Ex-Brabham F1 racer going to auction for Stewart’s dementia charity

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Jack Brabham raced this 1961 Cooper Climax T55 | Bonhams photos

The 1961 Cooper Climax T55 “Slimline” race car driven by Jack Brabham will be offered for bidding at the Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Revival in England on September 14, with proceeds from the sale benefitting the Race Against Dementia charity founded by another Formula 1 racing champion, Jackie Stewart.

The car was one of two such racers produced by the Cooper team for the 1961 season. The other was driven by Brabham’s teammate, Bruce McLaren. Brabham led a 1-2 finish by the cars in its debut, the Aintree 200. Brabham later drove the car in the Tasman Series in Australia and New Zealand.

Bonhams notes that the T55 “was an intermediate design, created to meet that year’s new Grand Prix regulations introducing a smaller 1.5-liter engine. 

“The Cooper works team, which had achieved back-to-back Drivers’ World Championship titles with Brabham in 1959 and 1960, suffered from delays to delivery of their new 1.5-liter Formula engines and had to use the lower-powered Formula 2 4-cylinder units. To compensate, team boss John Cooper, chief designer Owen Maddock and Brabham himself designed a ‘slimline’ version of their championship-winning 1960 car.”

The 1961 season would be dominated by Ferrari with its “shark-nose” V6-powered cars.

After the 1961 season, the ex-Brabham Cooper T55 was sold to John Youl, who raced it through 1964. A later owner, Peter Livanos, had the car restored and then donated it to Stewart’s charity.

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Stewart is quoted in Bonhams announcement: “The Cooper Climate T55 is a beautiful machine, that any collector can be seriously privileged to own.

“Early Coopers revolutionized Formula 1 motor racing. Charles Cooper and John Cooper created a new wave of technology. Jack Brabham at the time was one of the greatest drivers and demonstrated his skills successfully on this car.”

Stewart drove a Cooper Monaco sports racer in 1964 for Ecurie Ecosse, winning six races in a row and earning a spot on Ken Tyrrell’s Formula 3 team.

Bonhams expects the ex-Brabham racer to generate £100,000 to £150,000 ($125,000 to $185,000) when it crosses the block.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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