1961 Cooper T-56 FJ news, pictures, and information
Chassis Num: FJ-17-61
It was later used as a racing school car at Zolder, Belgium. It was rescued from a breaker yard in Namen, and used in its first Historic Race in 1980.
FIA HVIF dated 1985, obtained by Rob Haze. It was imported to the US in 1988 by Paul Winters, and then shipped to Skip McGlaughin and Donald Sandy. The driver, Art Hebert, raced it extensively since 1988.
Chassis Num: FJ-1-61
It is powered by a four-cylinder engine that produces 110 horsepower and 75 ft-lbs of torque. Its suspension is comprised of Unequal A-arms.
Chassis Num: FJ-2-62
|Sold for $198,000 at 2012 RM Auctions.|
This example is one of two Works cars campaigned by Team Tyrell for Cooper during the 1961 season. It won the European Formula Junior Championship while being piloted by South African Tony Maggs. Maggs won eight races including Goodwood, Magny-Cours, Monza, Kalskoga, Rouen, Zandvoort, Oulton Park, and Montlhery. He finished on the podium on several other occasions throughout the season. Maggs tied for the championship with Jo Siffert, the individual who would later enjoy a very successful career in Formula 1 and endurance racing.
At the close of the 1961 season, Tyrell gave the car back to Cooper, who sold it to actor Steve McQueen. McQueen also purchased a Mini-Cooper and attended Cooper's race school. Both cars were taken back to California with McQueen and he began racing FJ-2-62 in California, scoring a number of victories, including the Santa Barbara street races.
McQueen's Hollywood bosses became concerned with his racing outings and gave him an ultimatum: racing or movies. McQueen reluctantly complied. His mechanic, Stanley Peterson, sold the Cooper to Al 'Buster' Brizzard. Brizzard was competitive in SCCA competition, using the car in 1963 with a BMC engine. The following year, a Cosworth powerplant was used, an finally an Alfa Romeo 1600cc engine in 1965, winning the Pacific Coast Championship and becoming one of six National Formula B Champions that year.
In 1966, Bizzard sold the Cooper to Robert Badila but reportedly re-purchased the car again in 1977, still racing, but now with wings and wide tires. Skip McLaughlin, McQueen's original mechanic, was rebuilding the car, perhaps to its original configuration, when a house fire put an end to the project.
Donald Sandy is recorded as owner in 2000, and the current owner acquired the car in October of 2003. A profound restoration soon followed, returning FJ-2-62 to its 1961 configuration of dark green with white roundels and stripes. It was restored from the ground up to race-ready condition. An original and correct five-speed ERSA gearbox was found, and the car is fitted with the appropriate 1098 cc BMC engine.
In 2012, the car was offered for sale at RM Auction's Monterey, California sale. It was estimated to sell for $150,000 - $200,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car was sold for the sum of $198,000, inclusive of buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012
The Cooper T56 began its racing career in 1960 where it competed in the Formula Junior class. Along with the T-56 factory contracted cars, a number of kits were sold. In 1962 the T-56 was replaced by the T-59, the third edition of the Formula Junior cars produced by the Cooper Car Company.For more information and related vehicles, click here
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2009
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2009
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