1961 Cooper T56 Formula Junior
1100 BMC with Hewland 5 Speed. Possible Jack Knight box too.
According to Cooper chassis records, this Cooper T56, chassis number FJ-17-61, was originally delivered in 1961 to A.Liekens in Belgium. The 1985 FIA papers for the car report that Liekens “… severely raced it (the Cooper) before using it as a racing school car at Zolder. Passing through the hands of vaious owners, Rob Haze bought it in 1983, and rebuilt it to its current state and spec.”
In 1988, Rob Haze sold FJ-17-61 to Paul Winders in Mountain View, California. From that year through the Fal of 1992, Windters ran the car in 19 historic automobile races. In 1995, Winter sold the car to Skip McLaughlin. McLaughlin drove the car in 14 additional races.
In 1997, Cooper F1 owner and restorer, Steve Froines, undertook a frame-up restoration of FJ-17-61. Thereafter the car competed in approximately 3 events before being sold to Donald Sandy and Art Hebert.
Sandy and Hebert had the 1100 c.c. BMC engine rebuilt by Huffaker Engineering. They then combined to achieve race wins with HMSA at Laguna Seca, plus podium finishes at the Wine Country Classic at Sonoma Raceway, and with CSRG.
During this time the Cooper was also displayed as part of a significant collection of vintage racing cars at the San Francisco International Auto Show.
Dan Chapman became the next owner, racing the Cooper with CVAR, HMSA, and other organizations across the U.S. Champman then sold the Cooper onto its current owner.
The Cooper now achieved it’s greatest successes. In addition to racing at tracks across the U.S., inclulding the Brickyard Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Rolex Monterey Reunion where the car finished in the top 5, the Cooper went on to win the drum brake division of the SVRA Formula Junior Vintage Racing National Championship at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
The Cooper is part of a larger collection of vintage racing cars, and has been used sparingly in the past few years. However, it has continued to be professionally maintained, and will be sold in ready to run condition.
1100 c.c. BMC engine with 45 DCOE Weber carburetor. Hewland Mk.4, five speed gearbox.
This Cooper is a proven race winner, not only in the drum brake FJ category, but overall as well. It can be raced in the U.S. with its current 5 speed Hewland gearbox. If you want to race it in Europe, with an original ERSA gearbox, we know of one that needs restoration, but is that is currently available. So you can race this Cooper competitively in the U.S. as well as in Europe.
Speaking personally, I raced this Cooper for several years. It began my long time enjoyment of racing Formula Juniors and generated friendships that will last a lifetime.
This Cooper is a very easy, forgiving, car to drive. The brakes are also really good. I never had problems with them, nor felt out-braked by any disc brake car. This is a car you can certainly win the drum brake class in, and best many of the disc brake cars as well. I’ve know past owners and later owners of this car and all have very much enjoyed it.
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To see a series of great photos of the car at the Monterey Reunion, please go to ConceptCarz.
Additional detail photos will be posted soon.
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