1969 Cooper-Chevrolet T90 Formula A/5000 Single-Seater
To be offered at Bonhams' Bond Street Sale on 1st December 2018. Estimate: £ 115,000 - 135,000. Please visit Bonhams' website for further information.
The Cooper Car Co's Last-Built Single-Seater. The Ex-Peter Rehl Daytona Road Race of Champions-winning
1969 Cooper-Chevrolet T90 Formula A/5000 Racing Single-Seater
Chassis no. F1C/3/69
*Final Cooper Single Seater model
*One of only three cars built
*Period race winning career, including 'Road Race of Champions'
This remarkable Formula A/5000 Cooper-Chevrolet has tremendous historic significance in that it is the very last single-seater competition car ever to be built by the legendary Cooper Car Company in its late-period home factory at Canada Road, Byfleet, Surrey in the south-east of England.
It is the last of only three Formula A/5000 5-litre Cooper T90s constructed for 1969, two of which exhibited at that January's Racing Car Show in London, neither of which initially sold there. The design was based around a robust light-alloy-skinned monocoque hull derived from Cooper's contemporary T86B Formula 1 chassis. While the prototype T90 'F1C/1/68' was subsequently campaigned in three late-year British Formula 5000 rounds by Chris Warwick-Drake – later passing to Andrew Goodfellow for hill-climbing in 1972 – the second chassis 'F1C/2/69' would only become active in 1970, in the hands of Aston Martin development engineer/driver Peter Hawtin who sadly crashed fatally in his car at Oulton Park in September, 1971.
Meanwhile this now exquisitely rebuilt, third and last Cooper-Chevrolet T90 – chassis 'F1C/3/69' – became the only one to find an immediate home. It was with American Cooper enthusiast – and already well-known driver of an always well-prepared Formula B Cooper single-seater – Peter Rehl. He contested not only Continental Championship Formula A (the US equivalent of 5-litre British, European, Antipodean and South African Formula 5000) but also a busy programme of more minor 'club-level' US events. At the National level he not only won two frontline races, at Lime Rock and Bryar, but also dominated the end of season SCCA Championship Run-Offs at Daytona International Speedway.
The frontline racing record of Peter Rehl's Cooper-Chevrolet T90 now offered here is as follows:
July 6, 1969 – SCCA National, Lime Rock – Peter Rehl – Cooper-Chevrolet T90 – FIRST
July 20, 1969 – Badger '200', Elkhart Lake - Peter Rehl – Cooper-Chevrolet T90 – 7th
August 2, 1969 – Schaefer Grand Prix, Lime Rock - Peter Rehl – Cooper-Chevrolet T90 – 9th
August 31, 1969 – SCCA National, Bryar Motorsports Park - Peter Rehl – Cooper-Chevrolet T90 – FIRST
September 1, 1969 – Lime Rock Grand Prix - Peter Rehl – Cooper-Chevrolet T90 – 7th
September 7, 1969 – Ste Jovite (Canada) - Peter Rehl – Cooper-Chevrolet T90 – Retired '27th'
November 29, 1969 – Road Race of Champions, Daytona - Peter Rehl – Cooper-Chevrolet T90 – FIRST
April 19, 1970 – Riverside Grand Prix - Peter Rehl – Cooper-Chevrolet T90 – 24th
When he advertised the car for sale in 1971 Peter Rehl amusingly derided the US West Coast-based Formula A opposition that he had faced, for claiming 500bhp or more from their Chevrolet engines as tuned for them by such specialists as Al Bartz and Traco Engineering. His Cooper had simply blown them all away during the Daytona run-offs which he had won so handsomely.
In new hands 'F1C/3/69 – the last-ever 'real' Cooper – subsequently contested several National events and one more professional Formula 5000 race before beginning a long sojourn in a private collection in eastern Massachusetts. Once acquired by the present vendors, this evocative and potent racing Cooper has benefited from extensive yet sensitive restoration, respectful to its unique history. Those who contributed craftsmanship, experience and detail knowledge to the project not only included original owners Peter Rehl and Dick Yagami, Pat Prince of Prince Racing, John Grubb at J&J Racing, Phil Harris at TrueChoice and Bill McCurdy of Williams Racing, but also Bob McKee of McKee Engineering and original Cooper Car Co specialist Tony Whitburn who led this car's original build at Canada Road, Byfleet back in 1969.
The seller reports that the car has been run infrequently post restoration, and subsequently carefully 'pickled'/drained of fluids such that it is ready for its next outing. Accompanying the car are its original wheels, which might serve as decoration than use, and the original alloy nose piece, itself an appealing item.
The Cooper Car Company's final closure was announced on May 22, 1969. It had been a terrific ride, and Cooper cars today are still campaigned very competitively in Historic Formula 1, 2 and 3, Formula B and Atlantic, plus sports-racing car form almost every weekend somewhere in the world. This Road Race of Champions-winning Cooper-Chevrolet T90 has been beautifully restored to rejoin that venerable coterie.