Chassis #: F1-9-61
The 1959 Cooper-Climax Type 51 won both the Formula 1 Constructors' World Championship title for its manufacturer, and the Formula 1 Drivers' World Championship title for the works team driver Jack Brabham. For the following season, the company's chief designer Owen Maddock corresponded with Brabham and John Cooper to devise a replacement. The resulting vehicle was more sophisticated than the Type 51, with the driver seated lower in a flatter-profile multi-tubular chassis frame. With the introduction of the new rear-engiend Lotus 18 at the 1960 Argentine Grand Prix, the development of the new Cooper became an even greater priority. After Jack Brabham and John Cooper returned to London in mid-March, work began immediately on the new car. The first prototype Type 53 was ready to be raced in May of that year, and it was given the nickname, the Lowline Cooper.
Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren piloted the new Type 53 'Lowline' cars during the 1960 Formula 1 season, with much success. Jack won at the Dutch, Belgian, French, British and Portuguese Grand Prix races (the first four in unbroken succession) to secure the second consecutive Drivers' World Championship title for himself and the Constructors' crown for the Cooper Car Company.
Racing regulations were changed for the 1961 season, with the former 2.5-liter engine capacity ceiling being lowered to 1.5-liters. Brabham and McLaren raced in the Type 55 works team cars, while privateers raced the parallel Type 53P 'Lowline' cars.
This Cooper-Climax T53P 'Lowline' Formula 1 & 2 Racing Single-Seater T53 is the eighth of that year's Type 53P (p for 'Production'). It was a customer car supplied new from Hollyfield Road, Surbiton, Surrey factory to French privateer Bernard Collomb. It came powered by a Coventry Climax FPF 4-cylinder engine 'No 430/26/1189'. He took possession of the car in April 1961, and raced it that month in the non-Championships Vienna Grand Prix where he finished 3rd. The next weekend he raced in the non-Championship Aintree '200' event at Liverpool, England where he failed to finish. Brabham won the race and set the fastest lap time in his Cooper T55.
On May 14th he finished 6th in the non-Championship Naples GP. This was followed by a 9th place in the London Trophy race. On June 3rd he was forced to retire early at the Silver City Trophy race at Brands Hatch, England, as well as the World Championship-qualifying French Grand Prix at Reims-Gueux on July 2nd. He was plagued with problems at the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring on August 6 leaving him too far behind to be classified at race finish.
Early in 1962, Collomb entered his Cooper for the non-Championship Brussels Grand Prix, but during practice he either had a loose fuel pipe or a fuel tank puncture, which quickly ignited and a furious fire broke out. Collomb was able to get away from the car, but the fire burned for a while before the marshals were able to quell the flames.
The very badly damaged was reputedly sold to a Swiss dealer/enthusiast who began to rebuild it as a special, supposedly for mountain-climb competition. The car was eventually reconstructed and restored to its original Formula 1 racing form by British specialist John Harper. Since then, it has raced in Historic and Vintage racing events.
The F1 car is currently powered by a 2.5-liter Coventry-Climax FPF four-cylinder engine backed by a five-speed Cooper-Knight C5S gearbox with reverse. Girling disc brakes are located at all four corners.By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2019