Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Cooper 1500 GT - quite a Special!

When Jon Cooper posted a photograph of one of his father's creations, it reminded me of an old article in Car & Car Conversions. And, indeed, it was about the same man: Graham Cooper of Sedgley, West Midlands where he had his workshop in an old Baptist Chapel! Here, Cooper built a number of massive overbore Mini engines with 1400; 1450; 1465; 1500 and 1520 cc. There even was a 1556cc version based on a 970 'S' block, using 170 thou thin-ring sand cast pistons and a unique Laystall Engineering crank. This particular one was raced in a Mini by a man named Bill Cole and according to the CCC article by Clive Richardson not just very competitive but also… reliable! 

From the words: "What's more, the 1556 engine - the only one there is - has been running since the end of 1968 and for one-and-a-half seasons hasn't been touched at all, not even so much of having the head off or the concealed tip N62R spark plugs taken out. Starting from cold is simply a matter of pulling out the choke, starting it and the big bore ticks over immediately at 1000 rpm. Apparantly Bill uses 9000 rpm regularly, though more often than not doesn't manage to look at the rev counter. Did somebody have doubts about reliability?!"

Jon's photograph that struck me, however, was one of a much-altered Mini with 12" steel wheels at front and wide 10" JAP Magnas at the rear. What's more: it's chopped, streamlined, deseamed, lowered and comes with a much-raked windscreen and ultra-sharp fastback rear. The (fake?) number plate suggests this GT used a 1500 lump, too, but there is no further information. So… who knows more?

Graham Cooper special must have used 1500 engine. Body is much, much, altered too
Picture courtesy Jon Cooper

This Mini used the 1556cc engine and supposedly scored 9 out of 10 wins in the Midlands Sprint Championship
Picture courtesy Jon Cooper

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