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1957 Cooper T43 (FIA)

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  Lot #215  (Sale Order: 16 of 38)  
Sold for: £76,000.00 to onsite
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  • An immaculate example of John Cooper's Formula 2 design for the 1957 season

  • Number 27 of 28. Shipped to Cooper's US Agent, Joe Lubin

  • History since 1958. Returned from the US in 1989 and a comprehensive UK history from then

  • Dozens of wins with Mike Haywood, Martin Stretton, Harvey Sykes and Clive Wilson

  • 1475cc Climax FPF recently rebuilt by Sid Hoole (£11,000). Only a few hours running since

  • FIA Historic Technical Passport (HTP) for the F2/2 Class valid until 31/12/2025

  • Superbly presented, on the button and eligible for Goodwood, pre-1961 Monaco Historique, HGPCA and more

Stirling Moss and Vanwall had won the last two races of 1957 but by then the world title was done and dusted. But anyone who expected Juan Manuel Fangio to resume his stranglehold on the championship when the real action resumed in Argentina in early 1958 was in for a wake-up call. The world of Formula One was moving on with some fairly major rule changes. Alcohol-based fuel was banned in favour of Avgas, drivers pitting and swapping cars was all but outlawed and a championship for manufacturers had also been instigated for the first time.

Fangio’s Maserati team had withdrawn from the sport but were still providing cars to privateers, and Vanwall also opted not to travel to Buenos Aires leaving Moss free to drive for his friend and mentor, whisky heir and absolute gentleman, Rob Walker in his RRC Walker Racing Team Cooper-Climax T43 recently purchased from John Cooper.

The T43 gearbox had been a source of problems all through the development of the car and it wasn’t solved until ERSA in Paris were prepared to manufacture some thicker casings. Time was tight so with the Walker car’s departure for the Argentine in a matter of days, John Cooper flew to Paris and brought the first three casings back in his suitcase. Customs concerns at London Airport meant that John didn’t get back to his unit until mid-evening and he and the legendary Alf Francis worked all night to rebuild the gearbox and get it back in the car in time to be loaded and off to the airport bound for South America.

The 2-litre, rear-engined, Cooper-Climax was the only non-Maserati or Ferrari in the field and the 'Little Bug' was the subject of much derision from the established teams. Defending champion Fangio, who had won the previous four Argentine Grands Prix, took pole in his privately-entered Maserati and led early on, breaking the lap record several times. Starting from well back on the grid, Moss cautiously got to grips with the rear-engined Cooper and quite soon fought his way past both the V6, OHC Dino Ferraris of Musso and Hawthorn. When Fangio pitted on lap 35 for tyres and fuel (5-6 minutes in those days) Moss sailed into the lead requiring neither fuel nor tyres as the Cooper was comparatively fuel-efficient and Stirling was famously kind to his tyres. In the closing stages, and with his Continental tyres now shredded, Moss just managed to hold off Luigi Musso with Mike Hawthorn a close third.

Moss’ Argentine Grand Prix win was the first in the championship for a rear-engined car, the first for an independent team and the first for Cooper Cars bookmarking the start of a complete sea change in the design of Grand Prix cars. A leading motorsport publication recently described the Cooper T43 as “One of the ten most important Grand Prix cars of all time”.

According to John Cooper’s excellent biography “Grand Prix Carpetbaggers”, 29 examples of the T43 were built in 1957, one prototype and 28 customer cars. The car offered here is # F2-27-57 which presumably was one of the last assembled. We know that it was shipped to the States where Cooper’s US agent Joe Lubin sold the car to the husband-and-wife team, Bob Drake and Mary Davis. Some old photos in the owner’s file show the car being raced at Paramount Ranch, California in December 1957, where Mary Davis finished second overall. Shortly after, the car was sold to Ron Ellico who used it to some effect in the Palm Springs Road Race in April 1958, and in Hawaii’s International Speed Week the following month – achieving a Formula Two class win at the latter. We understand that #F2-27-57 was next raced by John McLaughlin, making several appearances at Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) regional events, as well as the Pomona Road Races in early 1959.

Having spent the first 30 years of its racing life in America, the Cooper was destined to return home. Mike Haywood is a

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This item is part of RACE RETRO SALE 2020 - Day 1 -Competition Cars
 Friday, Feb 21, 2020 | 2:30 PM  EUR (GMT)
 
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1957 Cooper T43 (FIA)
1957 Cooper T43 (FIA)
Lot number: 215
Seller: Silverstone Auctions
Event: RACE RETRO SALE 2020 - Day 1 -Competition Cars
Ends: Friday, February 21 | 2:30 PM  EUR (GMT)

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