lap, this marked the first appearance of a rear-engined racer at a Grand Prix event since the end of WWII. The front-engined Formula Two
Formula Two
Cooper Bristol model was introduced in 1952. Various iterations of this design were driven by a number of legendary drivers – among them Juan Manuel Fangio
Juan Manuel Fangio
and Mike Hawthorn – and furthered the company's growing reputation by appearing in Grand Prix races, which at the time were run to F2 regulations. Until the company began building rear-engined sports cars in 1955, they really had not become aware of the benefits of having the engine behind the driver. Based on the 500-cc cars and powered by a modified Coventry Climax
Coventry Climax
fire-pump engine, these cars were called "Bobtails". With the center of gravity closer to the middle of the car, they found it was less liable to spins and much more effective at putting the power down to the road, so they decided to build a single-seater version and began entering it in Formula 2 races. Rear-engined revolution[edit]

Cooper T39/Climax cars Goodwood 30 May 1955, Equipe Endeavour Chief Mechanic John Crosthwaite
John Crosthwaite
facing cars

1956 Silverstone GP Formula 2 race winner Roy Salvadori
Roy Salvadori
with foot on tyre of Cooper T41

Jack Brabham
Jack Brabham
raised some eyebrows when he took sixth place at the 1957 Monaco Grand Prix in a rear-engined Formula 1 Cooper. When Stirling Moss won the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix
1958 Argentine Grand Prix
in Rob Walker's privately entered Cooper and Maurice Trintignant duplicated the feat in the next race at Monaco, the racing world was stunned and a rear-engined revolution had begun. The next year, 1959, Brabham
and the Cooper works team became the first to win the Formula One
Formula One
World Championship in a rear-engined car. Both team and driver repeated the feat in 1960, and every World Champion since has been sitting in front of his engine. The little-known designer behind the car was Owen Maddock, who was employed by Cooper Car Company.[3] Maddock was known as 'The Beard' by his workmates, and 'Whiskers' to Charles Cooper. Maddock was a familiar figure in the drivers' paddock of the 1950s in open-neck shirt and woolly jumper and a prime force behind the rise of British racing cars to their dominant position in the 1960s. Describing how the revolutionary rear-engined Cooper chassis came to be, Maddock explained, "I'd done various schemes for the new car which I'd shown to Charlie Cooper. He kept saying 'Nah, Whiskers, that's not it, try again.' Finally, I got so fed up I sketched a frame in which every tube was bent, meant just as a joke. I showed it to Charlie and to my astonishment he grabbed it and said: 'That's it!' " Maddock later pioneered one of the first designs for a honeycomb monocoque stressed skin composite chassis, and helped develop Cooper's C5S racing gearbox. Brabham
took one of the championship-winning Cooper T53
Cooper T53
"Lowlines" to Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
for a test in 1960, then entered the famous 500-mile race in a larger, longer, and offset car based on the 1960 F1 design, the unique Type T54. Arriving at the Speedway 5 May 1961, the "funny" little car from Europe was mocked by the other teams, but it ran as high as third and finished ninth. It took a few years, but the Indianapolis establishment gradually realized the writing was on the wall and the days of their front-engined roadsters were numbered. Beginning with Jim Clark, who drove a rear-engined Lotus in 1965, every winner of the Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis 500
since has had the engine in the back. The revolution begun by the little chain-driven Cooper 500 was complete.

Cooper climax T54 used in the 1961 Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis 500
Mile Race digital collage

Once every Formula car manufacturer began building rear-engined racers, the practicality and intelligent construction of Cooper's single-seaters was overtaken by more sophisticated technology from Lola, Lotus, BRM, and Ferrari. The Cooper team's decline was accelerated when John Cooper was seriously injured in a road accident in 1963 driving a twin-engined Mini, and Charles Cooper died in 1964. Final years[edit] After the death of his father, John Cooper sold the Cooper Formula One team to the Chipstead Motor Group in April 1965. The same year, the Formula One
Formula One
team moved from Surbiton
to a modern factory unit at Canada Road, Oyster Lane in Byfleet, just along the road from Brabham in New Haw and close to Alan Mann Racing. Cooper's 1965 season petered out and at the end of the year, number one driver Bruce McLaren
Bruce McLaren
left to build his own F1 car for the new for 1966 3-litre formula. Cooper's new owners held the Maserati
concession for the UK and arrangements were made for Cooper to build a new 3-litre Cooper- Maserati
car which would be available for sale as well being raced by the works team. The Maserati
engine was an updated and enlarged version of the 2.5-litre V-12 which had made sporadic appearances in the works 250Fs in 1957. It was an old design, heavy and thirsty and the new Cooper T81
Cooper T81
chassis built to take it was necessarily on the large side, in spite of which the bulky V-12 always looked though it was spilling out of the back. Three cars were sold to private owners, one each to Rob Walker for Jo Siffert to drive, Jo Bonnier's Anglo Swiss Racing Team, and French privateer Guy Ligier. None of these cars achieved much success. Jochen Rindt
Jochen Rindt
was entering the second year of his three-year contract, but with the departure of McLaren, Cooper had a seat to fill in the second car and with the team's recent lack of success, understandably, a large queue of potential drivers was not forming at Canada Road. In the circumstances, Cooper were fortunate to acquire the services of Honda's Richie Ginther, who was temporarily unemployed due to the Japanese company's late development of their new 3-litre car. After a couple of races, Ginther was recalled by Honda to commence testing of their new car and the American was no doubt more than somewhat chagrined to discover that it was even bigger and heavier than the Cooper. After making a one-off arrangement with Chris Amon
Chris Amon
(unemployed due to the McLaren
team's engine problems) to drive in the French Grand Prix, Cooper had an enormous stroke of luck when John Surtees became available after falling out with Ferrari. Once conflicting fuel contract issues were resolved ( Surtees
was with Shell, Cooper with BP), Surtees
joined the team. Cooper honoured its commitment to Amon, so three cars were run in the French GP. Subsequently, the team reverted to two entries for Surtees
and Rindt and with the former Ferrari driver's development skills and a switch to Firestone tyres, the car was improved to the point that Surtees
was able to win the final race of the year in Mexico. Surtees
left to join Honda for 1967 and Pedro Rodríguez joined Rindt in the team and immediately won the opening race of 1967 in South Africa in an unlikely Cooper one-two. This was a fortuitous win for Rodríguez, as he was being outpaced by Rhodesian John Love in his three-year-old ex McLaren
Tasman Cooper powered by a 2.7-litre Coventry Climax
Coventry Climax
FPF. Unfortunately, Love had to make a late pit stop for fuel and could only finish second. This was to be Cooper's last ever Grand Prix victory. The rest of the 1967 season had the team's fortunes steadily decline and the midseason appearance of the lighter and slimmer T86 chassis failed to improve things. Rindt, impatiently seeing out his Cooper contract, deliberately blew up his increasingly antiquated Maserati
engine in the US Grand Prix and was dropped for the final race of the year in Mexico. For 1968, Cooper would have liked to have joined the queue for the Cosworth-Ford DFV, but felt that its connections to British Leyland with the Mini-Coopers made this inadvisable. Instead, a deal was done with BRM
for the use of its 3-litre V-12, originally conceived as a sports car unit, but which BRM
themselves would be using in 1968. A slightly modified version of the T86 was built for the new engine, dubbed T86B and Italian ex-Ferrari driver Ludovico Scarfiotti
Ludovico Scarfiotti
and young Englishman Brian Redman
Brian Redman
were employed to drive it. The cars managed three-four finishes in the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix, largely thanks to the unreliability of the competition, but then Scarfiotti was killed driving a Porsche in the Rossfeld hill climb and Redman had a big accident in the Belgian Grand Prix which put him out of action for several months. Cooper continued the season with a motley collection of drivers, none of whom could make anything of the outclassed T86B. During the season, Cooper built a modified chassis, the T86C, intended to take an Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo
3-litre V-8 but the project was stillborn. The beginning of the end for the Cooper Car Company
Cooper Car Company
was in 1969, as it tried, and failed, to find sponsorship for a new Cosworth
DFV-powered car and there were many redundancies. Frank Boyles was the last to leave, since he was in charge of building customer cars and it had been hoped that some more F2 cars would be sold. Frank went on to design and build a Formula Ford car called the Oscar and also a series of Oval Circuit cars known as Fireballs. Driving the rear-engine version of this car, Frank won more than 200 races during a period up until 1975 in a car he had designed and raced himself. This record is believed to have never been beaten. In all, Coopers participated in 129 Formula One
Formula One
World Championship events in nine years, winning 16 races. Besides Formula One
Formula One
cars, Cooper offered a series of Formula Junior cars. These were the T52, T56, T59, and T67 models. Ken Tyrrell
Ken Tyrrell
ran a very successful team with John Love and Tony Maggs as his drivers. Following the demise of Formula Junior, Ken Tyrrell
Ken Tyrrell
tested Jackie Stewart in a Formula Three
Formula Three
car, a Cooper T72. This test at the Goodwood Circuit
Goodwood Circuit
marked the start of partnership which dominated motorsport later on. In October 2009, Mike Cooper, the son of John Cooper, launched Cooper Bikes, the bicycle division of the Cooper Car Company. Formula One
Formula One
results[edit] Main article: Cooper Grand Prix results Mini
legacy[edit] As the company's fortunes in Formula One
Formula One
declined, however, the John Cooper-conceived Mini Cooper – introduced in 1961 as a development of the Alec Issigonis-designed British Motor Corporation
British Motor Corporation
with a more powerful engine, new brakes, and a distinctive livery – continued to dominate in saloon car and rally races throughout the 1960s, winning many championships and the 1964, 1965, and 1967 Monte Carlo rallies. Several different Cooper-marked versions of the Mini
and various Cooper conversion kits have been, and continue to be, marketed by various companies. The current BMW
MINI, in production since 2001, has Cooper and Cooper S models and a number of John Cooper Works
John Cooper Works
tuner packages. Coopers Garage[edit] On 1 April 1968, John Cooper leased the building, 243 Ewell Road,[4] to the Metropolitan Police and the local Traffic Division (V Victor) moved in. They would stay there for the next 25 years and 'TDV' would become one of the busier police garages. In August 1968, they were supplied with the two Mini
Coopers, index numbers PYT767F and PYT768F. The centre boss of the steering wheel was replaced by a speaker and microphone and a PTT transmitter switch, was added to the steering column. The sight of a six-foot bobby getting into the Mini
greatly amused the locals. The vehicles were trialled for a number of months, but no orders were placed for other garages. References[edit]


^ Wright, Terry; Power Without Glory: Racing the Big-twin Cooper, Loose Fillings Sydney 2015. See also www.loosefillings.com ^ Wright, op cit ^ "Racing car designer whose rear-mounted engine propelled Jack Brabham
and Cooper's to victory in Formula 1". telegraph.co.uk. 2000-08-03. Retrieved 2012-05-14.  ^ [1] TNF Tourist Guide to Former Premises


John Cooper Works John Cooper - A Very British Marque, A Very British Man John Cooper: The Man Who Beat Italia Cooper profile at The 500 Owners Association John Cooper (1977). The Grand Prix Carpetbaggers: The Autobiography of John Cooper. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-03081-9 Cooper Cars, by Doug Nye, 1983, Osprey Publishing, 2003, Motorbooks International Wright, Terry; Power Without Glory: Racing the Big-twin Cooper, Loose Fillings Sydney 2015. See also www.loosefillings.com

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cooper Car Company.

Cooper Type Reference, www.race-cars.com

Sporting positions

Preceded by Vanwall Formula One
Formula One
Constructors' Champion 1959-1960 Succeeded by Ferrari

v t e

Cooper Car Company

Founders Charles Cooper John Cooper

Designers Owen Maddock Jack Brabham Eddie Stait Derrick White

World Champions Jack Brabham

Drivers' titles 1959 1960

Constructors' titles 1959 1960


Formula One/Two 1000/1100 Cooper-Bristol T41 T43 T44 T45 T51 T53 T55 T58 T60 T63 T66 T71 T73 T75 T77 T80 T81 T82 T84 T86 T91

Tasman T55 T62 T70 T79

Formula Three/Junior 500 T52 T56 T59 T65/T67 T72 T76 T83 T85

Other T54 (IndyCar) T87 (hillclimb) T88 (Formula C) T90 (Formula 5000)

Sportscars Cooper-MG Cooper-Jaguar Bobtail Monaco Mini

v t e

Formula One
Formula One

2018 season

Ferrari Force India Haas McLaren Mercedes Red Bull Renault Sauber Toro Rosso Williams


AFM AGS Alfa Romeo Alta Amon Andrea Moda Apollon Arrows Arzani-Volpini Aston-Butterworth Aston Martin ATS (Italy) ATS (Germany) BAR Behra-Porsche Bellasi Benetton BMW Boro Brabham Brawn BRM BRP Bugatti Caterham Cisitalia Coloni Connaught Connew Cooper Cosworth Dallara De Tomaso Delahaye Derrington-Francis Eagle Eifelland Emeryson EMW ENB Ensign ERA EuroBrun Ferguson FIRST Fittipaldi Fondmetal Footwork Forti Frazer Nash Fry Gilby Gordini Hesketh Hill Honda HRT HWM Jaguar JBW Jordan Kauhsen Klenk Kojima Kurtis Kraft Lancia Larrousse LDS LEC Leyton House Life Ligier Lola Lola (Haas) Lotus (1958–1994) Lotus (2010–2011) Lotus (2012–2015) Lyncar Maki March Martini Marussia Maserati Matra MBM McGuire Merzario Midland Milano Minardi Modena MRT Onyx OSCA Osella Pacific Parnelli Penske Porsche Prost RAM Realpha Rebaque Reynard Rial Scarab Scirocco Shadow Shannon Simtek Spirit Spyker Stebro Stewart Super Aguri Surtees Talbot-Lago Tec-Mec Tecno Theodore Token Toleman Toyota Trojan Tyrrell Vanwall Veritas Virgin Williams (FWRC) Wolf Zakspeed

Although World Championship races held in 1952 and 1953 were run to Formula Two
Formula Two
regulations, constructors who only participated during this period are included herein to maintain Championship continuity. Constructors whose only participation in the World Championship was in the Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis 500
races between 1950 and 1960 are not listed.

v t e

Formula One
Formula One
World Constructors' Champions


1950  not awarded 1951  not awarded 1952  not awarded 1953  not awarded 1954  not awarded 1955  not awarded 1956  not awarded 1957  not awarded 1958  Vanwall 1959  Cooper

1960  Cooper 1961  Ferrari 1962  BRM 1963  Lotus 1964  Ferrari 1965  Lotus 1966  Brabham 1967  Brabham 1968  Lotus 1969  Matra

1970  Lotus 1971  Tyrrell 1972  Lotus 1973  Lotus 1974  McLaren 1975  Ferrari 1976  Ferrari 1977  Ferrari 1978  Lotus 1979  Ferrari

1980  Williams 1981  Williams 1982  Ferrari 1983  Ferrari 1984  McLaren 1985  McLaren 1986  Williams 1987  Williams 1988  McLaren 1989  McLaren

1990  McLaren 1991  McLaren 1992  Williams 1993  Williams 1994  Williams 1995  Benetton 1996  Williams 1997  Williams 1998  McLaren 1999  Ferrari

2000  Ferrari 2001  Ferrari 2002  Ferrari 2003  Ferrari 2004  Ferrari 2005  Renault 2006  Renault 2007  Ferrari 2008  Ferrari 2009  Brawn

2010  Red Bull 2011  Red Bull 2012  Red Bull 2013  Red Bull 2014  Mercedes 2015  Mercedes 2016  Mercedes 2017