Posts Tagged ‘Cooper T45 Climax’

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(LAT)

Stirling Moss leads the 1956 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in his works Maser 250F…

The dark, gloomy, wet weather shot could be in Europe. Stirling won the 80 lap, 250 mile race held on 2 December 1956 by a lap from teammate Jean Behra, Peter Whitehead’s Ferrari 555 Super Squalo, Reg Hunt’s Maser 250F and Stan Jones similar car.

The excitement of this post Melbourne Olympic Games race meeting run over two weekends I covered in an article about the Australian Tourist Trophy which Moss also won the week before, in another works Maser, this time a 300S, click here to read it;

https://primotipo.com/2016/01/29/1956-australian-tourist-trophy-albert-park/

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Moss during the 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix metting in Rob Walker’s Cooper T45 Climax. He raced sans the rear engine cover in the final, such was the heat, so this is a practice shot or heat (Fairfax)

 

This short article is pictorial in nature, I rather like the justaposition between his win in the conventional, state of the art 250F in 1956 and victory 2 years later in the 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix. This time Stirling was in a paradigm shifting, mid-engined Cooper, in this case a T45 Climax. He took the first modern era, mid-engined GP win on January 19 1958 in a Cooper T43 Climax at the Buenos Aires circuit in Argentina.

Moss chills in the Albert Park paddock before the off in 1956 (S Landrigan)

 

 

Stirling won that 32 lap, 100 mile Albert Park, Melbourne GP race run in super hot conditions on 30 November 1958…

Behind him was Jack Brabham’s similar Cooper T45 Climax 2.2 FPF- Doug Whiteford’s Maser 300S and Bib Stillwell’s Maser 250F were third and fourth.

The race was a Formula Libre event attended by over 70000 spectators. Brabham led away at the start but Moss soon passed him and moved steadily away keeping a strong lead despite easing in the final laps given his cars water temperature, which was off the Smiths clock!

(R Jones)

 

 

Melbourne GP start, Jack gets the jump in the centre from Moss on the left, both in Cooper T45’s and Stan Jones Maserati 250F.

Stirling’s car was fitted with an Alf Francis built Coventry Climax FPF, 4 cylinder DOHC, two valve, Weber carbed engine of 2051cc, it was a ‘screamer’ with trick cams and crank. Jack’s T45 toted a 2.2 litre FPF, revised ‘Ersa’ 5 speed ‘box and double wishbone rear suspension.

 

Jack Brabham ahead of Dick Cobden, Ferrari 125 Chev

 

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The two new-fangled Cooper T45’s were the class of the field, Moss and Jack took a heat apiece. The natural order of things in Australia changed very rapidly, just like everywhere else, albeit the last Australian Grand Prix won by a front-engine car was Stan Jones win at Longford several months after the Albert Park meeting, on 2 March 1959.

 

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Jack’s Cooper being fettled in the Albert Park paddock in 1958, probably a practice day shot, T45 Climax (G Rhodes via KBY191)

Brabham was still on the rise as a driver, he raced in F2 in 1958 (and in the F2 class of some GP’s) but took fourth in the Monaco classic, sixth in the French, seventh in the Portuguese and eighth in the Dutch GP at Zandvoort-all in works F1 Cooper T45’s. His time was shortly to come of course in 1959 and 1960.

 

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Moss takes the chequered flag in his Cooper T45, Melbourne GP, November 1958 (LAT)

 

Sadly, the 30 November 1958 Albert Park race was the last race meeting until the modern Albert Park era

It commenced with the first of the F1 Grands Prix in 1996- or more precisely with some historic events in the years before which ‘softened up the public’ to the concept. The use of the park for motor racing became enmeshed in fifties Victorian State politics, the net result was the end of racing for nearly forty years.

Barry Green observed in his book, ‘Glory Days’, ‘In many ways that final meeting represented a changing of the guard. The two nimble, little rear-engined cars had blitzed the field, underscoring the fact that the writing was on the wall for the big, front engined cars’.

‘So too, the days of the wealthy sporting amateur, of racing for a silver cup and the fun of it all. Professionalism had arrived- to see that, one had to look no further than the darkening sky over Albert Park; to a hovering helicopter, about to pluck Stirling Moss from the crowd and whisk him off to Essendon Airport and connections to the Bahamas for the Nassau Speed Week’.

 

Start of one of the heats won by Brabham’s Cooper T45 on this side. In the middle is Ted Gray’s big, booming Tornado Chev with Bill Patterson in the white Cooper T43 Climax (R Jones)

 

Same heat as above- Brabham, Cooper T45 Climax, Ted Gray, Tornado 2 Chev, Stan Jones, Maserati 250F, Tom Clark, Ferrari 555 Super Squalo, Derek Jolly, Lotus 15, Bill Patterson, Cooper T41 and the rest

 

Checkout this fantastic BP film, supporters of Moss’ attendance at the event, of the 1958 Melbourne GP meeting…

 

 

Etcetera: 1956 AGP/ATT weekends, November/December…

 

With Reg Hunt at left and Ken Wharton, right, before the start of the Australian Tourist Trophy- Moss’ winning Maserati 300S at right- and en-route to victory below.

 

 

Jean Behra grabs a quick drag whilst Moss deals with a fan.

And below corrects a delicate slide on the fast, demanding Albert Park road course- Maserati 250F.

 

 

(J Russell)

Victory shot on soggy race day- wonderful, rare photograph.

 

Bibliography…

‘Glory Days-Albert Park 1953-8’ Barry Green

 

Credits…

stirlingmoss.com, LAT, Fairfax Media, Graham Rhodes, Simon Landrigan, Robert Jones, Australian Motor Heritage Foundation via Brian Caldersmith, Janet Russell Collection

 

Tailpiece: And a fine tail it is too. Moss, Maser 250F and mechanic in more recent times. ‘I won’t remember your number, text me’ is the gist of the conversation…

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(unattributed)

Finito…

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Cliff Allison releases his Lotus 12 Climax from the Monaco haybales on 18 May 1958, whilst teammate Graham Hill passes in the sister car…

It was a significant race for Lotus, their debut as Championship Grand Prix competitors, Allison was classified sixth and Hill’s race ended on lap 15 with engine dramas.

Coventry Climax had still not built a 2.5 litre version of their FPF 4 cylinder engine, so Lotus, like Cooper, were competing with engines of 1960cc, well below the 2.5 litre F1 capacity limit.

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Jesse Alexander’s shot captures the atmosphere of Monaco ’58, shot taken from the ‘Milk Bar’

Times of change in racing are of immense interest to those of us with an historic bent. 1958/1959 is one of those eras with the growing influence of the ‘Green Cars’ a portent of the British dominance to come. And of course Cooper showing the mid-engined path still with us today.

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Cliff Allison at Monza in 1959 (Cahier)

 

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Lotus 12 in all its naked glory at Zandvoort in 1958. It was about as small as a front engined GP car could get, ignoring the fact it was designed as an F2 car! In 1958 ’twas as modern as tomorrow and as passe as yesterday simultaneously (Cahier)

 

Note the twin dual-throat SU carbs and front roll bar double-tasking as a means of locating the upper suspension top link

Indicative of  mid-engined growing superiority was the failure of all the Maserati 250F’s entered to qualify- driven by Godia-Sales, Kavanagh, Taramazzo, Gerini, de Fillipis, Testut, Gould and the great, but ageing Monegasque Louis Chiron. Lets not forget that only the year before, 1957, Juan Manuel Fangio won the race in a factory ‘Piccolo’ 250F. And Moss also won aboard a 250F in 1956 for that matter too.

Successful British motor-cycle dealer BC Ecclestone had acquired the GP Connaughts but Bernie, Paul Emery and Bruce Kessler all failed to qualify the cars too.

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Bernie Ecclestone trying hard to qualify his Connaught Type B Alta, to no avail as was the case for his 2 teammates (unattributed)

Things were better for the Green Cars at the front of the grid with Brooks, Behra and Brabham in Vanwall VW57, BRM P25 and Cooper Climax T45 respectively. Salvadori and Trintignant were next up in Coopers, the quickest Ferrari, Mike Hawthorn, was sixth in his Dino.

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# 18 Savadori Cooper T45 Climax, # 6 Behra BRM P25, #16 Brabham Cooper T45 Climax, # 30 Brooks Vanwall VW57, winner Trintignant partially obscured behind Brabham Cooper T45 Climax, # 32 Lewis-Evans Vanwall VW57…and the rest, turn one, lap1 (unattributed)

In a race of changing fortunes Behra, Hawthorn and Moss all led but suffered mechanical failures.

Trintignant won the race in Rob Walker’s Cooper T45 Climax from Musso and Collins in Dinos. Moss’ Argentina Cooper T43 win was no ‘flash in the pan’ by any stretch…

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Moss, Hawthorn, Brabham and Trintignant. Ferrari Dino 246, Vanwall VW57 with Monaco ‘snub nose’ and Coopers T45 Climax x 2 (unattributed)

 

Graham Hill prepares for another practice lap whilst Cliff Allison looks on at left and Colin Chapman in the sunglasses at right.

The Lotus 12 was Chapman’s 1957 F2 contender powered by a Coventry Climax 1.5 litre FPF engine.

Whilst competitive the lithe, nimble, light front-engined cars took no F2 race wins that year, Allison’s second late in the season at the Oulton Park International Cup was the best result.

Fitted with 2 litre FPF’s, ‘F1’ 12’s contested the Non-Championship 1957 Glover Trophy and Lavant Cup at Goodwood and BRDC International Trophy, Silverstone as well as the 1958 Glover Trophy, BARC 200 at Aintree and the BRDC International Trophy before their Monaco Championship debut. Allison’s fourth in the 1958 Glover Trophy aboard chassis ‘357’- the same car he raced in Monaco was the best result. Graham Hill’s car was ‘353’ which has resided, beautifully restored, with Mike Bennett in Adelaide for many years.

Beautiful shots above and below by Bernard Cahier shows the minimalist nature of the Hill Lotus 12 to great effect. Greatness was to come later with Lotus of course- a championship in 1968 after a remarkable stint with BRM.

In some ways its surprising that Chapman, the great innovator, didn’t go the mid-engined route with the Lotus 16, the 12’s successor but he got the hang of the mid-engined thing rather well with the 18 which followed- a machine which was rather successful in FJ, F2 and F1 in 1960.

Lotus 12 Climax cutaway

 

Etcetera…

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Photo and other Credits…

Jesse Alexander, The Cahier Archive, John Ross Motor Racing Archive, John Marsden

Tailpiece: Allison made the Lotus 12 sing…

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(John Ross)

As here at Monza 1958.

He put the car fifth on the British GP grid, well in front of Hill in the new Lotus 16, finished sixth at Zandvoort, fourth in the Belgian GP at Spa and seventh at Monza. Such were his performances he was off to Ferrari in 1959 at Enzo’s invitation

Finito…