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1956 Cooper T39 Sports Racer / CS11-12-56 Vehicle Information

1956 Cooper T39 photograph

1956 Cooper T39 photograph

1956 Cooper T39 photograph

1956 Cooper T391956 Cooper T391956 Cooper T39
Lacking proper purpose-built racing components, Cooper used what could be found. This led to experimentation and innovation, as is evident in the driver's center seating position within the tubular chassis. Another innovation was Maddock's short rear deck clothed in aluminum alloy, in similar fashion to the Kammback aerodynamic theory. From this the T39 received its nickname of Manx tail or Bobtail.

The early T39 cars were powered by a Coventry-Climax FeatherWeightAutomotive 1100cc four-cylinder engine. The first competitive outing was in 1955 at Brands Hatch, where Ivor Bueb drove a T39 to 3rd place. Two examples raced at that year's LeMans ill-fated race, returning in 1957 where Jack Brabham and Ian Raby placed 15th overall and 3rd in class.

Charles Cooper asked Brabham to ship a T39 to Australia to compete in the 1956 Australian Tourist Trophy. Bill Patterson wanted to race a T39 as well, so one example destined for America was intercepted and re-routed to Australia. The Patterson car had been meant for the Briggs Cunningham team and wore the white and blue-striped livery. It was similarly equipped to the Brabham car, with power from a Coventry-Climax FWB 1460cc engine.

The Patterson car (originally intended to Cunningham) was this particular car, chassis number CS11-12-56. At the Australian Tourist Trophy, Brabham finished 11th overall and first in class. Patterson was forced to retire early from the race after rolling his car on the first lap. He returned on the meet's second weekend for a class win and 3rd overall. Patterson entered the T39 in the 1957 Australian Grand Prix but failed to start after gearbox problems occurred during qualifying.

The next outing for the T39 was at the 1957 Victorian Tourist Trophy where Patterson finished third overall and first in class. He placed second in the 1957 NSW South Pacific Championship at Mount Panorama. During the 1958 season, Patterson raced three times, with a class victory and second overall at the Victorian Hill Climb Championship.

Patterson then sold the car to Alan Jack, who raced it during 1959 and 1961. He finished 5th at the 1959 Australian Grand Prix, and 7th at the 1961 Australian GP. At the Australian Tourist Trophy, Jack finished 4th overall and 1st in class.

The car would pass through several more owners before being placed in a rural auto museum in Western Australia. This is where the present owner discovered the heavily campaigned old racecar. By this point in history, the original ERSA gearbox had been replaced by a Volkswagen unit. A restoration soon followed that included the replacement of many of the parts. To make it eligible for vintage racing, the car received a roll cage. The engine is a 1,460cc single overhead cam four-cylinder unit offering 108 horsepower. There is a four-speed manual transmission and drum brakes at all four corners.

After the restoration was completed, it was campaigned regularly at Australian vintage meets from 2009 to 2015, when the Cooper was damaged. The damaged body was replaced with a new body that was made to exact specifications, using another T39 for patterns.


By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2019


2020 Bonhams : Scottsdale Arizona

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $125,000-USD $150,000 
Lot was not sold

2019 Bonhams : Quail Lodge Auction

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $190,000-USD $230,000 
Lot was not sold

2019 Bonhams : Amelia Island

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $190,000-USD $230,000 
Lot was not sold

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1956 sales)
1956 Cooper T39 Bobtail
Chassis#: CS/3/56
Sold for USD$150,625
  2019 Bonhams : The Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale
 
1956 Cooper-CLIMAX TYPE 39 ‘BOBTAIL' SPORTS-RACING TWO-SEATER
Chassis#: CS/52/56
Sold for USD$77,538
  2003 Bonhams - Goodwood Revival
 

Vehicles That Failed To Sell

1956 Cooper T39's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1956 Cooper-Climax 1.5 Liter T-39 Bobtail Sports-RacingCS11-12-562020 Bonhams : Scottsdale Arizona $125,000$150,000
1956 Cooper-Climax 1.5-Liter T39 Bobtail Sports RacerCS/9/562019 Bonhams : Quail Lodge Auction $125,000$150,000
1956 Cooper-Climax 1.5 Liter T-39 Bobtail Sports-Racing, Center-SeaterCS11-12-562019 Bonhams : Quail Lodge Auction $190,000$230,000
1956 Cooper-Climax 1.5 Liter T-39 Bobtail Sports-Racing, Center-SeaterCS11-12-562019 Bonhams : Amelia Island $190,000$230,000
1956 Cooper Climax Type 39 BobtailCS/52/562011 RM Auctions London$136,850$95,000$125,000

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Vehicle Profiles

Chassis information for the Cooper T39
1956 Sports Racer
Chassis Num: CS11-12-56
Engine Num: FWB 400/86877

1956 Cooper T39

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