Two rare Coopers are returning to racing this season, one of them for the first time in more than 30 years. While Frank Sytner has already given his ex-Stirling Moss Cooper Monaco sportscar a debut win, later this season one of only two Cooper T60s in existence will hit the tracks again in the hands of Chris Smith.
Currently racing his ex-Innes Ireland Lotus 21, Smith aims to compete in the 1.5-litre V8 Coventry-Climax car towards the end of this season before undertaking a full programme in 2002. The car is currently undergoing a complete restoration by owner Tony Mantle.
The works cars, carrying chassis numbers 17 and 18, were raced by Bruce McLaren and Tony Maggs throughout the 1962 season. At Monaco, McLaren narrowly beat Phil Hill’s Ferrari 156, while Maggs took a best result of second at Rouen behind Dan Gurney’s Porsche. Smith’s car was then sold to Rob Walker, who entered it for Jo Bonnier during the first half of the 1963 season before switching to a new T66. It was then used in hillclimbs in Switzerland, but has not been used since the late 1960s. The ground-up rebuild should be finished this summer.
“I want to race it at Monaco next season, as well as in HGPCA events,” says Smith, who is also the boss of the Westfield Sports Car concern. The other T60 is in the Donington Collection.
Meanwhile, Sytner gave his Moss Cooper Monaco a season-opening victory at Silverstone in the BRDC Historic Sports Car race in May, and hopes to have Moss race the car later this season. The car was commissioned by Moss for 1959 and built by the late Mike Keele to incorporate coil springs and a five-speed gearbox. He raced it in the 1959 British GP support race at Aintree, when Sytner was in the crowd, and the car later went to Bib Stilwell in Australia, where it remained until last year.
Over the winter, Simon Hadfield has superbly rebuilt the car, which even runs in period colours. “Simon has done a superb job and it is a marvellous car,” said Sytner at Silverstone. Further wins have since been gleaned at Rockingham.