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Lot 172: Cooper T52 Formula Junior Single-Seater

Goodwood Revival Sale, Bonhams (15 September 2012)

Powered by JAP and Manx Norton motorcycle engines, Cooper's innovative mid-engined racing cars dominated the 500cc Formula 3 scene in the 1950s, providing many future stars, most notably Stirling Moss, with their first taste of 'real' motor racing. What had been a strictly pragmatic solution to the problem of accommodating the motorcycle transmission's chain final drive resulted in a superbly well balanced car, and this demonstrably superior arrangement was continued on the next generation of Coopers built for the nascent Formula Junior. The first of these was the T52, one of which was driven by future F1 World Champion John Surtees on his four-wheel debut. The T52 followed Cooper's established layout, being built around a tubular steel spaceframe with independent suspension at both ends: by double wishbones and coil-spring dampers at the front, with a single lower wishbone and transverse leaf spring at the rear. BMC's A-Series engine was the standard fitment, driving via a Jack Knight-modified Citroen ERSA four-speed gearbox. Correspondence on file states that this Cooper T52 was delivered new, minus engine and gearbox, to Enrico Agostini in Italy where it was fitted with a Lancia Apia engine prepared by Carlo Facetti and (it is believed) a Colotti-modified Volkswagen gearbox. The Lancia-engined Cooper proved quite competitive, usually finishing in the top ten and is believed to have run in the Monaco Grand Prix supporting Formula Junior race in period. At some time in the 1960s the car returned to the UK and was raced by Rod Tolhurst (it is pictured on page 27 of Bernard Cowdrey's 'Formula Junior Racing Cars... Remembered'). In the 1980s the Cooper went to the USA and was raced there before returning to this country in 2000. Since its return the car has participated in the 2001 Goodwood Revival and John Surtees Tribute but has not been used for the last few years. Described as in generally good condition and offered with old FIA papers, it is currently fitted with a BMC A-Series engine and a VW gearbox containing a Hewland five-speed gear cluster. A large crate of spares to include original gearbox and engine parts is included in the sale.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Revival Sale
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood
Lot Number172
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£24250
Hammer Price (inc premium)£27887
Condition rating3
Registration number
Chassis numberFJ/16/60
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors