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1961 Cooper T56 Mark II

Formula Junior
Competition Car 1961 Cooper T56
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Photos
1961 Cooper T56 Mark II Formula Junior
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About This Cooper
1961 Cooper T56 Mark II
Formula Junior
VIN #: FJ-2-62
Stock #: 4548
Condition:
Used Clear Title
Engine:
994CC BMC-XSP OHV FOUR
Transmission:
5 Spd Manual
Drivetrain:
Rear Wheel Drive
Exterior Color:
Green
Interior Color:
Black
Interior Surface:
Vinyl

Vehicle History Report

Vehicle Overview

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1961 Cooper T56 Mark II Formula Junior - Steve McQueen
VIN:FJ-2-62

  • 1961 - Cooper Works' Formula Junior European Championship winner
  • 1962 - Owned and raced by Steve McQueen
  • 1963-65 - Won three SCCA Championships, driven by Buster Brizzard
  • Fully restored by Hardy Hall in England to race-ready condition
  • Eligible for BRDC, Goodwood Revival, Monterey Reunion, and VSCC events

This Cooper T-56 Formula Junior is one of only two Cooper Works cars campaigned by Team Tyrell for Cooper in 1961. At the hands of South African driver, Tony Maggs, it won eight races that season: Goodwood, Magny-Cours, Monza, Kalskoga, Rouen, Zandvoort, Oulton Park, and Montlhery. Those victories and other podium finishes gave Maggs, Cooper and Tyrrell the European Formula Junior Championship.

At the end of the 1961 season Tyrrell returned Magg's car to Cooper, who then refurbished the car and sold it to up-and-coming Hollywood actor, Steve McQueen in January of 1962. McQueen had attended Cooper's race school in England, and had become close friends with John Cooper. (Pictures of the two of them and the T-56 below.) McQueen would even stay in Cooper son's room when he visited. After becoming enamored with the championship car, McQueen purchased it, along with a Mini-Cooper, and had them both shipped back to California.
 
McQueen immediately began racing FJ-2-62 in California, scoring a number of victories, including the Santa Barbara street races. McQueen's performance in the car was so impressive that John Cooper personally invited him to come and test for a Formula drive in Europe.

When McQueen's Hollywood bosses learned about his "other job" they decided to intervene. In the pits right before his race at Laguna Seca studio lawyers showed up and asked him a question, "Are you a movie star or a race car driver? Choose."
 
McQueen had just finished his TV series "Wanted: Dead or Alive", and had made a huge splash starring in "The Magnificent Seven." With "The Great Escape" on the horizon, the studio wasn't about to take a risk with their new star. The ultimatum worked, and the King of Cool would go onto become a Hollywood icon, not an F1 driver. He wouldn't return to the track until he created his own studio, Solar Productions, where he was the boss, and boss liked racing. 

When McQueen made the decision to suspend his racing activities he left the car with his mechanic, Stanley Peterson, to put it up for sale. In 1963 Stanley sold the car to Al 'Buster' Brizzard, and extremely competitive driver in SCCA. He ran the car with the BMC engine in 1963, a Cosworth engine in 1964, and finally an Alfa-Romeo 1600 cc engine in 1965, winning the Pacific Coast Formula B Championship. He captured five straight wins with the Cooper, and its third championship title in five years.

Brizzard sold the Cooper to Robert Badilla in 1966, but reportedly bought it back again in 1977, still racing, but now with wings and wide tires. Skip McLaughlin, McQueen's original mechanic, was in possession of the car from 1980 into the 1990's and gathered a great deal of information on the car while in the process of restoration. Donald Sandy is noted as an owner in 2000, and the last owner acquired the car in October 2003, after its discovery was reported in Classic and Sports Car Magazine's Lost and Found section.

The owner commenced a profound restoration and engaged Hardy Hall Restorations, of Herefordshire, England to return FJ-2-62 to its Tyrrell / McQueen configuration of dark green with white roundels and stripes. It was restored from the ground up to race-ready condition. Any parts which were not up to that standard were replaced, rebuilt, or simply re-fabricated. An original and correct five-speed ERSA gearbox was found, and the car is fitted with the appropriate 1098 cc BMC engine.

The documentation file contains not only extensive photographic restoration documentation but also period photographs, including some with the "King of Cool," news clippings, invoices, ownership records, and correspondence with both Ken Tyrrell and John Cooper.

This T-56 is eligible for the Goodwood Revival, the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, and celebrated classic series in Europe, America, Australia, and New Zealand. With its successful, storied past that makes it unique among a mere 30-odd survivors and a race-ready restoration, the new owner can be assured that FJ-2-62 is as right now as it was over 50 years ago.

Engine:          
BMC-XSP

64.4mm bore x 76.2mm stroke, capacity 1098 cc. 
Wet sump. Single twin-choke Weber 45 DCEO carburetor.
#222429

Gearbox:     
Citroen-ERSA 5-speed, with Jack Knight internals and selector, and Cooper lid.
Magnesium bell housing
#27
 

1961 Formula Junior European Championship
 
Tyrrell Racing - Cooper T56 - BMC
FJ-2-62
 
April 3              Goodwood                  1st        Tony Maggs    #57
March 26         Snetterton                   2nd       Tony Maggs    #80
April 15            Oulton  Park               14th      Tony Maggs    #58
April 22            Aintree                         DNF     Tony Maggs    #57
May 6              Silverstone                  3rd        Tony Maggs    #5
May 13            GP Monaco                 3rd        Tony Maggs    #126
May 21            GP des Frontieres      2nd       Tony Maggs    #58
May 28            GP de Magny-Cours  1st        Tony Maggs   
June 3             Brands Hatch              9th        Tony Maggs    #70
June 4             GP de Rouen              1st        Tony Maggs    #12
June 11           Circuito di Castello     8th        Ian Raby         
June 17           Charterhall                   2nd       Tony Maggs
June 25           Circuit de la Chatre    6th        Tony Maggs   
June 29           GP Monza                   1st        Tony Maggs    #3
July 2               GP de Reims              2nd       Tony Maggs    #10
July 23             GP Stuttgart                3rd        Tony Maggs    #42
August 7         Brands Hatch              3rd        Tony Maggs    #70
August 13       GP de Nogaro             4th        Tony Maggs   
August 20       Kanonloppet               1st        Tony Maggs    #3
August 27       GP Det Danske          2nd       Tony Maggs    #2
Sept 3              Zandvoort                   1st        Tony Maggs   
Sept 23            Oulton Park                1st        Tony Maggs    #43
Sept 30            Snetterton                   3rd        Tony Maggs    #135
October 3        Montlhery                    1st        Tony Maggs    #2


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Canepa Scotts Valley CA

Canepa

4900 Scotts Valley Dr.
Scotts Valley, CA 95066

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831-430-9940
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Green with Black Vinyl Interior
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