Cooper T53 and T53P

Lorenzo Bandini in the Centro Sud Cooper T53 Maserati at Warwick Farm in Feb 1962. Copyright John Ellacott 2009. Used with permission.

Lorenzo Bandini in the Centro Sud Cooper T53 Maserati at Warwick Farm in Feb 1962. Copyright John Ellacott 2008. Used with permission.

Cooper had swept to the World Championship in 1960 with the "lowline" Cooper T53 and, for 1961, built a series of replicas. These cars are given the same type number in Cooper records but many historians refer to them as Cooper T53P to distinguish them from the 1960 factory cars.

This research was originally the result of the collaborative efforts of Allen Brown in England, Eric Perrin in Switzerland and the late John Blanden in Australia. David McKinney has subsequently added much more information. Thanks also to Don Thallon, Terry Hefty and Eric Jeffries who have contributed details on their own cars, to Doug Nye for his comments on the Centro Sud cars, to Willem Oosthoek who identified the Alan Connell car, to Stephen Dalton for his information on F1-15-61 and to Ted Walker, John Ellacott and Karol Andrews for their photographs. Thanks also to all those that have contributed updates on the cars' locations.

Any other contributions to this massive jigsaw puzzle would be greatly appreciated. Please email Allen if you can add anything.

The 1960 works cars

Chassis History Current owner
Cooper T53
Cooper Cars for Bruce McLaren F1 1960. Used by McLaren at the New Zealand Internationals January 1961. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown
Cooper T53
Cooper Cars for Jack Brabham F1 1960. Used by Brabham at the New Zealand Internationals January 1961 but Brabham then brought his own car over from South Africa for the Australian races. Subsequent history unknown.  
Cooper T53
'the Steve Froines car'
Rodney Smith's Cooper T53 in front of his garage in Carmel Valley November 2015. Copyright Rüdiger Friedrichs 2016. Used with permission.

Rodney Smith's Cooper T53 in front of his garage in Carmel Valley November 2015. Copyright Rüdiger Friedrichs 2016. Used with permission.

Owned by Steve Froines (Dublin, CA) for some years. To Rodney Smith (Portola Valley, CA) and raced at the Goodwood Revival Meeting 2004, and at the Monterey Historics in 2006 when it was listed as "F2/8/60". Smith was killed in a road accident while cycling in May 2007, and the car passed to his widow Mary. Sold to Rüdiger Friedrichs (Würselen, Germany) in December 2015 and taken to the UK for preparation.

Rüdiger Friedrichs (Germany) 2016
Cooper T53

First seen as a spare car at the Portugese GP 14 Aug 1960. Believed to be one of the works T53s that went to the US GP in 1960 and the car used for Jack Brabham's "test" at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November 1960. Used as a spare car for the 1961 Indy '500' project but "did not leave the garage" and then sold to Hap Sharp. Demonstrated by Hap Sharp at the Road America 'June Sprints' in 1961 and in 1964, smashing the unofficial lap record on both occasions. In 1964, the car was described as a "1960 F-1 Cooper Climax". Also won a SCCA National at Watkins Glen in Sep 1961 where it was described as the "ex-Jack Brabham Cooper-Climax" and later won the Colorado GP in 1965. Donated to the IMS Museum by Jim Hall, Sharp's partner at Chaparral, in 1969 or 1970.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum (US) 2011

The 1960-61 cars

After the three factory 'lowlines' were built for the 1960 season, several more cars appeared at the end of the year that may or may not have been continuations of one or more factory cars. One of these was the private 'lowline' that Jack Brabham used in late 1960, and is probably the F2-17-60 that appears in factory records. A second was the car built by the CT 'Tommy' Atkins team for Bruce McLaren to drive in early 1961, which may well have used the chassis from one of the 1960 factory cars. To add further confusion, the Atkins team may have built a second lowline later in 1961 to take out to the New Zealand Internationals, and the first car may have become Arthur Owen's hilllcimb car in September 1961. Only a detailed study of photographs has any chance to resolving these cars.

Chassis History Current owner
Cooper T53
"F2-5-60" or "FII/8/60"
(maybe F2-17-60)
Ray Gibbs' Cooper T53 in the Lukey Museum in 2011.  Copyright Eastern Suburbs Scale Modelling Club 2011.  Used with permission.

Ray Gibbs' Cooper T53 in the Lukey Museum in 2011. Copyright Eastern Suburbs Scale Modelling Club 2011. Used with permission.

Ray Gibbs' Argo Sports in the Lukey Museum in 2011.  Copyright Eastern Suburbs Scale Modelling Club 2011.  Used with permission.

Ray Gibbs' Argo Sports in the Lukey Museum in 2011. Copyright Eastern Suburbs Scale Modelling Club 2011. Used with permission.

A new car built late in 1960 but using the identity of one of the 1960 works F1 cars.  Jack Brabham (UK) 1960 for South African GP (December 1960) then for early 1961 Australian races, 1961 Intercontinental and 1962 New Zealand internationals - Lex Davison (Australia) 1962 to replace F1-2-61, and raced by him in 1962 and 1963.

According to historian John Blanden, who researched all the Coopers in Australia for his book 'Historic Racing Cars in Australia', Davison sold the car in July 1963 to Tony Osborne (Melbourne, Australia). He raced it through the 1963/64 season, and then decided to have it converted to a sports car, powered by a Chevrolet V8. Ray Gibbs was commissioned to design and build the 'Argo Sports' at his workshop in Malvern, but the project was badly delayed and the car did not race until 1967, by which time it was uncompetitive. Argo was raced by Ian Cook in 1967 and by Peter Macrow and Alfredo Costanzo in 1968. The car was not very successful and languished in Osborne's garage for many years.

According to Blanden, the Argo used the front end and the rear suspension of the Cooper, and many other bits of the Cooper were sold to Don O'Sullivan in Perth after he crashed his T53. The Climax engines were sold to Bob Jane and to John Roxburgh, and the Cooper C5S gearboxes went to Feo Stanton in New Zealand. Blanden said that the central part of the chassis "was taken to the tip". However, another version of this story emerged in 2013. According to this story, Gibbs contacted Osborne in 1977 and purchased the Argo from him with a view to restoring it as the Cooper. The Argo had been built by widening the Cooper chassis, allowing Gibbs to restore this to its original dimensions. This Cooper first appeared in the 1980s and called "FII/8/60" by Gibbs. It appeared at the Geelong Speed Trials in the 1990s, and also appeared at events at Winton. By 2002, it was on display at the Len Lukey Museum at the Phillip Island Circuit. The remaining parts of the Argo allowed Gibbs to also recreate the sports car, and by 2011, both cars were on display in the museum. In April 2015, Gibbs' T53 was for sale.

Ray Gibbs' family (Australia) 2015
Cooper T53
'the Atkins team car'

A new car built by the CT 'Tommy' Atkins team for Bruce McLaren to drive but using the identity of one of the 1960 works F1 cars. This car was either built late in 1960 for McLaren to race in 1961 Intercontinental races or built at the end of the season for McLaren to race in the 1962 New Zealand and Australian Internationals. To David McKay (Australia) 1962 for Australian Gold Star - Bill Thomason (New Zealand) 1963 for New Zealand Gold Star - Feo Stanton and Ian Rorison (NZ) 1964 or 1965 and rebuilt as Rorstan Sports with 2.7-litre Climax ... Danie Lupp (NZ) 1970. Lupp sold the Rorstan Sports to Ted Giles (Dunedin, NZ) in 1978 . (Graham Vercoe's book 'Historic Racing Cars New Zealand' claims that it was sold to Bob Moore, an episode that the Giles family says is entirely incorrect.) Giles raced the Rorstan in local club motorsport and historic events such as the Dunedin Festival of Speed and Queenstown Road Races.  Still in family ownership in 2012.

Ted Giles (NZ) 2012
Cooper T53
'the Arthur Owen car'
Reportedly "ex-Atkins/McLaren" car - Arthur Owen (UK) September 1961 for hill climbs - Gray and Agnes Mickel (UK) 1963 for hill climbs - Fred Tuck (UK) 1966. Subsequent history unknown.  
Cooper T53
'the Jersey car'

Remains found in Jersey by John Harper (UK) 1980's and rebuilt to 1960 specification - car dealer Gerry Porter (Kensington, London) 1991 - Spencer Flack (Chorleywood, Hertfordshire) 1999 - Barry Cannell (Doncaster, South Yorkshire) 2001 and raced in UK historics 2001 to 2006. To Georgio Marchi (Italy) May 2007 and raced for him by Enrico Spaggiari from 2008-2011 and then by William Nuthall from 2012 to 2014.

Georgio Marchi (Italy) 2015
Cooper T53
'the Roger Sweet car'

First reference with Roger Sweet (UK) early 1980's - Stephen Griswold (Berkeley, CA) 1982 - John Casado (Los Angeles, CA) 1983: raced in UK then taken to US in 1986 to race at Sears Point and the Monterey Historics - James Stollenwerck (Beverly Hills, CA) 1987 - Tom Byrnes (Ross, CA) 1992 - Don Schoeny (Princeton, MA) 1997: raced at various events (Monterey Historics, Sears Point, Watkins Glen, Lime Rock) since then. Entered for the 2006 Monterey Historics but with no chassis number given.

Don Schoeny (US) 2006

The 1961 production cars

Chassis History Current owner
Cooper T53

Built for 1961 season. Yeoman Credit Racing (Reg Parnell Racing) 1961 for John Surtees in F1 and then for Tony Maggs in Springbok series - Mike Harris (SA) 1962 for South African F1 - Alex Blignaut (SA) 1963 ... Gordon Littleford (SA) 1966 ...



Remains located by Ivan Glasby (SA) and exported to Australia - John Harper (UK) 1995 - Ted Rollason (UK) 2001. Bought from Rollason by Wulf Goetze (Köln, Germany) in 2014 and raced after an intensive overhaul. Retained by Wulf in May 2016.

Wulf Goetze (Germany) 2016
Cooper T53

Built for 1961 season.  Yeoman Credit Racing (Reg Parnell Racing) 1961 for Roy Salvadori in F1. To Lex Davison (Australia) 1962 and crashed at Longford.  Replaced by Jack Brabham's spare frame "F2-5-60".  F1-2-61 sold damaged to Don Fraser (Australia) 1963, rebuilt with 2.5-litre BRM and raced from 1965 onwards - Tony Osborne (Australia) 1976 - Don Thallon (Brisbane, Australia) May 1999 and used in historic racing. Raced by Thallon at Zandvoort in 2014 alongside Wulf Goetze's 'F1-1-61' and then returned to Australia.

Don Thallon (Australia) 2014
Cooper T53

Built for 1961 season.  Lloyd P Casner's Camoradi International (US/UK) 1961 for Masten Gregory in F1 - Ian Burgess 1961 (last raced late 1962) ... advertised from Hampshire May 1963 ... To Bill Liddell (UK) for hillclimbs mid/late 1963 with a 1.5-litre Climax and then in 1964 with a 4.7-litre Ford V8. To Ian Swift (UK) 1965 for hill climbs with 4.7-litre Ford V8 and crashed at Dyrham Park late 1965.  Rebuilt around new spaceframe chassis as "Swift-Ford" and used to 1969.  To Stephen Cuff (Frome, UK) for 1971 for sprints: ran at Tregrehan and Trenwainton early 1971; advertised October 1972 and March 1973. Advertised by another Frome number Sep 1975. To Peter Bloore (UK) 1970's - John Harper (UK) about 1990/91 (probably the car advertised from Oxfordshire 1993/94) and rebuilt back to T53 specification - Doug Mockett (US) 1998: retained 2001 and raced in UK historics 2001. Raced by Mockett at the Silverstone Classic in July 2016.

Doug Mockett (US) 2016
Cooper T53

Built for 1961 season.  Yeoman Credit Racing (Reg Parnell Racing) 1961 for John Surtees in Intercontinental Racing and then F1. Presumed car used by Roy Salvadori in New Zealand and Australian Internationals 1962 (but logically more likely to be the Surtees car) and crashed heavily at Warwick Farm. Subsequent history unknown but see the Ken Cox car.

See the Ken Cox car
Cooper T53
Cooper T53 "VR" in the paddock at the 1961 Dutch GP.  Copyright Ted Walker 2001.  Used with permission.Built for 1961 season by Yeoman Credit Parnell with streamliner bodywork. Yeoman Credit Racing (Reg Parnell Racing) 1961 for John Surtees in F1 - Bernard Collomb (Nice, France) 1962 - Andre Wicky (Lausanne, CH) 1963: used with 2.8-litre Maserati engine for Swiss hill climbs - Ph. Reitzel (Aigle, CH) 1967 - Wicky again 1967 - J.P. Adatte (Geneva, CH) 1968 - M. Rochat (St Blaise, CH) - Eric Perrin (Geneva, CH) 1979. Retained 2003. At Geneva/Cologny revival meeting June 2003. At Solitude Grand Prix Revival July 2015. Eric Perrin (CH) 2015
Cooper T53

Presumed built for 1961 season by Yeoman Credit Parnell.  Yeoman Credit Racing (Reg Parnell Racing) 1961 for Roy Salvadori in Intercontinental Racing, possibly using carnet from F1-5-61.  Assumed to be the car raced by Surtees in New Zealand and Australian Internationals January/February 1962 (but logically more likely to be the Salvadori car). Assumed to be the spare Parnell car in New Zealand and Australian Internationals January/February 1963. Subsequent history unknown but see the 'the Bryan Eccles car' below.

The name 'P2' is given here to the fourth standard T53 used by Yeoman Credit Parnell in 1961. As well as the three cars that appear in Cooper records (F1-1-61, F1-2-61 and F1-4-61), they produced a streamliner known as "VR", one extra standard car and later a T56-based car. When the T56-based car appeared at Monza, Denis Jenkinson noted that this brought their team strength to six, two F1s, two ICs and now two specials. The Formula 1 Register developed the notation 'P1', 'P2', to denote extra cars built by the Parnell team and their notation is used for "VR" ['P1'] and the extra standard car ['P2'].

Cooper T53

Built for 1961 season.  Bib Stillwell (Australia) 1961 for New Zealand and Australian Internationals and Australian Gold Star racing - Bill Patterson (Australia) 1963 - Don O'Sullivan (Australia) late 1965: crashed at Lakeside 13 Feb 1966. The remains of the car then "formed the basis of" his Cooper-Ford sports car with 289ci Ford V8, which was first raced at Caversham 25 Sep 1966. To Bill Downey (Australia) 1967 - Stan Starcevich (Australia) 1968, rebuilt as SS1-11 sports car and reportedly later wrecked in accident. Remains still in Australia 1999.

Cooper T53

According to a 2007 H&H Auction catalogue, after O'Sullivan's 1966 accident, some parts from the Cooper were "salvaged by Bam Siczillan of Sydney, Australia". These components were later sold to Barry Brown and then "incorporated into a restored version of 'F1-5-61'" using other components supplied by Sid Hoole between 1987 and 1989. The car was given a HVIF in 2001 and won a HGPCA event at Dijon that year in the hands of John Harper. Offered for sale by H&H's auction at Kempton Park Racecourse in July 2007, having not raced since Dijon, but it did not sell. Subsequent history unknown.

H&H Auction (UK) 2007
Cooper T53

Built for 1961 season.  Jack Lewis (UK) 1961 for F1 - Ian Raby December 1962 - Lucien Balsiger 1963 for hillclimbs with Buick engine ... Sacchi 1965 ... Zuccatti 1966 ... S. Bourlier 1966 ... probably to Andre Wicky ... Savary 1969.  Subsequent history unknown but believed to have been crashed and parts sold separately.

Cooper T53

Built for 1961 season.  Rob Walker (UK) 1961 for Stirling Moss in F1 and later in New Zealand and Australian Internationals 1962 - Sandown Park organisers (Australia) 1962 - Frank Gardner (Australia) 1963 for Australian Internationals and crashed at Sandown March 1963. According to John Blanden's research, published in his book "Historic Racing cars in Australia", this car was sold to Stan Jones (Australia) but he insisted it was fully repaired. The car was lodged with Ray Gibbs and according to Blanden repaired on a frame of unknown origin. It is possible that this frame was originally a Yeoman Credit Parnell frame but it is also possible that the suggestion of a replacement frame is a red herring.

This may or may not be the car sold at an auction of Stan Jones' equipment to John Cierpicki. See the Ken Cox car.

John Blanden's book confuses the history of this car with F1-4-61 and assigns the Ken Cox period to both cars. However, he then continues the history of F1-7-61 by saying that it emerged in the Lukey Museum (Australia) some time in the late 1970s - see 'the Lukey Museum car'.

Cooper T53

Built for 1961 season.  Terry Bartram (UK) 1961 for Shane Summers in F1. Destroyed in fatal accident in practice prior to Brands race June 1961.

Cooper T53

Built for 1961 season.  Bernard Collomb (F) 1961 for F1 and wrecked in accident in practice for Brussels GP 1962. Some parts used in hill climb special in Switzerland.

Cooper T53
Rudolfo Junco at Monterey 2003.  Copyright Karol Andrews 2004.  Used with permission.

Rudolfo Junco in his Cooper T53 at Monterey 2003. Copyright Karol Andrews 2004. Used with permission.

Some parts acquired from Switzerland or southern France by John Harper (UK) late 1970's and reconstructed - Allan Miles (UK): retained 1999 ... Ted Williams (UK) 2001. A car with this number raced at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races in California in 2003 and 2006, both times owned and raced by Rodolfo Junco (Redondo Beach, CA).
Rodolfo Junco (US) 2006
Cooper T53
Built in May 1961.  Scuderia Centro Sud (Italy) 1961 with Maserati engine for Lorenzo Bandini in F1; later in New Zealand and Australian Internationals 1962 and F1 1963 - Jo Siffert (Switzerland) late 1969 and imported into Switzerland 1970 without engine. From Siffert Collection to Fredy Streun (Berne, Switzerland) about 1975 and restored. To Koni Lutziger (Zürich, Switzerland) 2009. At Ollon-Villars September 2010. Koni Lutziger (Switzerland) 2011
Cooper T53
Built for 1961 US GP.  John M. Wyatt III (US) 1961 for Roger Penske at US GP and entered by Cooper for Tim Mayer in 1962 US GP. Possibly the car used by Penske in Libre ('Intercontinental') racing in the US in 1962. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown
Cooper T53

Built for 1961 US GP.  Hap Sharp (US) 1961 for US GP. Sold to Alan Connell (US) 1962 for Libre ('Intercontinental') racing in the US in 1962 and later for the 1962 Mexican GP. May have been loaned back to Sharp for the 1962 US GP. John Thompson's The Formula One Record Book lists this as F1-16-61 at the Mexican GP but this car is thought to have been used to create the Zerex Special by then. Note that the T53 demonstrated by Hap Sharp at the Road America 'June Sprints' in 1961 and in 1964, smashing the unofficial lap record on both occasions, is likely to have been his 2.5-litre 1960 Cooper T53 F2-12-60, now in the Indy Museum.

In 1964, the "ex-Alan Connell 2.5 Cooper Formula One car" was raced by Harry Washburn (Shreveport, LA) in a SCCA Regional at Opelousas, LA, winning the Formula Libre class and breaking the track record. He won again at Mansfield, LA in a Red River Region event a week or two later.

In 1967, Clint Cavin (N Little Rock, AR) raced a Cooper in Formula A. The car had been fitted with a 4-cylinder Chevrolet II engine before Cavin bought it and he understood the car to be ex-Washburn car. However, Clint is also sure that it was referred to as the former Indy backup car; if this is true, the histories here can't be entirely correct. After an abortive attempt to fit a V8 engine, Cavin sold the car for 1968 to Spurgeon May (Jackson, Mississippi) who raced it in 1968. Subsequent history unknown.

Cooper T53
'the Melcher Racing car'

According to the 1991 HVIF, this car went from Sharp to Washburn and then to Melcher Racing in 1967. The papers do not mention either Cavin or May.

The next name on the papers after Melcher Racing is that of Dick Weyer (Cincinatti, OH) then it went to Chris Briston in 1974, Ivan {illegible} in Australia in 1987 and then Martin Eyears in 1989. Chris Briston, an Englishman based in the US for many years, was in contact with Stephen Dalton in 2012 and told him that he'd exported five Coopers to Australia in the early 1980s. One of these was F1-15-61 and went to Ivan Glasby; the others went to John Caffyn and Robert Kirkby. Briston recalled that he "bought it from a guy in Cincinnati who had a 4 cylinder Chevrolet Midget racing car engine in it". The 4-cyl Chevy is a very solid link the car owned by Clint Cavin and Spurgeon May.

The T53 was reportedly at a Coys auction in 1993 and the new owner was Christopher Bullimore (UK) 2001. Bullimore sold the car to Joe Fairley (Belfast, N. Ireland) in early 2007 and it has been raced by his nephew Jon Fairley (Huddersfield, UK). Retained 2012.

Joe Fairley (UK) 2012
Cooper T53
Roger Penske in the Mecom-owned Zerex Special at Brands Hatch in August 1973.  Copyright Ted Walker 2005.  Used with permission.

Roger Penske in the Mecom-owned Zerex Special at Brands Hatch in August 1973. Copyright Ted Walker 2005. Used with permission.

Built for 1961 US GP, where photographs suggest that this car was a 'T55' "Slimline" Cooper, rather than the 'T53' "Lowline" designs used for the other customer cars. To Briggs Cunningham (US) 1961 for Walt Hansgen and crashed at US GP. Sold to Roger Penske (US) 1961 and maybe used in libre racing by Penske (see F1-14-61 above) and by Timmy Mayer 1962.  Rebuilt as Zerex Special late 1962 with 2.75-litre Climax (won at Riverside, Laguna Seca and Puerto Rica in Oct and Nov 1962) - John Mecom 1963 (nine races in 1963 and early 1964 including wins at Marlboro, Cumberland and Brands Hatch) - Bruce McLaren 1964 and rebuilt as Cooper-Oldsmobile with 3.5-litre Traco-Oldsmobile V8 (four wins from five races including wins at Aintree, Silverstone, Mosport and Brands Hatch).  Sold to US owner late 1964 and not seen again until appeared at Nassau Speed Week December 1966. At some point imported into Venezuela by the late Leo Barboza and raced there. Subsequent history unknown.

Cooper T53
In 2005, a replica of the car, probably in its late 1962 form, was being built in the Northwest USA.  
Cooper T53
Built December 1961.  Okura Trading Co - i.e. Honda. Retained. At Goodwood Festival of Speed 2000. On display in the Honda Collection Hall in October 2017. Honda (Japan) 2017

The mystery Lowline Coopers

Many of the problems with identification of the Lowline 'T53' Coopers are due to the actions of Reg Parnell's Yeoman Credit team. During the first week of January 1962, Parnell's team had two cars at the South Africa Grand Prix: one T53 for Maggs plus the T56 Special for Bruce Johnstone; while another two team Lowlines were already in New Zealand for the Grand Prix at Ardmore just four days later. But also in that Ardmore paddock were two ex-Yeoman Credit Lowlines, one for Lex Davison and a second for Angus Hyslop, the history of whose car was obfuscated due to the need for it to come into the country wearing the same chassis plate as Hyslop's earlier Cooper T45. So that adds up to five Yeoman Credit Cooper Lowlines in addition to the T56 Special, while the distinctively rebodied "VR" had presumably stayed in Europe, meaning something does not add up. Could Parnell really have built three extra Cooper Lowlines?

A considerable number of T53s ran in minor racing later in the 1960s and it has not been possible to work out which was which in all cases. Some, on closer inspection, turn out to be T51s or earlier cars. The following are those to have been identified as T53s from photographic evidence or are widely believed to be T53s. The late David McKinney mantained a list of ten probable T53s from the 1960s so more will be added to the list as the photographic evidence becomes available.

Chassis History Current owner
Cooper T53
'the Hyslop car'

In September 1961, the NZIGP Executive Committee approved a loan to local Cooper driver Angus Hyslop to allow him to buy a 2.5-litre Cooper from Yeoman Credit Parnell. However, this story was not known until Kiwi historian Milan Fistonic was given access to NZIGP minutes in 2017, and the story given in 1961 was that Hyslop's Cooper T45 had been "rebuilt" in the UK, emerging as a Lowline Cooper but still wearing the chassis plate from Hyslop's T45. The only clue at the time that it was a Yeoman Credit Parnell car was George Palmer's comment to a young reporter that it had been previously crashed by Salvadori.

The car was raced by Hyslop in the January 1962 International series, the Australian Internationals in Feb-Mar 1962, the 1962/63 New Zealand Gold Star season, the January 1963 New Zealand Internationals,, and the 1962/63 Gold Star series, which he won easily. The Cooper was then sold to Jim Palmer, who had been runner up to Hyslop in the Gold Star, and had raced a Bowmaker Cooper in the 1963 Internationals. Used by Palmer to win the 1963/64 Gold Star, and also raced in the 1964 Internationals. Then to "Red" Dawson for the 1964/65 season, then to Pat McLoughlin for the 1966/67 season. Sold to Charlie Conway (Auckland, NZ) 1986: restored and retained 2011. Displayed at Hampton Downs (NZ) Jan 2011 in the Bruce McLaren Trust marquee.

Charlie Conway (NZ) 2011
Cooper T53 (T56?)
'the Alderman car'

Used in SCCA Nationals by George Alderman (US) with an Alfa engine of some description. First mention discovered so far is 3 Sep 1962 SCCA National at Thompson Raceway; also at the 22 Sep Watkins Glen SCCA National. Won the Libre class in the inaugural SCCA American Road Race of Champions (the 'Runoffs') in 1964. Alderman had a Cooper-Alfa in the new category Formula B car in 1965, dominating the Vineland National early in 1965. No other history known.

Possibly previously the ex-Penske Libre car (if this was different to F1-16-61) which would have been taken out of service around August 1962 as its engine was destined for the Zerex Special. However, that car (F1-14-61) is probably the car used by Tim Mayer at the 7 Oct 1962 US GP.

Cooper T53
'the other Centro-Sud car'

Bob Sutherland's ex-Centro Sud T53 photographed at Alf Francis' workshops in the 1970's.  Original copyright unknown.  Photo supplied by Terry Hefty.Mimo Dei's Scuderia Centro Sud had two Cooper-Maseratis in F1 in 1961, their older T51 F1-13-60 and a new T53 F1-13-61. The old T51 was wrecked in Johnny Mansell's fatal accident at Dunedin, New Zealand in February 1962 but the remains of the car were exported back to Italy.

On 21 April 1963, Centro-Sud reappear in F1 at the Gran Premio d'Imola with a pair of Cooper-Maseratis and photographs show that both cars appear to be T53s. The Formula 1 Register, in John Thompson's excellent The Formula One Record Book (Leslie Frewin Press 1976) speculated that the Carlo Abate entry was a rebodied T51. However, it is also possible that Centro Sud had acquired a second T53 frame or had made a copy of F1-13-61. Abate ran the car again at Syracuse four days later, finishing a strong third, and Carlo Peroglio drove at at Vallelunga in May, after which Centro Sud acquired a more recent BRM P578 and a Cooper T60 and the older Cooper-Maseratis were retired. One of these cars went to Jo Siffert (see F1-13-61 above) and the other appears to have been sold by Centro Sud in October 1972 to collector Bob Sutherland (Denver, CO). The car was restored by Alf Francis in the mid-1970s and remained in Sutherland's collection until 1995 when it was sold to Terry Hefty (Lafayette, CO) who has raced it in historics using a 2.5-litre Climax. This car carries a "F1/12/59" chassis plate with the first "1" appearing to be overstamped. It thus appears to be the second Centro-Sud T53 using the identity of their T51 F2-12-59. Raced by Hefty at the 2011 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Still owned by him in January 2018.

Terry Hefty (US) 2018
Cooper T53
'the Bryan Eccles car'

Used in 1963 British Hill Climb Championship by Bryan Eccles (UK) with a 4.7 Chevy engine. Photographs show this car to be a T53 or T55: it was described as a T55 in one report, as ex-Yeoman Credit/Roy Salvadori in another. David McKinney believes this is the car then raced by Alan Eccles (UK) in libre racing in 1964 and 1965 before crashing and destroying the car. See the Bob Punch car below.

Possibly originally the car used by Yeoman Credit Parnell (by then Bowmaker) as a spare in the 1963 New Zealand and Australian Internationals. If so, it could be the proposed "P2" described above or the ex-works T58 which was bought by Yeoman Credit Parnell in mid or late 1962 and used at the Mexican GP with a BRM V8 engine. The 1963 New Zealand spare appears in pictures to be a standard 'lowline' T53, not the 'slimline' T58.

See the Bob Punch car below
Cooper 'lowline'
'the Bob Punch car'

First certain history is when imported to Australia by Ray Gibbs about 1966 at which time it was equipped with a Chevrolet V8. According to the late John Blanden's "Historic Racing cars in Australia", this car had been the Yeoman Credit Parnell Cooper T56 F1 Special in 1961 and early 1962, and then had become the Bryan Eccles hillclimb car from 1963 to 1965 when Eccles crashed it. Ray Gibbs is said to have found it when it was returned to the factory, acquired it and repaired it. He then imported it to Australia. Blanden inspected the car not long after it arrived and believed it to be a 1961 or 1962 lowline, noting that it carried chassis plate "F2-30-57".

Bought by Bob Punch around 1966 and advertised by his Port Phillip Motors (Hampton, Victoria) in Racing Car News Oct 1967 as a "Lowline Cooper 1963", "ex-Yeoman Credit car" less engine having "done 1 season only". Entered by Port Phillip Motors for Bob Punch (Australia) with a Holden engine in 1968 and then a Ford Falcon engine in 1969. The car was advertised with a Falcon engine by Punch from Melbourne in Feb 1970 as 'Victoria's top libre car'.

According to Rob Saward, it was then sold to Vic Butler in Tasmania who continued to race it with Falcon engine, making his debut in it at Baskerville in September 1970. It was then sold to Mick Cooper (Franklin, Tasmania) who replaced the Falcon 6 with a 1600cc Datsun engine for 1972 and was a regular entry at Baskerville and Symmons Plain from 1972 to 1976. By the end of 1973, the impressively competitive car had Brabham running gear and radically different bodywork, but retained its 5-speed Colotti gearbox. Robin White reports that he bought the car from Mick Cooper, and raced it in Tasmania in 1977.

Then, according to Blanden again, it was advertised in 1977 and acquired once again by Ray Gibbs. He restored it to the appearance of the 1961 Yeoman Credit Parnell T56 F1 Special and it appeared at Sandown Park in 1987 in this specification. Gibbs continued to use it in historic events until 1999 when it was offered for sale by Shannon's. Due to problems getting a CAMS log book, the car was sold to John Harper in the UK in 2001 where it was able to get what Blanden describes as "full FIA papers" but which was probably an HSCC HVIF. The recent history of the car is unclear but it is believed to be the "F1 T56" being raced by Trevor Needham in 2010. Needham's car sold in August 2012 to John Evans, who ran it at Monaco in 2014 as the Yeoman Credit Parnell T56. Sold to John Clark (Aberdeen, Scotland) in 2015, and raced at Monaco in 2016, at Phillip Island in 2017, and in HGPCA racing in the UK in 2017.

John Clark (United Kingdom) 2017
Cooper 'lowline'
'the Ken Cox car''

First certain history is when acquired by John Cierpicki from an auction of Stan Jones equipment in 1966. Long-time owner Alan Banister believed it to be F1-4-61 based on a physical inspection of the car but the ownership history points to it being F1-7-61.

According to a Ray Bell story on this car published in Motor Racing Australia in 2001, the Cooper was acquired by Cierpicki less engine and was understood to be "the car that Roy Salvadori had raced". It was rebuilt with one of the new 179 ci (2930cc) seven-bearing Holden 'red' engines which had been built up by Kerry Luckins at Paul England’s workshop. The car was driven by Cierpicki's regular driver Ken Cox (Benalla, Victoria, Australia) in libre racing but suffered many blowups over the next few seasons. The last of these blow-ups, which proved effectively fatal to the engine, came around February 1968.

In December 1968, Ken Cox appeared at a meeting at Winton having "done a beautiful job of slotting a 289 [ci Ford] V8 into into the Cooper chassis". He was entered as before by John Cierpicki and won the 4-lap opener before retiring from the feature race. Cox raced the Cooper Ford V8 again in a race at Hume Weir in Nov 1969 and at Winton a month later, typically entered by 'J Cierpicki'. Early in 1970, the car was driven at least once by Bob Minogue (Melbourne, Australia), still with its Ford V8, but it's unclear whether Minogue owned it. Soon after the car was sold to Des Lascelles who drove it in a F5000 race at Warwick Farm in Sep 1972.

The car is said by John Blanden to have gone to George Johnson who sold it to Alan Banister (Sydney, Australia) in Oct 1978. Banister retained the car until his death in 2014. The car was still with his family in January 2018.

Natalie and Andrew Banister (Australia) 2018
Cooper T53?
'the Langdon car'

A car bought by Ray Langdon (Jersey, UK) in 1967 and fitted with a 4.7-litre Ford V8 for hill climbs. Used until 1968 or 1969. Second at Guernsey hill climb at Val des Terres August Bank Holiday Monday 1968 (AS 13 Sep 1968 p43). Subsequent history unclear.

Cooper 'T53'
'the Nottingham car'

Bought by John Harper at a bankruptcy sale in the Nottingham area in the mid-1970's. It appeared to be an early 1960s Cooper and may have been a T53, but the ravages of time made it impossible to be sure. Rebuilt by Harper to T53 specification. Via Tony Mantle (UK) to Mike Gue (UK) late 1970's. Gue emigrated to US and car's subsequent history unclear. This is thought to be the Griswold car (see next entry).

Cooper 'T53'
'the Griswold car'

First seen with Jim McAllister (USA) 1977. To Steve Griswold (San Francisco, CA, US) who may have raced in US: certainly raced Europe 1987/91, and again after a break 1994/95. Later with Steve O'Rourke 1996/97 (and Tim Sugden) and then John Coombs (raced by Frank Sytner, Stirling Moss and Jack Brabham). Retained by Coombs and Sytner 2001.

John Coombs (UK) 2001
Cooper T53
'the Lukey Museum car'

According to John Blanden's book 'Historic Racing Cars in Australia', a Cooper T53 "appeared at the Lukey Museum at Phillip Island race circuit". Blanden lists this car under the heading of the ex-Stirling Moss F1-7-61, but the previous history he gives for the car as being ex-Ken Cox and ex-Bob Minogue duplicates history given five pages earlier in the book under the heading of F1-4-61. Other sources say that the Lukey Museum car was bought from Ray Gibbs, and had come to him from Don Fraser. Gibbs had bought a T53 from Fraser, but that was F1-2-61, which Gibbs later passed to Tony Osborne. So the history of the Lukey Museum remains undetermined.

According to current owner Nick Topliss, after Frank Gardner's crash at Sandown in 1963, the car was bought by Ray Gibbs, who rebuilt it, and sold it to the Lukey Museum in 1969. The car was sold in 1986 to American collector Art Valdez (Torrance, CA), who had it restored in Australia by Keith Sparks. It made its first appearance at Sandown Park in March 1987, now in Rob Walker livery. It was later shipped to the US and remained in Valdez' collection until 2017, when it was sold to a UK consortium. Sold in November 2017 to Nick Topliss (Oxford, UK).

Nick Topliss (United Kingdom) 2018

Other relevant cars

Chassis History Current owner
Cooper T53
F2-8-60 replica
Built by Peter Bruin (NZ) early 1980's using a replica frame and (reputedly) some of the bits left over when F2-8-60 was rebuilt into the Rorstan Sports - Bill Clark (NZ). Believed retained mid-1990's. This car matches the description given by Bonhams for the car they sold at Goodwood in Sep 2006. it was bought by Scotty Taylor (Australia). Scotty Taylor (Australia) 2007
Built by Cooper Cars early in 1963 on a "spare 1960" T53 chassis for John Pringle (Bangor, Northern Ireland): used in hill climbs (with 2.5-litre Climax in 1963 and 2.7-litre in 1964); third at Craigantlet RAC Hill Climb round in 1963 and fourth in 1964; fitted with a Traco-Oldsmobile engine for 1965 and 1966 - JA Pearce early 1967 - Gary Gove (Federal Way, WA) 1967: converted with Chevrolet V8 engine and Hewland LG600 gearbox for Formula A racing (raced in Continental Championship just once, at R5 Seattle 6 Jul 1969) - Tom Masterson (Great Falls, Montana) 27 Dec 1969: used in SCCA racing until 1973 - Joe Grosso (Castle Creek, NY) 1974: raced once or twice then retired - Paul Kneeland (Alton Bay, NH) 1988 - Eric Jeffries (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Bob Fountain (County Durham, England) 1989: restored by Sid Hoole - Jean-Louis Duret (France) 2001: run in historic racing in UK 2001. At Geneva/Cologny revival meeting June 2003. Jean-Louis Duret (France) 2003
Cooper T51
'the Dochnal car'
Frank Dochnal (actually Frank J. Dochnal) drove a Cooper T51 at the 1963 Mexican GP meeting but crashed in practice and did not start. For a long time, this car was a complete unknown and was listed in some sources as a T53. However, an interview conducted with Dochnal by the F1 Rejects website in 2003 clarified that his car was a T51. An advert on Motorsports Market (retrieved 20 May 2008) gives the identity F2-23-59 as Dochnal's car. From Dochnal, it went to Ed Mackay (Camarillo, CA) 1964 - Ivan Zaremba (Berkeley, CA) Dec 1966 - Ron Fink (Crockett, CA) early 1970. Acquired from Fink by Steve Froines (Dublin, CA) early 1970s, restored, raced extensively and retained until 2005. In 2007, this car was raced at Monterey by Murray Smith. Murray Smith (UK) 2007
Cooper T54
Indy 500 car
See the Cooper T54 page.  

Jerry Rulon had an ex-Salvadori 2.7-litre Cooper-Maserati running in Formula A in Iowa and Wisconsin in 1965.

These histories last updated on 26 March, 2018 .