Please excuse my english, we do our best…..
Charles Cooper, a mechanic, decided in 1946 to build a single-seater for his son, John Cooper. This car, equipped with a 500 JAP single cylinder engine will be known as the Cooper 500 and will be manufactured in hundreds of copies until 1957. English drivers including Stirling Moss and Peter Collins, will make their weapons on these chassis in the category F3. Then Cooper released a model equipped with a V Twin Jam 1000cm2 engine intended for Formula B, the Cooper T12.
In 1952, the organizers of F1 grand prix having difficulties in filling the starting grids, allow cars of F2 to take part in the races. Cooper sees this as an opportunity to offer his customers a more competitive car, the T20.
The Cooper T20 has a tubular chassis and a Bristol 6-cylinder in-line 1971cc engine, based on the famous BMW 328 engine. Three copies were to be produced, but the father of Mike Hawthorn, seduced by the capabilities of his son in 1951, decided to buy a Cooper to participate in the F2 championship. It is this car that will become HPN665.
The first race of the 4 cars takes place on the Goodwood circuit for the 1952 « Easter Meeting ». Mike Hawthorn’s car, in the foreground if below, is not yet painted. But he will now fight against Fangio on equal terms.
During the three races of this event, Mike Hawthorn will finish first twice. One in front of Fangio driving one of the other Cooper Bristol T20s.
A few weeks later, he won at Silverstone, then at Boreham and finished second at Dunrod.
Then came the first races on the continent.
At Spa Francorchamps the Cooper finished 4th behind the powerful Ferrari 500 of Alberto Ascari, and Guiseppe Farina and the Gordini of Robert Manzon.
The legend says that the father of Mike Hawthorn, having worked in aviation had an infinite knowledge of fuel additives and nitromethane in particular. Great at his science and the settings of his mechanics he managed to draw 150 hp from the Bristol engine.
In Reims, at the GP de France, he finished 4th and 3rd at Silverstone behind the Ferraris of Ascari and Tartuffi. For the start of the Grand Prix in Zandvoort, he was on the front line alongside the Italian cars, which caused a great stir and which undoubtedly enabled him to be invited to try a Ferrari and sign for the Scuderia.
We can say without hesitation that the Cooper T20 HPN665 allowed the young English driver to become the first British driver to become F1 World Champion in 1958.
But the story of this extraordinary car does not stop there.
Duncan Hamilton, who had picked up the car, made it into a two-seater sports car.
He kept the chassis (CB-03-52) which he transformed and ordered a body designed by Bernie Rogers and built by Wakerfield.
The car was going to have a second career, driven by Alan Brown.
In 1953, she finished second at the 9 Hours of Goodwood, she won her class at Silverstone. In 1954 the car won the Oulton Park « British Empire GP », a class victory at Zandvoort and finished second in its class at the Spa GP.
Here is the car today :
Toute reproduction interdite sans l’autorisation de l’auteur – Reproduction prohibited without permission of the author