The Cooper Car Company is a car manufacturer founded in December 1947 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 and the Indianapolis 500, and their Mini Cooper dominated rally racing. Due in part to Cooper's legacy, 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.
|Full name||Cooper Car Company|
|Base||Surbiton, Surrey, United Kingdom|
|Noted drivers|| Stirling Moss|
|Formula One World Championship career|
|First entry||1950 Monaco Grand Prix|
|2 (1959, 1960)|
|2 (1959, 1960)|
|Final entry||1969 Monaco Grand Prix|
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 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, 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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. 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 "Lowlines" to 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 since has had the engine in the back. The revolution begun by the little chain-driven Cooper 500 was complete.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 (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 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 fired before the season finale 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 and young Englishman 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 3-litre V-8 but the project was stillborn.
The beginning of the end for the 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 World Championship events in nine years, winning 16 races.
Besides Formula One cars, Cooper offered a series of Formula Junior cars. These were the T52, T56, T59, and T67 models. Ken Tyrrell ran a very successful team with John Love and Tony Maggs as his drivers. Following the demise of Formula Junior, Ken Tyrrell tested Jackie Stewart in a Formula Three car, a Cooper T72. This test at the 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.
As the company's fortunes in Formula One declined, however, the John Cooper-conceived Mini Cooper – introduced in 1961 as a development of the Alec Issigonis-designed British Motor Corporation Mini 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 tuner packages.
On 1 April 1968, John Cooper leased the building, 243 Ewell Road, 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 vehicles were trialled for a number of months, but no orders were placed for other garages.
| Formula One Constructors' Champion
The 1957 Glover Trophy was a motor race, run to Formula One rules, held on 22 April 1957 at Goodwood Circuit, England. The race was run over 42 laps of the circuit, and was won by British driver Stuart Lewis-Evans in a Connaught B Type.
The Team Lotus and Cooper Car Company works entries were Formula Two cars.1958 Argentine Grand Prix
The 1958 Argentine Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 19 January 1958 at Autodromo Municipal Ciudad de Buenos Aires Circuit. It was race 1 of 11 in the 1958 World Championship of Drivers and race 1 of 10 in the 1958 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. The race was the sixth Argentine Grand Prix. It was held on the #2 variation of the circuit. The race was held over 80 laps of the four kilometre circuit for a total race distance of 313 kilometres.
The race was won by British driver Stirling Moss in Rob Walker's privately entered Cooper T43. It was the first World Drivers Championship race win for a rear-engined car and also first win for a privateer team in Formula One and the first by a chassis built by the Cooper Car Company. Moss took his seventh Grand Prix victory by 2.7 seconds over Italian driver Luigi Musso (Ferrari Dino 246). Musso's British teammate Mike Hawthorn (Ferrari Dino 246) was third.1959 British Grand Prix
The 1959 British Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at the Aintree Circuit on 18 July 1959. It was race 5 of 9 in the 1959 World Championship of Drivers and race 4 of 8 in the 1959 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. It was the 14th British Grand Prix and the third to be held at the Aintree Motor Racing Circuit, a circuit mapped out in the grounds of the Aintree Racecourse horse racing venue. The race was held over 75 laps of the four kilometre circuit for a race distance of 362 kilometres.
The race was won by Australian Jack Brabham taking his second Grand Prix victory in a works Cooper T51. Brabham dominated the race, leading all 75 laps to win by 22 seconds over British driver Stirling Moss driving a British Racing Partnership entered BRM P25. It was the first time a BRP entry finished in the top three. Brabham's Cooper Car Company team mate, New Zealader Bruce McLaren finished in third place, just 0.2 seconds behind Moss, having lost second place late in the race. Harry Schell finished fourth for the Owen Racing Organisation BRM team a lap behind Brabham.
The British Grand Prix had the biggest entry of the season outside the Indianapolis 500 with 30 cars competing and 24 starting the race, all despite the absence of Ferrari. Strikes in Italy trapped the team at home, leaving the British teams to fight over the race. Ferrari's new lead driver Tony Brooks was given a release and started the race in a Vanwall but was the first to retire with misfire after 13 laps having started in a lowly 17th after winning the French Grand Prix a few weeks earlier.
The win saw Brabham expand his points lead over Brooks to 13 points. Moss and McLaren moved into fourth place just half a point behind the absent Phil Hill.
On the last lap of this race, McLaren became the youngest driver to set a fastest lap in Formula One, aged 21 years and 322 days. It was another 44 years before Fernando Alonso relieved him of that achievement with fastest lap in the 2003 Canadian GP. He was a day younger aged 21 years and 321 days.1959 Monaco Grand Prix
The 1959 Monaco Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at the Circuit de Monaco on 10 May 1959. It was race 1 of 9 in the 1959 World Championship of Drivers and race 1 of 8 in the 1959 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. It was also the 17th Monaco Grand Prix. The race was held over 100 laps of the three kilometre circuit for a race distance of 315 kilometres.
The race was won by Australian racer Jack Brabham driving a Cooper T51 for the factory Cooper Car Company team. It was the first win for Brabham, a future three-time world champion. It was the first World Championship Grand Prix victory by an Australian driver. It was also the first win for the factory Cooper team. Coopers had won races previously in the hands of Rob Walker Racing Team. Brabham finished 20 seconds ahead of British driver Tony Brooks driving a Ferrari 246. A lap down in third was the Cooper T51 of French driver and 1958 Monaco Grand Prix winner Maurice Trintignant of the Rob Walker Racing Team.1959 Portuguese Grand Prix
The 1959 Portuguese Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Monsanto on 23 August 1959. It was race 7 of 9 in the 1959 World Championship of Drivers and race 6 of 8 in the 1959 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. It was the eighth Portuguese Grand Prix and the second to be held for the Formula One World Drivers' Championship. It was the third time the race was held at Monsanto and the first for Formula One. The race was held over 62 laps of the five kilometre circuit for a total race distance of 337 kilometres.
The race was won by British driver Stirling Moss, his eleventh Grand Prix victory, driving a Cooper T51 for privateer race team Rob Walker Racing Team. Moss finished a lap ahead of American racer Masten Gregory driving a similar Cooper T51 for the factory Cooper Car Company team. American Scuderia Ferrari driver Dan Gurney finished third in his Ferrari Dino 246.1966 Belgian Grand Prix
The 1966 Belgian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Spa-Francorchamps on 12 June 1966. It was race 2 of 9 in both the 1966 World Championship of Drivers and the 1966 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. The race was the 26th Belgian Grand Prix and was held over 28 laps of the 14.1-kilometre circuit for a race distance of 395 kilometres.
The race was won by British driver and 1964 world champion, John Surtees, driving a Ferrari 312 in a race that saw the field decimated by weather in the early laps. It was Surtees' fourth Grand Prix victory and his first since the 1964 Italian Grand Prix. Surtees won by 42 seconds over Austrian driver Jochen Rindt driving a Cooper T81, Rindt achieving his first podium finish and the first for the new Cooper-Maserati combination as the works Cooper Car Company team looked to the three-litre Maserati V12 sports car engine for the new regulations. Surtees' Italian team mate Lorenzo Bandini finished third in his Ferrari 246.
With a pair of podiums, Bandini took the lead in the championship by a point over the two race winners, Surtees and Jackie Stewart.1967 Race of Champions
The 2nd Race of Champions was a non-Championship motor race, run to Formula One rules, held on 12 March 1967 at Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, England. The race was run over two heats of 10 laps of the circuit, then a final of 40 laps, and was won overall by Dan Gurney in an Eagle Mk1.
The grid positions for the first heat were decided by a qualifying session, and the grid for the second heat was determined by the finishing order of the first heat. Similarly, the finishing order for the second heat decided the grid order for the final, although some positions were apparently changed.
Gurney won both heats and the final, taking fastest lap in both heats. The fastest lap of the final was driven by Jack Brabham, although it was slower than Gurney's laps in the heats.Bruce McLaren
Bruce Leslie McLaren (30 August 1937 – 2 June 1970) was a New Zealand race-car designer, driver, engineer and inventor.
His name lives on in the McLaren team which has been one of the most successful in Formula One championship history, winning a total of 8 World Constructors' Championships and 12 World Drivers' Championships. McLaren cars dominated CanAm sports car racing with 56 wins, a considerable number of them with him behind the wheel, between 1967 and 1972 (and five constructors' championships), and have won three Indianapolis 500 races, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 12 Hours of Sebring.Cooper Mark IV
The Cooper Mark IV was a Formula Three and Formula Two racing car designed and built by the Cooper Car Company at Surbiton, Surrey, England, in 1950.
Following the adoption of the 500cc formula for F3 in 1949, Cooper evolved the Mark III to use a 500 cc (31 cu in) JA Prestwich Industries (JAP) single.The ladder frame was retained, with the aluminum body supported by hoops. Lockheed twin-shoe disc brakes became standard, coupled to two master cylinders. The suspension was Fiat 500 transverse leaf spring independent suspension, used at front and rear.Cooper T43
The Cooper T43 was a Formula One and Formula Two racing car designed and built by Cooper Car Company for the 1957 Formula One season, first appearing at the 1957 Monaco Grand Prix in a works car for Jack Brabham. The T43 earned a significant place in motor racing history when Stirling Moss drove a Rob Walker Racing Team T43 to win the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix, the first World Drivers' Championship win for a mid-engined car. Despite this achievement, the car was superseded almost immediately by the T45. The T43's last appearance in a World Championship event was the 1960 Italian Grand Prix.Cooper T51
The Cooper T51 was a Formula One and Formula Two racing car designed by Owen Maddock and built by the Cooper Car Company for the 1959 Formula One season. The T51 earned a significant place in motor racing history when Jack Brabham drove the car to become the first driver to win the World Championship of Drivers with an engine mounted behind them, in 1959. The T51 was raced in several configurations by various entrants until 1963 and in all no less than 38 drivers were entered to drive T51s in Grand Prix races.Cooper T59
The Cooper T59 was the third series Formula Junior racing car produced by the Cooper Car Company, designed for the 1962 season. Similar in layout to the T56, the T59 was five inches narrower and one and half inches lower than its predecessor. A semi-reclining seat position was adopted for the driver. The chassis frame was stiffened up and the front and rear roll centres raised. T59s were supplied with either Ford or BMC 'A series' engines.Cooper T65
The Cooper T65 (also known as the T67) was the fourth series Formula Junior racing car designed by the Cooper Car Company for the 1963 season, the final year of Formula Junior. The T67 was even narrower than its predecessor. T67s were again supplied with either Ford or the BMC 'A series' engines.Cooper T81
The Cooper T81 was one of the last Formula One racing cars produced by the Cooper Car Company. It was designed ahead of the 1966 World Championship season to operate within the new 3 litre engine regulations that came into effect that year. In place of the 1.5-litre Coventry Climax used under the previous formula, the T81 was powered by Maserati Tipo 9 2.5-litre V12 engines which had been bored out to 3.0-litres. These were supplied by the Chipstead Group, Maserati's UK distributors, who had taken control of Cooper the previous April.
In many ways the car was a typical example of its time, with a rear engine, front radiator, inboard front suspension and a monocoque chassis. In fact the car was Cooper's first monocoque chassis, although by this time such an arrangement had already become standard in Formula 1, having been pioneered by the Lotus 25 four years earlier. The T81 made its race debut in the 1966 Syracuse Grand Prix.But while the shortage of competitive 3.0 litre F1 machinery at the start of 1966 made the T81 popular, there were suggestions that Cooper were overstretching themselves and that as a result the preparation of the cars was suffering. However John Surtees, who had replaced Ginther after walking out on Ferrari, took the car's first win in the final race of the 1966 season in Mexico, and in turn Surtees's replacement, Pedro Rodríguez, won the very next race, the 1967 season opener in South Africa. A T81B variant was first raced by Rindt at the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix.
The T81's last race came at the start of the 1968 season in South Africa in the hands of privateers Siffert and Bonnier, as by this time the works team had moved on to the T86 chassis. As it happened, Cooper folded at the end of the 1968 season, making the T81 the last Cooper to win a World Championship Grand Prix.
In all the T81 (and T81B) was entered a total of 85 times in its 21 race lifespan, achieving 2 wins, 1 pole position, 6 podiums, and 23 points finishes, earning 74 points in total.Cooper T86
The Cooper T86 was a Formula One racing car built by Cooper and first raced in 1967. B and C specification cars were also built to accommodate different engines, but the car could not revive Cooper's fortunes and this type represents the last Formula One chassis built and raced by the former champion team.Eric Brandon
Eric Brandon (18 July 1920 in East Ham, Essex – 8 August 1982 in Gosport, Hampshire) was a motor racing driver and businessman. He was closely associated with the Cooper Car Company, and was instrumental in the early development of the company.
When he and his boyhood friend John Cooper were released from military service after World War II they built two cars to the new National 500 cc (30.5 cu in) regulations. Brandon, whose family business was electrical goods, had access to BTH magnetos for the JAP engines, which Cooper's father Charlie then acquired. Brandon entered his Cooper in numerous hillclimbs and sprints and in 1947, at Gransden Lodge airfield, he won Britain's first-ever 500 cc circuit race. He also won the first Formula Three title, in 1951.Later in the 1950s Brandon entered five World Championship Grands Prix in larger, Formula Two Cooper-Bristols, but failed to score any Championship points. For much of his career Brandon raced for the Ecurie Richmond team, which he formed with Alan Brown. In 1955 he funded the construction of his own Halseylec sports car, named after his electrical supplies company. He continued to compete in cars until 1956, but had become increasingly involved in hydroplane racing and by 1957 had devoted himself entirely to this outlet for his competitive spirit.Jack Brabham
Sir John Arthur Brabham, (2 April 1926 – 19 May 2014) was an Australian racing driver who was Formula One World Champion in 1959, 1960, and 1966. He was a founder of the Brabham racing team and race car constructor that bore his name.Brabham was a Royal Australian Air Force flight mechanic and ran a small engineering workshop before he started racing midget cars in 1948. His successes with midgets in Australian and New Zealand road racing events led to his going to Britain to further his racing career. There he became part of the Cooper Car Company's racing team, building as well as racing cars. He contributed to the design of the mid-engined cars that Cooper introduced to Formula One and the Indianapolis 500, and won the Formula One world championship in 1959 and 1960. In 1962 he established his own Brabham marque with fellow Australian Ron Tauranac, which in the 1960s became the largest manufacturer of customer racing cars in the world. In the 1966 Formula One season Brabham became the first – and still, the only – man to win the Formula One world championship driving one of his own cars. He was the last surviving World Champion of the 1950s.
Brabham retired to Australia after the 1970 Formula One season, where he bought a farm and maintained business interests, which included the Engine Developments racing engine manufacturer and several garages.John Cooper (car maker)
John Newton Cooper CBE (17 July 1923 – 24 December 2000) was a co-founder, with his father Charles Cooper, of the Cooper Car Company. Born in Surbiton, Surrey, United Kingdom, he became an auto racing legend with his rear-engined chassis design that would eventually change the face of the sport at its highest levels, from Formula One to the Indianapolis 500.
Charles Cooper ran a small garage in Surbiton that specialised in maintaining racing cars. His son John left school at age 15 to become an apprentice toolmaker and served in the Royal Air Force as an instrument maker in World War II. After the war, he and his father began building simple, inexpensive single-seat racers for privateers, often from surplus military hardware. The cars were extremely successful and quickly in high demand, and in 1948, they founded their own company to build more.
In stereotypical British fashion, Cooper always downplayed the story about how they decided to put the engine in the back of their racing cars, insisting it was a matter of convenience. The original design for the first rear-engined Cooper racing car was drawn up by Owen Maddock, a designer employed by Cooper Car Company.
Because the car was powered by a motorcycle engine, they put the engine in the back, driving a chain. "We certainly had no feeling that we were creating some scientific breakthrough!...We put the engine at the rear...because it was the practical thing to do," Cooper said.Initially, John raced his own cars on a regular basis, but as the company grew, he found less time available to compete. He did, however, find time to set a number of records at Montlhéry at the end of 1953.
In the early 1950s, it seemed as if every aspiring young British racing driver began behind the wheel of a Cooper, and Cooper's Formula One cars were driven by the legendary drivers of the time – Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss, Maurice Trintignant, and Bruce McLaren. In a nine-year period, the team took 16 Grand Prix wins, as Brabham and the team won back-to-back World Championships in 1959 and 1960.
While in Sebring, Florida, for the 1959 United States Grand Prix, Cooper got to know American driver Rodger Ward, the reigning USAC national champion and Indianapolis 500 winner. After Ward had been astounded by the cornering ability of Cooper's little cars on the road course, he offered to arrange a test for them at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, saying, "You've got to try out your car around the Oval. Indy's waiting for you!" Cooper took one of his Formula One cars to the Speedway in the autumn of 1960, as drivers, constructors and racing personalities gathered in "amused tolerance, mixed with obvious curiosity," according to Cooper. When Brabham, an Indy rookie, began his warmup laps, he was unaware of the requirement to gradually build up his speed on the track. He clocked his second lap at 144.8 miles per hour, fast enough for the third row on the previous race's grid! Ward was so enthused, Cooper had to agree to let him drive the car, too. From that point, the Indianapolis establishment realised the writing was on the wall and the days of their front-engined roadsters were numbered. Within a few years, John Cooper's revolution of open-wheeled racing was complete.Cooper's development of the British Motor Corporation Mini – the Mini Cooper – was adored by both rally racers and ordinary road drivers. Before John Cooper's death, the Cooper name was licensed to BMW for the higher-performance versions of the cars, inspired by the original Mini, sold as the MINI. John, along with his son Mike Cooper, served in an advisory role to BMW and Rover's New MINI design team.
Cooper was the last surviving Formula One team principal from the formative years of the sport, and he often lamented later in life that the fun had long since gone out of racing. He helped establish Britain's domination of motorsport technology, which continues today, and he received the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to British motorsport. He remained head of the West Sussex family garage business (which had outlets for Mini Cooper at East Preston and Honda at Ferring) until his death at age 77 in 2000.Mini Cooper
Mini Cooper may refer to:
The Mini (marque), which includes a number of different models produced by BMW since 2000. A number of different models have cars with the "Mini Cooper" title, including the Mini Hatch, the Mini Clubman, the Mini Countryman, the Mini Coupé, the Mini Roadster, and the Mini Paceman.
A Mini model called the "Mini Cooper" was made by the British Motor Corporation from 1961 to 1971, then from 1990 to 2000. John Cooper, owner of the Cooper Car Company and designer and builder of Formula One and rally cars, saw the potential of the original Mini for competition, and worked with Issigonis, the designer of the original Mini. Dealerships are located throughout the world in many locations.
Although World Championship races held in 1952 and 1953 were run to 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 races between 1950 and 1960 are not listed.