1961 Cooper T56 MK II Formula Junior VIN: FJ-2-62 Owned and raced by Hollywood and Le Mans movie celebrity Steve McQueen McQueen took part in California races, including Santa Barbara street races One of 2 Works cars campaigned by Team Tyrrell for Cooper in 1961 8 first place finishes, 18 total podium finishes under Tyrrell racing Owned by Skip McLaughlin, Steve McQueens personal mechanic during racing Fully restored by Hardy Hall Restorations of Herefordshire, England Eligible for Goodwood Revival, Monterey Motorsports Reunion This Cooper T-56 Formula Junior is one of only two Works cars campaigned by the famous Team Tyrrell (known for their 6-wheeled racecars) for Cooper in 1961. At the hands of South African driver Tony Maggs, the duo won eight races that season: Goodwood, Magny-Cours, Monza, Kalskoga, Rouen, Zandvoort, Oulton Park, and Montlhery. Those 8 first place finishes and 18 total podiums gave Maggs, Cooper and Tyrrell the European Formula Junior Championship. With a championship under its belt, the Cooper went from racing star Maggs and sold to up-and-coming Hollywood legend and King of Cool, Steve McQueen. At the end of the 1961 racing season Tyrrell returned Maggs car to Cooper, who then refurbished the car and sold it to rising Hollywood star, Steve McQueen in January of 1962. McQueen had attended Coopers race school in England, and had become close friends with John Cooper. McQueen would even stay in Coopers sons room when he visited. After becoming enamored with the championship car, McQueen purchased it, along with a Mini-Cooper, and had both of them shipped back to California. McQueen immediately began racing his Cooper T-56 in California, scoring a number of victories, including the Santa Barbara street races. McQueens performance in the car was so impressive that John Cooper personally invited him to come and test for a Formula drive in Europe. Just as luck would have it for a competitive and aspiring race car driver, McQueens Hollywood bosses learned about his other job as a moonlight racer and decided to intervene. In the pits right before his race at Laguna Seca, studio lawyers surrounded him 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 to made a huge splash starring in The Magnificent Seven. With The Great Escape on the horizon, the studio wasnt 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 wouldnt return to the track until he created his own studio, Solar Productions, where he was the boss, and the boss liked racing. When McQueen made his decision to suspend his racing activities, he left the car with his mechanic, Stanley Petersen, to put to put it up for sale. In 1963 Stanley sold the car to Al Buster Brizard, an extremely competitive driver in the SCCA. He ran the Cooper with the BMC engine in 1963, a Cosworth engine in 1964, and finally an Alfa-Romeo 1600cc engine in 1965, winning the Pacific Coast Formula B championship. He captured 5 straight wins with the Cooper, and its third championship in five years. Brizard 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, McQueens original mechanic, was in possession of the car from 1980 into the 1990s and gathered a great deal of information on the car while in his ownership. Donald Sandy is noted as an owner in 2000, and the last owner acquired the car in October of 2003, after its discovery was reported in Classic and Sports Car Magazines Lost and Found section. The owner commenced a profound restoration and engaged Hardy Hall Restorations, of Herefordshire, England to return the T-56 to its Tyrrell/McQueen configuration of dark green with white roundels and stripes. It was restored from the
This 1961 Cooper T56 was listed for sale on 9-12-17 10:32:47. The vehicle color is British Racing Green and VIN is
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