1956 Cooper-CLIMAX TYPE 39 ‘BOBTAIL’ SPORTS-RACING TWO-SEATER  Chassis no. CS/52/56 Engine no. FWB 400/8/7054

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Lot 129
1956 Cooper-CLIMAX TYPE 39 ‘BOBTAIL’ SPORTS-RACING TWO-SEATER
Chassis no. CS/52/56 Engine no. FWB 400/8/7054

Sold for £ 48,800 (US$ 59,696) inc. premium
1956 Cooper-CLIMAX TYPE 39 ‘BOBTAIL’ SPORTS-RACING TWO-SEATER
Chassis no. CS/52/56
Engine no. FWB 400/8/7054
Amongst all small and medium-capacity class sports-racing cars of the mid-1950s, the ‘Bobtail’ Coopers with their distinctive centreline driver’s seat, ‘Manx-tailed’ body design and rear engined configuration are perhaps the most charismatic and best-remembered. This sparkling example is offered here with full FIA Historic Vehicle Identity documentation and is fully restored and described by the vendor as being in ‘race ready order’, having been maintained and prepared by well-known British Cooper specialist Sid Hoole.

As new in 1956, ‘CB/52/56’ was delivered from the Cooper Car Co’s famous factory in Hollyfield Road, Surbiton, Surrey, to Bill Boye in Florida who actively campaigned the car upon the East Coast of America. Mr Boye retained the car until 1962, after which we understand that it was subsequently acquired by a Mr Greene of Melbourne, Florida, in whose hands it survived – "lying derelict" - until as recently as 1978. Ron Coughlin of Melbourne, Florida, then bought the remains of this typical production ‘Bobtail’ and in November 1979 it was sold and brought to the UK by Roger Fountain of Lincolnshire, while well-known racer Stephen Bulling would complete the provenance before it would subsequently by acquired by the current vendor.

In its present guise ‘52/56’ offered here is assembled around a replacement chassis while the original chassis frame is included with the Lot and is offered here with this completely-assembled, running and race-prepared ‘Bobtail’. Photographs of the original chassis frame form part of the car’s FIA documentation. Cooper-pattern cast spoked wheels are fitted with Dunlop RS 204 racing tyres in 4.50x15 front and 5.00x15 rear sizes.

This Cooper is equipped with a 1.5-litre Coventry Climax single-overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine breathing through appropriate SU Carburettors, and is understood to have been raced only twice since its last Sid Hoole overhaul. This power unit replaces the original 1098cc engine cited as being installed in the May 1996 FIA paperwork.

Transmission is via a newly manufactured Citroen-ERSA-type gearbox with new gears and fitted with later-type gearchange linkage. This transaxle system includes a limited-slip differential. Body panelling is in aluminium with quickly-detachable Dzus fastener attachment, while paintwork livery is British Racing Green with red stripe around the radiator intake.

There is a very active Historic racing scene in which Cooper ‘Bobtails’ such as this well-presented example consistently excel against their in-period rivals – the 1100 and 1500cc front-engined Lotus 11s – and these innovative looking rear-engined designs are increasingly sought after.

Saleroom notices

  • The original chassis is avaialble for inspection at the sale.
Auction information

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Buyer's Premium Rates
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25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
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