1958 Cooper T45/51

1958 Cooper T45/51

1958 Cooper T45/51



1958 was a watershed year for Formula One. Against a field of Ferraris and Maseratis, Stirling Moss won the Argentine Grand Prix driving a mid-engined 2.0 litre Climax Cooper T45 entered by Privateer Rob Walker. This was the first victory for a car with the engine mounted behind the driver in Formula One. It was also the first World Championship GP win for a private entrant. The next Grand Prix in Monaco was also won by the same Cooper T45 car, this time driven by Maurice Trintignant and facing more substantial opposition. Powered by undersized engines, the Coopers remained outsiders in 1958 but as soon as the new 2.5-litre Coventry-Climax engine was available, the little British cars went on to dominate Formula One. The 1959 season was effectively the start of the mid-engined revolution, and this season saw fierce competition between the works Cooper of Australian Jack Brabham and Moss in the Walker team's Cooper.


C.T. ‘Tommy’ Atkins had made a name for himself in pre-war motorcycle racing. However by the 1950’s he had moved onto motor-racing. By the time Atkins’ High Efficiency Motors took part in its first Formula One race in 1958 he had retired from racing himself and was running Ian Burgess in F2 with a Cooper T43 (chassis F2-26-57). They had tasted success at the 1957 German Grand Prix punching well above a privateer’s weight coming second in class. It was clear a more powerful engine would be needed to compete within the Formula One category. The factory Cooper team had even pressed Coventry to build a larger version of its four cylinder engine. By the end of the ’58 season the team would be using a 2.2 litre four cylinder engine in the T45. Atkins bought two chassis’ F2-15-58 which he mated to a Maserati 2.5 litre four cylinder engine and a second that was stamped F2-26a-57. This car initially ran a 1500 climax but later would run both 2.0 and 2.5 climax engines.


Ian Burgess raced in F2-26a-57 with Salvadori mostly in the Maserati powered chassis. First race for Burgess was the BRSCC F2 race at Brands Hatch in June 1958 where he 3rd on aggregate and shared fastest lap at 58.8 seconds. This followed by 4th at GP de Paris and 4th at Coupe Internationale de Vitesse at Reims. Top step of the podium was seen at Snetterton in July in the Vanwall Trophy. Second in F2 class in the German GP was followed by two more club events before Burgess crashed the car in September at the IV Grosser Preis Von Berlin. 1959 saw Salvadori race the car on several occasions including 2nd at Goodwood in the Lavant Cup (where he also raced the Maserati powered T45) and an outright win in the London Trophy at Crystal Palace. As was common with drivers at that time this meeting also saw Salvadori race the Maserati engine T45 in the Glover Trophy. Jack Fairman drove the car in the 1959 British GP as Salvadori drove an Aston Martin.


The car was in 1960 to Wolgang Seidel under the banner of his team Scuderia Colonia and raced around Europe including the Italian GP at Monza driven by Drogo finishing 8th.  Ownership passed to fabled Rob Walker mechanic Alf Francis in 1965 before selling in 1972 to noted collector and historian Joel Finn, 1986 the car was bought by long time racer Murray Smith before selling two years later to Bob Rubin and then in 1989 Maserati vintage race Keith Duly bought the car keeping it until 1993 when he sold the car to globally renowned restorer and race car preparer Neil Twyman.


Neil undertook a sensitive restoration retaining the original bodywork, chassis and tanks finishing it in the Scuderia Colonia livery. Due to the originality of the car it has been lightly campaigned since the restoration finished in 2005. The car has competed successfully five times at Monaco Historique (including a podium with Joe Twyman in 2010), five times at Goodwood (most recently in the 2017 Members Meeting where it was the quickest Cooper in the Brabham Trophy) and twice in the Rothschild and Lindsay Trophy run by the VSCC where it has had podium finishes on both occasions.


The car is ready to race and is fitted with 2.5 litre Climax engine with HTP papers reflecting the upgrade to T51 spec.