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Old 3 Jan 2009, 09:10   #1
henk4
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Cooper T41

This is the first of several threads dealing with the Cooper F2 and F1 cars that were the forerunners of the racing car design that is now commonly accepted.
The Cooper cars involved the T41, T43, T45, T51 and T53, all neatly following the year of actual production, with T41 starting in 1956, T43 in 1957 etc.

The most detailed information on the Cooper racings cars comes from Doug Nye's comprehensive book, simply titled "Cooper Cars". He had access to the official Cooper records (sitting in a specifically described notebook ) which lists "more or less" all the chassis produced by Cooper since 1957. Doug also notes in his book in several places that a complete list of chassis numbers, specifying which car did what and where was beyond his (and probably everybody's) possibilities. The race results for the respective years, also shown in the book do provide useful information on the participating chassis, but are not fully complete.

In consultation with John T we have decided to "attack" the minefield again, but rather than going from the past to the present, I want to show as many cars as possible that came in front of my camera on several occasions during the past 4 years and some earlier than that. Many of those I could identify by using the frame plate wrapped around one of the frame tubes, other cars did not have a plate, or had a number not
Based on the lists produced in the Annex to the book it might be possible to go back form the present car and see if we can build a complete record of each chassis that is currently being raced or exists.

So let's start with the T41, the "mother" of all the famed cars, which was taken into production in 1956. Here we already have a minor difficulty as Doug's list only starts from 1957.

It is certain that at least four chassis were built, and the numbering system is gratifyingly simple.
All cars were designed as Formula 2 class (introduced in 1957) so the number simply became F2-X-56,57,58,59,60. Only when the 1.5 liter formula 1 was introduced in 1961, which coincided with the demise of F2, the F2 part in the number was replaced by F1-X-61 and so on.

So here we go with T41, also known as the Mk1.

At least four chassis, F2-1-56 until F2-4-56 can be confirmed, but are there any more?

Here is a shot of F2-4-56, taken at Silverstone in 2006, which accroding to the info provided, might have been the Salvadori works car.
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Old 3 Jan 2009, 09:34   #2
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I confirm that Doug is on board with this and attach an email received from him, slightly edited for the purpose of this, and forthcoming, Cooper threads:-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Nye
Regarding the Cooper book chassis-production lists, I make it plain that what I have reproduced there is the chassis record information drawn direct from the few surviving factory ledgers. They will - plainly - be in part a work of convenient fiction to minimise tax liability. They are also - however - the only surviving contemporary record of which serial was formally applied to which customer's order. There is, of course, absolutely NO guarantee that such serial numbers were then actually stamped into chassis plates attached to the relevant frame...

In short, one might as well refer to the cars as 'Tom', 'Dick' and 'Harry'...and have pretty much the same chance of reflecting what was Cooper reality back in the 1940s and '50s.

You are very welcome to quote from those lists, they are based directly upon the only surviving known works record, after all..
Well, of course, we won't call them 'Tom, Dick or Harry' but if you've read the book you will understand Doug's point!

Incidentally, this is Pieter's baby, I've just helped (hopefully) to smooth the way!
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Old 1 Feb 2009, 21:49   #3
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Well someone’s got to stick their neck out and get the ball rolling

My understanding is as follows:
The works prototype was raced from mid-1956, usually by Salvadori but once by Brabham
Three more cars were completed for the Oulton Park Gold Cup race at the end of September. These were a second works car for Brabham, one for Rob Walker, which Brooks drove, and a private car for Ken Wharton. All four cars used 1½-litre Coventry Climax FWB engines.
Next off the production-line were two cars supplied to New Zealanders Ronnie Moore and Ray Thackwell for racing in South Africa (with 1100cc FWA engines) in March/April 1957
And one or two more may have been built for the Cooper Racing Drivers’ Training School

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Old 1 Feb 2009, 21:49   #4
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So far so good. The first difficulty comes when we try to allot chassis numbers to them, because no chassis record was available for the 1956 cars.

My belief is that the works cars were not initially numbered, but the two customer cars were - F2-1-56 for Walker and F2-2-56 for Wharton. Then when the works cars were exported at the end of the year they were given F2-3-56 (Brabham’s car) and F2-4-56 (Salvadori’s). In the chassis record produced by Doug Nye in his Cooper book, the Moore and Thackwell cars are shown as respectively F2-1-57 and F2-2-57. It’s not clear what model the school cars, F2-4-57 and F2-5-57, were, but it seems likely they, too, were T43s, even though they had 1100cc FWA engines.

The ex-works T41s were sold in Australia (ex-Brabham) and New Zealand (ex-Salvadori) in early 1957. A later owner of the NZ car, knowing it was the prototype, believed its number was F2-P-56 - possibly by misreading a badly punched ‘4’. In comparatively recent times the ex-Brabham car, too, has been represented as F2-P-56.

Confusingly, the chassis record reproduced by Nye lists among its early 1957 cars F2-P-56, with FWB engine. This is no doubt the reason the ex-Brabham car has been so described, but if this is its correct number, what was F2-3-56?

The point should also be made that both ex-works cars had been shipped out of England well before 1 January 1957 when, presumably, that year’s record was started. And furthermore no other Cooper prototype, before or since, was given a ‘P’ number

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Old 1 Feb 2009, 21:52   #5
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Walker retained his car into 1958, after which it was sold to John Pringle in Northern Ireland. Bill Smith raced an ex-F2 Cooper in Formula Junior in England in 1959, alleged to be ex-Walker, but probably a later model. Otherwise I remain uncertain of the later whereabouts of F2-1-56 (but see below).

Wharton’s car did one New Zealand race, with a local driver, before returning to the UK following its owner’s death. It was bought by Bill Whitehouse and sold after his death to holidaying Australian Paul England, after which it disappeared. Immediately afterwards however a car called the Miller Special, looking for all the world like a T41 Cooper-Climax, commenced a racing career in Australia. What everyone suspected, that it was actually the ex-England Cooper, was not admitted for many years afterwards, presumably after the expiry of the provisions of the Statute of Limitations as they applied to Australian Customs. Later Australian owners raced it as a Cooper and it is still in that country.

So too is the ex-Brabham car, which seems to have had a later chassis-plate attached to it at some time, and for a while had a 1½-litre Hillman Minx engine, which was subsequently replaced by a non-period Climax FPF of the same size.

F2-4-56 had a long NZ career before being sold back to the UK in 2000, since when it has appeared at varioous historic meetings. The last NZ owner was recently offering a replica which he had had constructed, chassis number unknown

The two 1100s which went to southern Africa were sold there, though one was involved in a fatal accident later in 1957 and is believed to have been written off. The other, F2-1-57, subsequently raced with Alfa Romeo and Borgward engines, and a later owner took it to Australia when he emigrated about 25 years ago. It was still there when I last heard - but that was 1994...

A car numbered F2-5-57 has raced in European historic events for the past 25 years, always in Rob Walker colours (and shown on the T43 page). This might be F2-1-56 wrongly numbered, or a school car (of which no subsequent histories are known) or something else again.
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Old 2 Feb 2009, 08:14   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David McKinney
Well someone’s got to stick their neck out and get the ball rolling
Thanks for this David, this is what I was after
I was about to post the original production lists for each model (as per Doug Nye) to generate more reactions

And just to reiterate, the cars of which I have shown pictures show an identity based on their chassis plate and information supplied with the car at the time I shot the pictures. I have NOT validated whether that information is correct. In fact in one case I have already been told that the car shown as F2-XX-57 is definitely NOT that car.

I haven't gone through your comments in detail yet, but I think you mention that may be up to 4 T41 cars may have been built in 1957. Does that not automatically give them the T43 moniker?

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Old 2 Feb 2009, 15:03   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henk4
I think you mention that may be up to 4 T41 cars may have been built in 1957. Does that not automatically give them the T43 moniker?
No, the model doesn't equate exactly with the year
The T41s had single-cam FWB engines
The T43s, most of which had twin-cam FPFs, appeared quite different, notably more rounded bodywork incorporating side tanks and a lower nose profile
Likewise, the last two cars with '57' suffixes were actually T45s
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Old 2 Feb 2009, 15:05   #8
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To flesh out the T41 story with some more names, and bring things up to date:

F2-2-56 was raced in Australia by Aussie Miller 1958-60, then Doug Kelley to 1964, and Stan Mossetter and Vince Carsberg briefly after that. Passing through several other hands, the car was with Peter Williams in 2000 and he is believed to be the current owner.

F2-3-56, the other Australian car, was raced by Alec Mildren in 1957, then Arthur Griffiths 1957/58, John Roxburgh 1958/60 and Lyn Archer. As late as 1965 Ross Ambrose was campaigning it in Tasmanian hillclimbs, still presumably with the Hillman engine Archer had fitted. It has been owned by Tom Roberts since 1984

F2-4-56 was raced in NZ by Syd Jensen 1957, Ron Frost 1958, Tony Shelly 1959, David Evans briefly in 1960, Duncan Mackenzie 1960/61 (and Chris Amon in one race) and Bruce Abernethy from December 1962 until 1966. After a handful of subsequent appearances it was run in hillclimbs and sprints by Charlie Bensemann in 1968/69, before Bill Clark acquired it two or three years later.
After returning to Europe it was sold in 2000 to German driver Max Blees, then raced once by John Harper in 2004, before changing hands once again.

F2-1-57 was raced in southern Africa by John Guthrie 1957/58, Roy Humphries 1959/60, then Mike Harris (with Borgward engine) 1961. It continued in competition, though no longer at the top level, until being acquired by Ivan Glasby in 1973. He took it to Australia with him when he subsequently emigrated, and in 1984 sold it to John Caffin. It was still owned by Caffin ten years later, but I have no information after that.

F2-2-57, which may or may not really be F2-1-56, was owned by Ken Moore for many years, then Bill Coombs in 1984, and since 1987 by Gerry Hann and Allan Miles.
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Old 2 Feb 2009, 17:09   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David McKinney
No, the model doesn't equate exactly with the year
The T41s had single-cam FWB engines
The T43s, most of which had twin-cam FPFs, appeared quite different, notably more rounded bodywork incorporating side tanks and a lower nose profile
Likewise, the last two cars with '57' suffixes were actually T45s
Hm, the Nye lists in this respect are sort of contradicting. As T41 is mentioned the Mark 1 F2-Climax Car, with 1956 as year of built only.
The Mark II production F2-Climax is given as built in 1957.
Looking at your engine criterion, The FWB engine went into the 1956 T41s as well as into the following 1957 chassis: 1,2, 4,5, 15 and even 17 and 18 produced well into 1957. So these are all T41s? All other 1957 chassis are FPF engines. (There is mention of one FWE engine, (f2-19-57). What is that?

This would mean for instance that because the Reventlow car (as shown in the T43 thread as unidentified) is listed as F2-15-57 with an FWE engine, it would actually be a T41?.

But thanks for the update on the present whereabouts. It seems that there are quite a few left.
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Old 2 Feb 2009, 17:15   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David McKinney
F2-1-57 was raced in southern Africa by John Guthrie 1957/58, Roy Humphries 1959/60, then Mike Harris (with Borgward engine) 1961. It continued in competition, though no longer at the top level, until being acquired by Ivan Glasby in 1973. He took it to Australia with him when he subsequently emigrated, and in 1984 sold it to John Caffin. It was still owned by Caffin ten years later, but I have no information after that.
Interesting to read that according to the Cooper Chassis lists, that car went to New Zealand as well as F2-2-57.
I am not "challenging" your information, but I think it is in the interest of all to get the complete picture and iron out any discrepancies if possible.
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Old 3 Feb 2009, 09:08   #11
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Challenge away Pieter!
We all want to be as complete and as accurate as possible

First, let me try again to explain the difference between the T41 and T43. Forget about engines for a moment, or 56/57 suffixes.

The T41 was built in 1956 as a tryout before the new Formula 2 took effect on 1/1/57.
The T43 was the design which went into production for 1957. These cars are easily distinguished from the earlier ones by having more rounded bodywork which incorporated side tanks (not evident in the T41) and a wider and more drooping nose.
Four T41s were built in 1956 (with 56 chassis-number suffixes) and between two and four more in 1957 (with 57 suffixes).
All the T41s were fitted with single-cam engines (1500cc FWB or 1100cc FWA).
Most of the T43s were supplied with twin-cam 1500cc FPF engines, but some had FWA or FWB engines which were more readily available. The FWE was the 1220cc single-cam version used in the Lotus Elite.

On the matter of F2-1-57 and F2-2-57 - neither went to New Zealand. Both were sold in England to New Zealand drivers who, as I said, took them straight to South Africa
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Old 3 Feb 2009, 09:38   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David McKinney
Challenge away Pieter!
We all want to be as complete and as accurate as possible

First, let me try again to explain the difference between the T41 and T43. Forget about engines for a moment, or 56/57 suffixes.

The T41 was built in 1956 as a tryout before the new Formula 2 took effect on 1/1/57.
The T43 was the design which went into production for 1957. These cars are easily distinguished from the earlier ones by having more rounded bodywork which incorporated side tanks (not evident in the T41) and a wider and more drooping nose.
Four T41s were built in 1956 (with 56 chassis-number suffixes) and between two and four more in 1957 (with 57 suffixes).
All the T41s were fitted with single-cam engines (1500cc FWB or 1100cc FWA).
Most of the T43s were supplied with twin-cam 1500cc FPF engines, but some had FWA or FWB engines which were more readily available. The FWE was the 1220cc single-cam version used in the Lotus Elite.

On the matter of F2-1-57 and F2-2-57 - neither went to New Zealand. Both were sold in England to New Zealand drivers who, as I said, took them straight to South Africa
OK, thanks very much, some stuff to update and finetune Doug's annexes if he's ever going to produce a reprint
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Old 24 Oct 2009, 06:54   #13
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Australian Grand Prix 1957

Can anyone clarify that the car Sir Jack drove to 3rd place in the 1957 Australian Grand Prix was a T41?

Any idea where this car is today?

Sir Jack is back at Caversham in the middle of next month - for those interested: http://www.vsccwa.com.au/cms/uploads...20Nov%2009.pdf
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Old 25 Oct 2009, 09:20   #14
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From OldRacingcars.com:

Cooper Mk I 'T41' ['F2-3-56'] (Jack Brabham): Jack Brabham was allocated the second Mk I which first appeared in his hands at the Oulton Park Gold Cup in Sep 1956. After a second race in October, Brabham took the car to New Zealand and Australia and, after an impressive run of results, sold it to Alex Mildren. It was later owned by Arthur Griffiths, John Roxburgh and Lyn Archer. This car now bears the chassis plate F2-P-56. (Sources: Cooper Cars, Nye; Historic Racing Cars in Australia, Blanden)
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Old 25 Oct 2009, 09:33   #15
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Originally Posted by allenbrown View Post
This car now bears the chassis plate F2-P-56. (Sources: Cooper Cars, Nye; Historic Racing Cars in Australia, Blanden)
Two questions:
1. Why?
2. Is there another F2-3-56?

Edit: Running around in circles....forgot that David already explained the T41...so no answers required...

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