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.

A lower, slimmer and better packaged version of the Cooper T51, the "lowline" Cooper T53 dominated the 1960 season with works drivers Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren finishing first and second in the World Championship.

The factory had a pair of T53s ready for the BRDC International Trophy in May 1960. Every aspect of the car had been reassessed in search of the greatest possible simplicity, strength, weight and efficiency. The ERSA gearbox was replaced with a new five-speed C5S transaxle designed by Cooper designer Owen Maddock and built by Jack Knight Engineering in London, and the leaf-spring rear suspension that was preferred by Charles Cooper was replaced with the coil-spring strut type suspension that Stirling Moss had used on Rob Walker's T51 in 1959. The 4-cylinder Coventry Climax FPF engine was mounted an inch lower and the driving position was more reclined, earning the car its 'Lowline' nickname. Three successive victories in the Netherlands, Belgium and France gave Brabham a huge championship lead, and despite Moss's best efforts in his Lotus, McLaren scored enough points to finish second in the championship. For 1961, Cooper built a series of production replicas for customers to use in the new 1.5-litre Formula 1. Even Rob Walker bought one for Stirling Moss to use in Intercontinental Formula races. 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, also now sadly deceased, 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 Flavio Puccinelli who has researched his F2-17-60 in great detail, 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

Current owner
Cooper T53

New for Bruce McLaren in 1960, and used by him in all World Championship races that season. After the United States Grand Prix at Riverside in California on 20 November 1960, the two works T53s were shipped to Ardmore for McLaren to race at the New Zealand GP on 7 January 1961, and at Wigram in 21 January. After that race, Brabham's car went to Australia, but McLaren's presumably returned to England.

It is likely that this was the car that the Atkins team ran for Bruce McLaren during 1961, but there is no direct evidence to support this, and the Atkins car was reported at the time to be new. If this wasn't the Atkins car, then it could well be the car used by Arthur Owen in hillclimbs later in 1960.

Cooper T53

New for Jack Brabham in 1960, and used by him in all World Championship races his title-winning season. After the United States Grand Prix at Riverside in California on 20 November 1960, the two works T53s were shipped to Ardmore for the New Zealand GP on 7 January 1961. Brabham used F2-8-60 again at the Lady Wigram Trophy on 21 January, and then it had to be rapidly shipped to Australia for the Warwick Farm race on 29 January, as his own car, F2-17-60, had been delayed on its way from South Africa. Photographs show that this New Zealand car was the one Brabham used at the later Australian races. It was returned to England, and was next seen at the Silverstone International Trophy in May 1961, where Ron Flockhart drove it as a Brabham Racing Organisation entry, but crashed in the rain. This car was not seen again.

Subsequent history unknown.

Cooper T53

First seen as a spare car at the Portugese GP 14 Aug 1960, then used by Jack Brabham as a Formula 2 car at Roskilde and Zeltweg in September. The car was then shipped to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a two-day test on 5-6 October, where it reached a speed of 144.8 mph, astonishing the Indy community. A few days later, Brabham raced it at Watkins Glen, finishing second in the Watkins Glen International Grand Prix. It was then put on display in London, at Les Leston’s premises at High Holborn from 3 December to 28 December and then rotating on a turntable at the Second Annual Racing Car show in Westminster from 31 December to 7 January 1961.

In 1961, it was used as a spare car for the Indy 500 project but "did not leave the garage". It was then sold to Hap Sharp, who demonstrated it at the Road America 'June Sprints' in 1961, smashing the unofficial lap record. Sharp also won a SCCA National at Watkins Glen in September 1961 where it was described as the "ex-Jack Brabham Cooper-Climax". He finished fourth in the Hoosier Grand Prix at IRP in 1962, but then the car was little seen until Sharp drove it again at the June Sprints in 1964, again breaking the lap record, when it was described as a "1960 F-1 Cooper Climax". Sharp also won the Colorado GP in 1965 in this car.

Its history after 1965 is very unclear, but it has been widely reported that it was donated to the IMS Museum by Jim Hall, Sharp's partner at Chaparral, in 1969 or 1970. Note that Sharp also had a 1.5-litre F1 specification T53.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum (USA) 2011

The 1960-61 cars

After the three factory 'lowlines' were built for the 1960 season, two or three more cars appeared from the end of 1960 to the autumn of 1961 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 appears in factory records as F2-17-60. 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 McLaren's 1960 factory car. One or other of these cars may have become Arthur Owen's hillclimb car in August or September 1961. Only a detailed photographs of Owen's car gives us any chance of resolving its identity.

Current owner
Cooper T53
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 for Jack Brabham, and first raced at the South African GP in December 1960. It was then shipped to Australia for the Internationals in February 1961, but delayed in shipping so Brabham used his ex-works T53 F2-8-60 in Australia instead. F2-17-60 was then returned to Europe and was raced by Brabham in Intercontinental and minor F1 races during the 1961 season, until Brabham bought his ex-works T55 to replace it. Both the T55 and F2-17-60 were taken to New Zealand in January, where Brabham drove the older car in three of the 1962 Internationals. The T53 was sold to Lex Davison (Toorak, Victoria, Australia) to replace his crashed F1-2-61, and raced by Davison in 1962 and early 1963.

Davison sold the car in July 1963 to Tony Osborne (Melbourne, Australia), who raced it in 1963 and 1964 before deciding to have it converted into a sports car. 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. The Argo was fitted with a Chevrolet V8 and was raced by Ian Cook in 1967 and by Peter Macrow in 1968. After Osborne bought a McLaren M4A, the Argo 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". When Gibbs revealed the rebuilt Cooper T53 in 1983, it was treated with some suspicion at first. It appeared at the Geelong Speed Trials in 1983, 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.

A careful examination of the Cooper and the Argo in 2011 by David Rapley, widely regarded as Australia’s leading authority on the Cooper marque, revealed that the Cooper contained in David’s view "all period parts and the chassis was obviously heavily repaired from original pieces". As individual components are not numbered, he could not be sure that all the components came from the same car, but with that proviso he concluded that “I believe it contains the vast majority of the original chassis, body, tanks and possibly most other components”. From this evidence, it would appear that the majority of the original chassis frame of the Cooper had not been thrown away, as Blanden had been told, and that Gibbs had - between 1968 and 1983 - reconstructed the original Cooper chassis from the parts used in the Argo.

In 2013, Gibbs' family offered some of his cars for sale, and at this stage it became clear that he had three related cars: the green Cooper T53 that had been in the Lukey Museum; the Argo Sports, also complete; and an orange Cooper T53 of unknown provenance. The Argo Sports was sold, but the two T53s remained with the family until they were sold by Shannons Auctions in July 2018. The green T53, now identified as F2-17-60, was bought by Flavio Puccinelli (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) and extensively rebuilt, appearing on track at Philip Island in 2019..

Flavio Puccinelli (Australia) 2019
Cooper T53
'the Atkins team car'

The CT 'Tommy' Atkins team ran a Cooper T53 for Bruce McLaren in minor F1 and Intercontinental races in 1961. It was driven on its debut by Jack Brabham, who described it as a new car in a post-race interview. McLaren also described it as new in his book 'From the Cockpit', but it is possible that it was built using the frame McLaren's 1960 works car, although there is no direct evidence for this. David McKinney quotes Harry Pearce as saying Atkins never bought a second-hand Cooper in his life. This may be true, but Atkins had acquired an ex-works T51 in 1960, and would borrow the ex-works T55 in 1962, so it is possible he had acquired and updated an ex-works T53 for 1961.

Raced by Brabham to win the IC Lombank Trophy at Snetterton on 25 March, then by McLaren at the seasons other four IC races, as well as the F1 races at Brussels, Solitude, and finally the Oulton Park Gold Cup in September. According to McLaren's book 'From the Cockpit', he then bought the Cooper from Atkins and took it out for the New Zealand Grand Prix in January 1962. McLaren also raced it in the Australian Internationals, during which it was sold to David McKay's Scuderia Veloce, who raced it in the 1962 Australian Gold Star. McKay told David McKinney that he was given the impression the car was brand new. Entered by Scuderia Veloce for Chris Amon in the 1963 Internationals, and for Jim Palmer at two races later in 1963. To Bill Thomasen (New Zealand) in January 1964 in time for the Teretonga International. Raced by Thomasen in minor New Zealand races at the end of that 1963/64 season.

Thomasen bought a Brabham BT4 for 1964/65, and the Cooper went to Johnny Riley, only for him to decide on the ex-Tony Shelly Lotus 18/21 instead. The unwanted Cooper may have gone to Lionel Bulcraig for a while, but by 1968 it was with Feo Stanton, who had formed Rorstan Racing with the support of Tauranga trucking magnate Ian Rorison. It was rebuilt as the Rorstan Sports with 2.7-litre Climax, but remained unraced through the the 1967/68 and 1968/69 seasons. In this form to Danie Lupp (NZ) 1969 or 1970, and used in sprints and hillclimbs around 1971 and 1972. Both Vercoe and David McKinney say the car was used by Bob Moore (Whakatane, NZ) with a Vauxhall Victor engine from 1973 to 1977. Sold by Moore to Ted Giles (Dunedin, NZ) in 1978. Giles raced the Rorstan Sports in local club motorsport and historic events such as the Dunedin Festival of Speed and Queenstown Road Races. Still owned by Giles in October 2018.

Ted Giles (New Zealand) 2018
Cooper T53
'the Arthur Owen car'

Arthur Owen (St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands) raced a 2.2-litre Cooper lowline in hillclimbs and sprints when he returned to competition following his accident at Great Auclum in August 1961, His first event was The Burnham-on-Sea Motor Club's Weston-super-Mare speed trials on 30 September 1961, where he was third, well off the pace of Fred Tuck's Cooper-Maserati, and just pipped for the class win by Jim Berry's ERA. Owen then took BTD and a new record at BARC Firle, near Lewes, Sussex, on 1 October. The following weekend he was at the final round of the RAC Hill Climb championship at Stapleford Airfield near Abridge, Essex, on 8 October where he dominated the event.

It is possible that Owen had acquired this car earlier in 1961, as Mike Kettlewell's review of the 1961 hillclimb season in Austoport (23 Feb 1962 pp273-277) said that Owen "crashed his new Cooper" at Great Auclum. Motor Sport's brief report (Sep 1961 p736) also called it new. That would mean his older car survived, which could explain Owen driving an older-style Cooper at Macau in November 1962.

The identity of this car has long been a mystery. It could be the ex-Jack Brabham F2-8-60 that Ron Flockhart had crashed at Silverstone in May, or it could be the ex-Bruce McLaren F2-5-60 that had last been seen in New Zealand in January 1961 - unless, of course, this latter car had become Tommy Atkins' 1961 car. In Paul Watson's review of the 1962 Hill Climb season (Autosport 22 Feb 1963 pp252-258), Owen's car was described as an "ex-Tommy Atkins ICF Cooper Climax", but only one Atkins lowline is known, and that car went to Australia. It has been suggested that Atkins' team built a new car prior to the September 1961 Oulton Park Gold Cup, selling the older one to Owen, but photographs of the Atkins car during 1961 and 1962 do not support that idea .

Owen fitted a full 2.5-litre Climax engine for 1962, and competed in the full championship. After a slow start to the season, he won at Rest-and-Be-Thankful in June after Tony Marsh crashed the Marsh-BRM on his second class run after setting BTD on his first. Owen took BTD in Marsh's absence at Westbrook Hay a week later. He would also have won at Bouley Bay, had not the RAC reversed their decision to disallow the time of Tico Martini's 650cc kart. Owen was second to Martini at Great Auclum as well, and a series of strong finishes behind the returning Marsh secured the championship for Owen by five points from Ray Fielding's BRM P48.

The Owen Cooper was sold to Scottish husband-and-wife team Gray and Agnes Mickel for 1963, and Gray was third on home ground in the championship round at Bo'ness in June. They retained the car for 1964 and 1965, before replacing it with a newer Cooper T77 for 1966. The lowline was sold to southwestern wheeler-dealer Fred Tuck in 1966. Subsequent history unknown.


Claimants to the F2-5-60 and F2-8-60 identities

Despite much time being poured into this research by numerous researchers over several decades, it has not been possible to establish what happened to the two 1960s works cars F2-5-60 and F2-8-60 after 1961. Bruce McLaren's F2-5-60 may have gone to Arthur Owen as a hillclimb car, but nothing is known of Jack Brabham's F2-8-60 after it was damaged at Silverstone in May 1961. There are three cars that are claimed to be those cars. These include a car owned by Steve Froines that suggests F2-8-60 was sold to the US, and a car built by John Harper from remains found in Jersey, suggesting Owen's car remained on the island. Both cars have significant gaps in their history, and any information about them that expands our knowledge would be warmly welcomed.

Current owner
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.

First seen when owned by Steve Froines (Dublin, CA) in 1990, and raced by him at Monterey in 1994 and 1996. David McKinney had a note that this car was the ex-works car F2-8-60, and came to Froines via an owner in Texas who had it in the 1960s. However, the source of David's story is unknown.

From Froines to Rodney Smith (Portola Valley, CA) by 1999, and raced for him by Mark Gillies at Monterey in 1999, by Jack Brabham at Monterey in 2000, and by Gillies at the Goodwood Revival Meeting 2004. 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) 2018
Cooper T53
'the Jersey car'
Georgio Marchi's Cooper T53 at the Silverstone Classic in 2017. Licenced by David Merrett under Creative Commons licence Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Original image has been cropped.

Georgio Marchi's Cooper T53 at the Silverstone Classic in 2017. Licenced by David Merrett under Creative Commons licence Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Original image has been cropped.

A car built to 1960 specification by John Harper (UK) in the early 1980s based on remains found in Jersey. This is presumably the "1960 F1 Cooper" that was advertised from Jersey by John Fossey in Autosport in May 1982.

Harper's car is claimed to be chassis F2-5-60, Bruce McLaren's 1960 car, which Harper believes to have then been Arthur Owen's 1961-62 hillclimb car. Harper raced this car in historic racing from 1988 to 1991. To car dealer Gerry Porter (Kensington, London) 1991, and raced from 1992 to 1996, when it was crashed testing. Returned to competition in 1998. To Spencer Flack (Chorleywood, Hertfordshire) 1999, then to 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. Still raced by Nuthall in 2019.

Georgio Marchi (Italy) 2019
Cooper T53
'the Roger Sweet car'
Don Schoney's Cooper T53 in 2006. Copyright Jeremy Hall  2006. Used with permission.

Don Schoney's Cooper T53 in 2006. Copyright Jeremy Hall 2006. Used with permission.

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 (USA) 2006

The 1961 production cars

Current owner
Cooper T53

Built for 1961 season. Yeoman Credit Racing (Reg Parnell Racing) 1961 for John Surtees in F1. The identified by the Formula 1 Register as the car raced by Tony Maggs in the 1961-62 South African Springbok series. The last appearance by the car was at Killarney on 2 Jan 1962, less than a week before the New Zealand Grand Prix, where the Parnell team had another two T53s present.

According to South African author and historian Rob Young, the Maggs car was sold after the series to a Mr Kilner in Rhodesia, and fitted with an Alfa Romeo engine for 23-year-old Mike Harris (Salisbury, Rhodesia; now Harare, Zimbabwe) to drive. Harris had driven an Alfa Special for Kilner & Swift Motors in 1961. According to the F1 Register, Harris entered his car at Kyalami three times during 1961, on 30 June, 4 August and 10 October, but did not appear, and Harris's first known appearance in his car was at the Rhodesian GP at Kumalo on 2 December, when the first of the British teams had started to appear for the forthcoming 1962-63 Internationals. Harris raced the car at Kumalo (finishing a fine third), then at the Rand GP (retired) and Natal GP (retired from heat) and South African GP (retired). Gary Hocking's death at the Natal GP convinced Harris to then retire, and he and the Cooper did not appear again.

The car was next seen nearly two years later when, according to Duncan Rabagliati of the Formula One Register, it was the Cooper-Alfa driven by Rhodesian Bruce Huntley at three races in late 1963: the Rand Spring Trophy at Kyalami on 10 October 1963, the Rhodesian Grand Prix on 1 December 1963, and the Rand Grand Prix at Kyalami on 14 December 1963, where he did not start.

In late 1966, the T53 reappeared, entered by Vic Drummond for Gordon Littleford, again with an Alfa Romeo engine. According to the F1 Register, it was raced by Gert Coetzer once in 1967, but Rob Young advises that it was John Coetzer, a Rhodesian driver, who "wiped out" the Cooper at Kyalami in 1967.

Subsequent history unknown, but see the Ivan Glasby car.

Cooper T53
'the Glasby car'
Wulf Goetze's Cooper T53 at the VSCC Spring Start at Silverstone in 2019. Copyright Wulf Goetze  2019. Used with permission.

Wulf Goetze's Cooper T53 at the VSCC Spring Start at Silverstone in 2019. Copyright Wulf Goetze 2019. Used with permission.

The remains of F1-1-61 were reportedly located by Ivan Glasby in South Africa, and exported by him to Sydney, Australia. Ivan was the son of Rhodesian racing driver Eric Glasby, and the family moved to Australia in 1981. The Cooper remains were sold to John Harper (UK) in February 1995, who reported that they only consisted of corners and other parts, what was left of the original frame being scrapped by Glasby and Harper in Sydney. Harper built a new frame in England, and the car was complete by March 1999. To Ted Rollason (UK) 2001, and raced by him in 2001 and 2002. Bought from Rollason by Wulf Goetze (Köln, Germany) in 2014 and raced after an intensive overhaul. Retained by Wulf in 2019.

Wulf Goetze (Germany) 2019
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 car 'F2-17-60'. F1-2-61 was sold damaged to Don Fraser (Australia) 1963, who rebuilt it with a 2.5-litre BRM engine and raced it from 1965 onwards. To Tony Osborne (Australia) 1976. To 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. Still with Thallon in 2019.

Don Thallon (Australia) 2019
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 (USA) 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.

Cooper T53
Cooper T53 "VR" in the paddock at the 1961 Dutch GP. Copyright Ted Walker (Ferret Fotographics)  2001. Used with permission.

Cooper T53 "VR" in the paddock at the 1961 Dutch GP. Copyright Ted Walker (Ferret Fotographics) 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. At Geneva/Cologny revival meeting June 2003. Driven by Perrin at the Solitude Revival in July 2013 and July 2015.

Eric Perrin (Switzerland) 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
'F1-5-61 reconstruction'

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". This name has also been reported as or "Sam Siczman". These components were later sold to Barry Brown (US) and then "incorporated into a restored version of 'F1-5-61'" using other components supplied by Sid Hoole between 1987 and 1989. Entered by Barry Brown at Monterey in 1994. Entered for the Brooks Goodwood sale in 2001. 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.

Believed to be the car raced by Mark Piercy in the HGPCA Pre 1966 race at the Silverstone Classic 2008. Raced by Piercy at Brands Hatch in May 2009, and Spa in September 2011. Next seen when raced by Rainer Ott at Dijon 2013, Dijon 2014, Montjuïc April 2015, Brands Hatch May 2015, Brands Hatch July 2016 and Goodwood March 2017.

Rainer Ott (Germany) 2017
Cooper T53

Built for 1961 season. Jack Lewis (Stroud, Gloucestershire) 1961 for F1 - Ian Raby (Brighton, Sussex) December 1962 - Lucien Balsiger (Meyrin, Canton of Geneva, Switzerland) 1963 for hillclimbs with 3.5-litre Buick engine; retained for 1964. To Romano Sacchi (Geneva, Switzerland), who raced it at St Ursanne-Les Rangiers and Ollon-Villars in August 1965. Then reportedy via 'Zuccatti' to Serge Bourlier, who raced it at Marchairuz in October 1965 and in October 1966. Then probably to Andre Wicky (Lausanne, Switzerland). Reportedly with 'Savary' 1969. Subsequent history unknown but believed to have been crashed and its 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.

Destroyed 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.

Destroyed 1962
Cooper T53
'F1-9-61 reconstruction'
Rudolfo Junco at Monterey 2003. Copyright Karol Andrews  2004. Used with permission.

Rudolfo Junco 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. To Allan Miles (UK), who raced it in HSCC in 1988, and continued to race it until 1999. To Ted Williams (UK) 2000, and raced in 2000 and 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). In 2010, this car was reported to be owned by motorcycle collector Mike Taggart (Ojai, CA).

Mike Taggart (USA) 2018
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.

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 May 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 also won a SCCA National at Green Valley Raceway in April, and later won again at Mansfield, LA in a Red River Region event in June.

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'
Chris Bullimore's Cooper T53 at Silverstone in July 2006. Copyright Allen Brown  2006. Used with permission.

Chris Bullimore's Cooper T53 at Silverstone in July 2006. Copyright Allen Brown 2006. Used with permission.

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 1963. Copyright Ted Walker (Ferret Fotographics)  2005. Used with permission.

Roger Penske in the Mecom-owned Zerex Special at Brands Hatch in August 1963. Copyright Ted Walker (Ferret Fotographics) 2005. Used with permission.

Dave Morgan's Cooper-Oldsmobile, the former Zerex Special, seen here at Nassau in December 1966. Copyright Ted Walker (Ferret Fotographics)  2018. Used with permission.

Dave Morgan's Cooper-Oldsmobile, the former Zerex Special, seen here at Nassau in December 1966. Copyright Ted Walker (Ferret Fotographics) 2018. 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 the Zerex Special late 1962 with 2.75-litre Climax, and Roger Penske won at Riverside, Laguna Seca and Puerto Rica in October and November 1962. At the end of the season, the centre section was cut out, widened, and refitted by Penske's team. In this form it was sold to John Mecom and entered by Mecom Racing Team for Penske to drive in 1963, including the Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch in August, which he won.

Sold to Bruce McLaren for 1964 and raced by him as the Zerex Special at Oulton Park in April, and at the Aintree 200 a week later, which he won. He won again at the International Trophy at Silverstone at the start of May. The car was then extensively rebuilt by the BMMR team with a completely new centre section, and was fitted with a 3.5-litre Traco-Oldsmobile F85 V8. The car was shipped out to Canada for the Players 200 at Mosport Park at the start of June where it was described as a Cooper-Oldsmobile, although the entry list again showed it as a Zerex Special. McLaren won again, against a very strong International field. Returning to England, and with the Traco-Oldsmobile now stretched to 3.9 litres he won again in the Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch in August, but retired from the Goodwood Tourist Trophy after taking pole position.

McLaren's new sports car, the McLaren-Elva Mk 1, was then ready to race, and the former Zerex Special was sold to Dave Morgan in the south-western US in late 1964, and was used by him in SCCA events, as well as the Nassau Speed Week in December 1965 and again in December 1966.

At some point imported into Venezuela by the late Leo Barboza and raced there. Subsequent history unknown, but photographs were published in 2010 showing its chassis frame leaning against a wall somewhere in Venezuela.

Cooper T53'
'Zerex Special
Greg Heacock's Zerex Special reconstruction in June 2018. Copyright Greg Heacock  2018. Used with permission.

Greg Heacock's Zerex Special reconstruction in June 2018. Copyright Greg Heacock 2018. Used with permission.

A reconstruction of the Zerex Special, in the form Roger Penske first raced it, has been built in the Seattle area by Greg Heacock (Maple Valley, WA). This car is claimed to be based on components of the Zerex Special left over following its extensive rebuild by Bruce McLaren's team in 1964, including the whole centre section of the car which McLaren replaced. Heacock has advised the author that "I have the components from the cars entire life pre McLaren", and that "I purchased the McLaren discarded T53 frame and matched that with the ‘centre seat’ T53 components I acquired from the mechanics: Roy Gane, Harry Tidmarsh and Jock Ross". Heacock says that the car "was reconstructed around a T53 frame I purchased from Steve Froines".

Whether this car is indeed a reconstruction built using surviving component of the original Zerex Special, or whether it is actually a replica with no connection to the original car, was the subject of a heated dispute in 2005, when the project to recreate it was first mentioned, and again during 2019 after the finished car appeared. Heacock's claims were reproduced in an article in Motor Sport in August 2019, but the article was widely criticised and the claims were disputed, notably by Philippe de Lespinay, who gave a detailed response to the article on Motor Sport's website on 2 August 2019. At the time of writing, the magazine has made no response to his posting. Autosport then repeated the owner's claims in an article by Paul Lawrence on 12 September 2019, in which he said that the centre section had been bought by Heacock at the Beaulieu Autojumble in 1999.

The main criticism made by de Lespinay is that the ‘centre section’, photographs of which were posted in 2013, is not actually part of the Zerex Special, and that other components used were also not part of that car. Philippe has correspondence from one of McLaren's 1964 crew to support his argument that "The pieces of tubing cut from the chassis were binned and when sawed off, none were attached to any other, so no one would have ever known what they were from".

The finished car was raced by Heacock at SOVREN's Spring Sprints at Pacific Raceway in April 2018. In 2019, it came to England for the Goodwood Revival meeting, which was the trigger for the Motor Sport article.

Greg Heacock (USA) 2019
Cooper T53

Built December 1961. Okura Trading Co - i.e. Honda, and retained ever since. At Goodwood Festival of Speed 2000. On display in the Honda Collection Hall in October 2017.

Honda Collection Hall (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.

Current owner
Cooper T53
'the Angus 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, which he won easily; and the January 1963 New Zealand Internationals. 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 T53 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 (New Zealand) 2011
Cooper T56
'the Parnell F1 Special'

In 1961, Reg Parnell's Yeoman Credit team built a Formula 1 special using a Formula Junior Cooper Mk II 'T56' chassis. This first appeared as a T car at Modena in early September, and was raced by John Surtees at the Flugplatzrennen and the Oulton Park Gold Cup later that month. In December, it was taken to South Africa and was raced by Bruce Johnstone in the Springbok series, but was damaged in practice for the South African Grand Prix. In early 1962, the car was raced by Roy Salvadori at the Grand Prix de Bruxelles and the Goodwood Lombank Trophy, before being relegated to spare car duties. Its last known appearance was as the Reg Parnell Racing entry raced by Mike Parkes in the Mallory Park 2000 Guineas on 11 June 1962.

The fate of this car has not been determined. It may have been the second car bought from Parnell by Lex Davison in early 1963, described at the time simply as a car less engine still in England, or it could have been the "ex-Roy Salvadori" Cooper that went to Bryan Eccles in early 1963.

Cooper T53 (T56?)
'the George 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. Copyright unknown.  Photo supplied by Terry Hefty . Used with permission.

Bob Sutherland's ex-Centro Sud T53 photographed at Alf Francis' workshops in the 1970's. Copyright unknown. Photo supplied by Terry Hefty . Used with permission.

Terry Hefty's Cooper T53 in 2007. Copyright Jeremy Hall  2018. Used with permission.

Terry Hefty's Cooper T53 in 2007. Copyright Jeremy Hall 2018. Used with permission.

Mimo Dei's Scuderia Centro Sud had three Cooper-Maseratis in F1 and Intercontinental during 1961: an old unmodified T51 F2-12-59, its sister car F2-13-59 which was extensively modified with double wishbones and coil springs, and a new lowline T53 F1-13-61 which was reserved for Lorenzo Bandini to use in F1 . The modified 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 historic events 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 (USA) 2018
Cooper 'lowline'
'the Bryan Eccles car'

For 1963, hillclimber Bryan Eccles (Solihull, Warwickshire) acquired what Autosport described as "the ex-Roy Salvadori/Yeoman Credit Cooper" and fitted a 4.7-litre Chevrolet V8. His first outing was at Prescott in early May, the second round of the RAC championship, and despote only driving it for the first time in Saturday practice, he won the championship runoff. He was quick again in the next round at Wiscombe, but spun at Martini. He was third in class in the "extremely hairy" Cooper at Shelsley in June, but only fifth in the runoffs. He missed the next few rounds, but returned for the August Shelsley National, where he was fastest in the class runds, but broke a CWP and could not start the runoffs. He was next seen winning a SUNBAC hillclimb at Ragley Park on 14 September, but no other results for Eccles in this car are known.

Identification of this car is difficult, as so many of Yeoman Credit's lowline Coopers were wrecked or sold in Australia or New Zealand. This may have been the car used by Yeoman Credit Parnell (by then Bowmaker) as a spare in the 1963 New Zealand and Australian Internationals, when it was raced by Kiwi Jim Palmer, but that car was said to have been sold to Lex Davison, and even if it wasn't, the timing seems tight for the car to return from the Australian Internationals in mid-March to the UK, and be fitted with a Chevrolet engine in time for Eccles' debut in early May. Another option is that Eccles' car was the ex-works Cooper T58 which was bought by Yeoman Credit Parnell in mid or late 1962 and used at the Mexican GP with a BRM V8 engine. Lex Davison had also arranged to buy that car from Parnell at the end of the 1963 Internationals, but its sale may have fallen through. John Blanden identified Eccles' car as the Parnell T56 Special, which is perhaps more plausible.

According to Blanden, the Bryan Eccles car was crashed and returned to the factory, where it was found and repaired by Ray Gibbs, who then shipped it to Australia around 1965. See the Bob Punch car.

Cooper 'lowline'
'the Alan Eccles car'

Alan Eccles, proprietor of Hilltop Garage in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, had raced a Cooper in libre racing in 1962, 1963 and 1964, a car described by Motoring News as an "old leaf spring 2-litre Cooper-Climax" and "previously one of Jack Brabham's mounts". In May 1964, he appeared with a Chevrolet-engined Cooper, and photographs show that it was a lowline Cooper. The late David McKinney believed this was the same car that Bryan Eccles (Solihull, Warwickshire) had raced in hillclimbs in 1963, but that may have been an assumption based on the belief the two were related. Eccles won a number of races in the car, but at Silverstone on 11 September 1965, he crashed, went into ditch and cartwheeled. The car was, according to Autosport, written off.

The origins of this car are unknown, but it is possible that this was Bryan Eccles' 1963 car. It is also possible that the car then went to Australia (see the Bob Punch car), but John Blanden reports that Punch bought the car in Melbourne on 25 September 1965, just two weeks after Alan Eccles accident at Silverstone, which makes this link highly improbable.

Cooper 'lowline'
'the Bob Punch car'

The first certain history for this car is when it was 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. Cooper advertised the car in Racing car News in February 1974, but evidently didn't sell it at that time. 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". 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) 2018
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. In August 1970, Cox advertised the car, saying it was "ex-John Surtees" and now had a 330 bhp 302 ci Ford and a 5-speed Colotti 'box. Minogue then bought the car, and raced it at Amaroo Park in August 1971, having moved from Victoria, and he then advertised it in October 1971 as an "ex-J. Surtees 1962 lowline" with 302 ci Ford. The car was later 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 'lowline'
'the Ray Langdon car'

In Ray Langdon (Jersey, UK) bought a Cooper "Intercontinental" from JA Pearce Engineering, who had converted it to use a 4.7-litre Cobra Ford V8, which involved lengthening the frame. Pearce told Langdon that the car had been in the team's transporter with its F1 car when the transporter caught fire, and although the Cooper had been rescued, the F1 car was consumed. This would be a reference to the team's catastrophic transporter fire at the Silverstone International Trophy in April 1967.

Langdon recalls that he took the hill record at Bouley Bay on his first run, despite the car lacking a first gear. He raced it in hillclimbs and beach racing for at least three seasons, and was econd at the Guernsey hillclimb at Val des Terres August Bank Holiday Monday 1968. Langdon then retired from racing, and sold the Cooper to Alan Dix. Dix fitted the missing first gear, and promptly broke Langdon's hill record. Dix later sold it to someone on Guernsey. Subsequent history still being resolved.

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. It came with a Colotti Type 21 gearbox. 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.

Cooper 'T53'
'the Steve Griswold car'
Steve Griswold in his Cooper T53 at BRDC Silverstone on 30 May 1994. Copyright Alan Cox  2020. Used with permission.

Steve Griswold in his Cooper T53 at BRDC Silverstone on 30 May 1994. Copyright Alan Cox 2020. Used with permission.

Steve Griswold in his Cooper T53 at BRDC Silverstone on 30 May 1994. Copyright Alan Cox  2020. Used with permission.

Steve Griswold in his Cooper T53 at BRDC Silverstone on 30 May 1994. Copyright Alan Cox 2020. Used with permission.

First seen with Jim McAllister, a director of Ferrari dealers Grand Prix SSR (East Setauket, NY) 1977. To Steve Griswold (San Francisco, CA), who recalls that it had a Colotti gearbox, and taken to Sid Hoole in England for restoration. Raced by Griswold in the US (dates unknown) and then in 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). Entered by Coombs for Gary Pearson to race at the 2004 Goodwood Revival.

According to David McKinney, this car next appeared at the 2010 Goodwood Revival, where it was raced by Alistair McCaig. Raced by McCaig again in 2011 and 2012. Entered by 2013 Stuart Hughes for Jonathan Hughes to drive at the VSCC Silverstone Spring Start in April 2013. By 2019, this car was owned and raced by Chris Drake.

Chris Drake (UK) 2019
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 (UK) 2018

Other relevant cars

Chassis History Current owner
Cooper T53
F2-8-60 replica
Scotty Taylor waits with his Cooper T53 at the 2017 Silverstone Classic. Licenced by David Merrett under Creative Commons licence Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Original image has been cropped.

Scotty Taylor waits with his Cooper T53 at the 2017 Silverstone Classic. Licenced by David Merrett under Creative Commons licence Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Original image has been cropped.

Built by Peter Bruin of Goodwood Engineering (Auckland, New Zealand) in the early 1980's using a replica frame and (reputedly) some of the bits left over when the former CT Atkins car was rebuilt into the Rorstan Sports in 1967 or 1968. According to a later Bonhams auction description, Bruin acquired "the remaining complete body, the fuel tanks, wishbones, exhaust system, Cooper gearbox remains and wheels". This project then passed to Bill Clark (NZ), who completed it with many new components, and a 2.7-litre Climax engine. The "body paneling, fuel tanks, wheels etc" were said to be original in the completed car.

The car was little used from completion until it was offered at auction by Bonhams at their Goodwood sale in September 2006, where it was bought by Scotty Taylor (Australia). Sold by Taylor to Justin Maeers (Great Oxendon, Northamptonshire) in September 2018. Sold by Taylor to Justin Maeers (Great Oxendon, Northamptonshire) in September 2018.

Justin Maeers (UK) 2018
Cooper 'T53'
'the orange Gibbs car'

When Shannons auctioned the Len Lukey Museum Cooper T53 on behalf of the Gibbs family in July 2018, a second T53 was also included in the sale. Very little information was provided about the car, but Shannons commented on its "uncertain chassis origin" and that "its history is unclear". It was observed to be wearing a chassis plate "F2-5-60", but absolutely no evidence was presented to show any link to that car. One observer who inspected the car commented that its chassis frame appeared to be new. The car was bought for $76,000 by an owner in Melbourne, Australia.

Australia 2018
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 24 November, 2019 .