c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49

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Lot 262
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER
Chassis no. 52 7 49

Sold for £ 20,700 (US$ 27,921) inc. premium
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER
Chassis no. 52 7 49
* Was Norton powered in period
* The popular choice of leading drivers during the 1953-55 British F3 seasons
* Part of the Forshaw Collection for over 30 years

Footnotes

  • Long-preserved within the Forshaw Collection this very highly-modified lightweight Beart-Cooper-JAP is understood to be one of the 500cc Formula 3 racing single-seaters developed by renowned motor-cycle engine tuner Francis Beart with engineer Ray Petty for the use of leading drivers during the 1953-55 British Formula 3 seasons.

    The car is accompanied by a sizeable documentation file, in which a list of non-standard features include the following comments:

    "Chassis Frame - Basically Mk VII Cooper - tubular upright members welded in replace perforated steel strip - Driver's seat 3-inches lower - 3-gallon fuel tank under driver's legs between chassis members - 3 gallon fuel tank scuttle mounted on triangulated tube framework (No side-mounted fuel tanks).

    "Suspension: Front s/as opposite angle to standard.

    "Body: Slimmed to chassis width - completely under-shielded - Built by Wakefield & Son, Byfleet - light green is colour. Completely enclosed - long tapering tube inlet to carb.

    "Engine: Beart-prepared Manx Norton - later R.R. Jackson head - Mounted 2 1/2-inches further forward than standard. Exhaust pipe welded to top chassis tube - section of flexible piping at exhaust port end. Chain-guard on upper & lower run of primary chain. Primary chain oil supplied by its own light alloy tank."


    This highly-individual little racing rocket's design was painstakingly well-considered and well detailed, Francis Beart maximising the performance potential of the small half-litre engine by minimising weight, frontal area and aerodynamic drag. He produced the first of his 500cc Cooper Mark VII-derived cars in 1953 using parts supplied by the Cooper Car Company of Surbiton, and first tested that car at Goodwood in March 1953. Beart-Cooper drivers included Alan Brown and future Vanwall Formula 1 star Stuart Lewis-Evans. Brown won in the original car at Goodwood, setting fastest lap at 82.44mph, and Lewis-Evans was also successful. As recorded in the documentation file a Beart-Cooper known as the Mk VIIA was driven by the legendary Stirling Moss during 1954, winning at Silverstone (twice), the Nürburgring, Aintree (twice) and at Oulton Park, while also adding two 2nd-place finishes at Brands Hatch and Goodwood.

    Sir Stirling recalled: "Beart and Ray Petty were most capable engineers, and I raced their ultra-light special eight times in 1954. When it had first appeared the Beart-Cooper's megaphone exhaust was welded to the chassis to eliminate vibration...when I drove it at Aintree in May '54 we used a special new Robin Jackson cylinder head - another famous name in the British tuning world. It carried three spark plugs but we only used two of them with dual ignition. Its new exhaust position meant we had to run a second megaphone , while leaving the original disconnected but still of course welded to the frame. This complicated-looking twin-exhaust 500 puzzled many people, and it was the quickest I ever raced, but also, as far as I was concerned, the end of the 500 line.

    "I drove my last 500cc race in it at Aintree on October 2, 1954, when I was able to win again and shared fastest lap with new star Jim Russell. In all I had run (500s) in over 80 events, and had won over 50 of them - more than I could ever have dreamed possible that distant day in 1948 when I had first driven my (then) brand-new Cooper-JAP on the unfinished estate (roads) at Chippenham...".

    Sir Stirling Moss went on to Grand Prix and Mille Miglia-winning stardom with Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Vanwall, Cooper and Lotus, his Beart-Cooper or a sister car then being campaigned by Les Leston in 1955 followed by Cliff Davis in 1956 - both of them well-remembered today as two of the most colourful characters on the British racing scene.

    Acquired by the Forshaw Collection from Peter Wigglesworth in the mid-1980s (in exchange for a Lagonda Rapier), the car is believed to have last run competitively at an HSCC meeting in July 1982. As evidenced within the documentation file accompanying this Lot, this interestingly highly-modified and distinctively 'different' 500cc Formula 3 car promises potentially competitive racing back on circuit within the Historic fraternity.
Contacts
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
c. 1953 BEART-COOPER-JAP Mk VIIA 500cc FORMULA 3 RACING SINGLE-SEATER  Chassis no. 52 7 49
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