Sat, 26th Feb 2005 0:00

Stoneleigh Park

  Lot 13
Lot 13 - 1958 Cooper Type 45 Single Seater 'The Cooper-Buick'

1958 Cooper Type 45 Single Seater 'The Cooper-Buick'

Sold for £33,188

(including buyers premium)

Lot details
Registration No: N/A
Chassis No: F2-23-58
Mot Expiry: N/A

1959 was the 'coming of age year' for Charles and John Cooper's marque with Jack Brabham at the wheel of a T51 scoring two GP victories and taking them to the 1959 World Driver's title. Stirling Moss in a Rob Walker run Cooper won two more GPs and a Cooper-equipped Bruce McLaren won his first F1 round at Sebring. Other Cooper drivers in the championship top ten were Maurice Trintignant and Masten Gregory, while Cooper took the Constructor's championship. With Climax, Maserati and even Ferrari engines in their tails, there were no less than nine of them on the grid for the final 2.5-litre F1 round at Silverstone. Meanwhile, down under in the Tasman series as well for the short-lived Inter-Continental Formula, the Cooper T51 proved to be the most popular marque and model with the private entrants.
According to the owner for the past forty-four years and Doug Nye in his book 'Cooper Cars' (a copy of which is included in the history file along with two books containing masses of press cuttings and period photographs) this Cooper, number F2-23-58, was the last Formula 2 chassis to have been built by Cooper at their Surbiton workshops in 1958 when it was sold to a Mr. J.R.Lewis. It was supplied new with the Coventry Climax 1.5 litre engine and we understand raced in F2 events. When the vendor bought it in 1959/60, nearly 45 years ago, it still had that 1500cc engine fitted.
He pioneered the use of large American engines in race cars by removing the Climax engine in 1961 and fitting the 3.5-litre Buick V8, which is still in the car today. It took two years to correctly modify the rear wheels and gearbox to harness the awesome power of the V8 and he kept improving it over the years. He successfully campaigned the car, it was enormously quick, and attained many FTD's and records all over the country.
The vendor informs us that the whole car was treated to 'a complete nut and bolt rebuild during the nineties and this took more than two years and the book covering the complete rebuild photographically' is in the history file. The engine was not rebuilt at the same time as it was 'deemed unnecessary and started on the button and ran perfectly', albeit it does need starting on soft plugs. It is still fitted with the four twin-choke down-draft Webers and the four-speed transmission.
The reasons the owner fitted the much more powerful, much lighter and considerably cheaper Buick engine are as valid today as they were 45 years ago - if not more so. It could be speed-evented at the likes of Shelsley Walsh again or with suitable Climax motor in place converted back again into a Climax-engined F2 for participation in the major historic races.
This is a sensational car with a flawless, continuous history. Known throughout time as the 'Cooper-Buick' it is now ready for a new challenge.

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