Lot 52: Cooper MK9 Formula 3 Single Seater
Cooper Cars became the largest and most successful builder of 500cc Formula 3 cars - and helped create the industry of racing car production - almost by accident. The marque was created in 1946, simply because John Cooper and his friend Eric Brandon wanted to go racing in the newly-announced 500cc Formula, designed to get racing back on its feet after WW2. They enlisted the help of John's father, Charles who owned Cooper's Garage in Surbiton. The resulting lightweight design used two Fiat Topolino independent front suspensions and the motorcycle engine was mid-mounted for simple packaging reasons - with chain drive, it made sense to keep the power unit near the rear axle. These little buzz-bombs employed ingenious construction, including salvaged steel tube for the chassis and, later, sections of engine cylinder liners cast into the aluminium wheels to form the brake drums, and with a dry weight of circa 530lb made the most of their lively power-to-weight ratios. The Cooper 500 evolved as a new model each year until 1960, although from the 1955 Mk9 onwards all cars were almost identical. About 320 Cooper 500s of all types were made, spawning multiple imitators and launching many racing careers, including that of one S. Moss. This particular Mk9 example is understood to have been rescued from a Lancashire fairground by the late Mark Joseland of the Midland Automobile Club during the early 1980s. Despite years of ongoing restoration, the Cooper was still incomplete when acquired by its next custodian, Tim Cameron. The latter soon had the single-seater up-and-running and used it for a variety of hillclimb and circuit events before relinquishing possession in 2003. The vendor continued to campaign the Mk9 but unfortunately lost control whilst piloting it at the VSCC's July 2004 Mallory Park meeting. Laid-up for several seasons, the Cooper has recently been rejuvenated by a marque specialist using a new Ken Nicholls chassis, Ian Drowne fuel tank and Will Collis body etc. Breathed-upon by Neil Street, its JAP 84S single-cylinder 500cc engine is allied to a Mick Hemmings-assembled Quaife four-speed gearbox. The seller states that the engine and gearbox have done "one race only" and describes the chassis, bodywork and race seat as "good". A wealth of events is open to the 500 owner, from dedicated club sprints and hillclimbs to the Goodwood Revival - by invitation, of course. Registered with the 500 Club and possessing old style FIA papers, this appealing Mk9 is awaiting the arrival of a new Vehicle Identity Form.
H&H Sales Limited, Stoneleigh Park
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||-|
|Engine capacity (cc)||500|
|Engine - cylinders|
|Number of doors|