1959 Cooper Monaco T49 Mk1 Sports-Racing Two-Seater Chassis no. 002
It was in November 1958 that the original Cooper Monaco MarkI offset-driving position sports-racing car was announced by the Surbiton-based company to replace its preceding centre-seat 'Bobtail' small-capacity models. The new design was named 'Monaco' after Maurice Trintignant's 1958 victory in the world-famous round-the-houses Monte Carlo street race, the Monaco Grand Prix, behind the wheel of a Rob Walker-entered Formula 1 Cooper-Climax. The original Cooper Monaco Mark I model combined coil-and-wishbone front suspension with a transverse-leaf rear end and was a notably short-wheelbase sports-racing car, amazingly low and light for the period, clothed in stubby and purposeful aluminium bodywork.
While there was no published price for these cars in the home British market, for the US the published prices were $7,700 for a 1,500cc version and $8,250 for a 2-litre. In Britain - always happy simply 'to be different' - price was 'open to discussion between factory and client', and favoured established clients obviously benefited from a significantly shorter discussion than any newcomers. Several cars were sold as tax-free self-assembly kits or collections of suitable parts for the customer to assemble, or have assembled, for himself.
During 1959 the new Monacos were immediately successful, displaying a slight advantage over the contemporary front-engined Lotus-Climax 15s. At the mid-season British GP meeting Stirling Moss made his Monaco debut in the first 2½-litre Climax-engined variant, while other owners fitted the 2½-litre Maserati four-cylinder in place of Cooper's preferred Coventry Climax FPF power unit.
This 2-litre Cooper Monaco Mark I has, over many years, shown itself to be an extremely well presented, well prepared and competitive example of this marque and model, having been raced widely in Historic events during the 1990s by Jeffrey Pattinson. He competed regularly in an extensive series of VSCC and HGPCA meetings and also achieved considerable success in the British Racing Drivers Club '50s Historic Sports Car Championship, which he won with this car in 1999. Leading Historic racing driver and former British Touring Car Championship contender Frank Sytner then acquired the Cooper. It was prepared for him virtually regardless of expense and he campaigned it with considerable further success in the Historic arena.
Ted Williams bought the car from Mr Sytner circa 2002 and in his hands it continued to compete very successfully at Historic level around the major European circuits, continued to accumulate race wins and in addition was one of the featured entries in the 50th anniversary Macau Grand Prix meeting in the Portuguese colonial city on the coast of China. Mr Williams also drove the car in the Goodwood Revival Meeting that same year, finishing 4th overall.
From Mr Williams the car was sold on to the present vendor in 2005 and he drove it to victory in the BRDC Historic '50s Sports Car Championship in both 2006 and 2007, scoring regular race wins. With numerous pole positions, fastest laps and podium finishes also falling to this Cooper Monaco's credit, the vendor finished 2nd in the relevant race during the 2007 Goodwood Revival Meeting while also recording fastest race lap - absolutely no mean feat given the premier-league quality of the opposition at any Goodwood Revival Meeting.
On page 248 of the Goodwood book 'The First Ten Years' - compiled and written by Bonhams and Goodwood consultant Doug Nye - there is a fine photograph reproduced of this car being driven by its present owner/vendor in the Madgwick Cup race. The car's list of credits and laurels is, as must be self-evident, absolutely immense and it includes victories in the Silverstone Classic in both 2007 and 2009 and 2nd place there in 2012. In the vendor's hands the car also won the Sir Stirling Moss Trophy at the 2012 Oulton Park Gold Cup Meeting.
Plainly the historically significant Cooper Monaco offered here is a very competitive, well prepared Historic sports car of good racing pedigree. It is accompanied by its original FIA papers and up-to-date/current HTP, and plainly promises its new owner not only assured entry to many of the Historic racing world's most notable events, but also the potential to excel in them all. We are advised that a full spares package is available from the vendor via private negotiation.