In 1952 MG tuner Lionel Leonard replaced his first Cooper MG registered JOY 500 with a new one, chassis number #4/4/52 registered KOY 500 which is featured today.
Peter Morely, who completed a restoration of the car in 2008 tells me the chassis appears to have much in common with the earliest rear engined Cooper 500 Formula 3 cars and suggests it is likely that it was based on a used chassis. Doug Nye, author of Cooper Cars, kindly informed me that the T series numbering system was applied retrospectively to this era of Cooper, it is accepted in some circles that when Lionel bought both JOY 500 and KOY 500, in kit form, that they were both in T14 spec although Cooper would have referred to them simply as Cooper MG’s.
The MG XPAG motor, bored out to 1,467cc @ 91 cui, drives the rear wheels through an MG gearbox both of which would have been sourced from the contemporaneous MG TC / TD/ Y series models. Lionel drove KOY 500 to a second place finish on it’s debut at Snetterton in May 1952 and finished the season with a win at RAF Tarrant Rushton in Dorset.
Bristol’s car dealing Horace ‘the Gonzalez of the West Country’ Gould bought KOY 500 for the 1953 season and by fitting it with Mk 1 Cooper Bristol suspension and twin leading edge brake shoes brought the car up to what in some circles is regarded as T21 specification, although again this designation is entirely retrospective. Highlights of Horace’s season included a win in the Queensferry Sprint and 2nd place finish in the Sheena Gray Trophy race at Charterhall.
According to Roger Clark Horace advertised #4/4/52 in Autosport as “THE FASTEST COOPER MG IN THE COUNTRY”. Brian Naylor bought the car and shared #4/4/52 with Ian Davidson in 1954. Brian drove in most events recording a win at Snetterton and another at Silverstone, while Ian drove the car in just four events and podiumed in each with wins at the Barbon Hillclimb and Croft.
When the restoration of #4/4/52 was completed in 2008 the car was taken to Monaco and competed in the historic meeting in which it finished 6th. KOY 500 is seen in these photo’s at last years Autumn Classic at Castle Combe with John Paul Mason at the wheel.
Roger Clark discerned from the much missed David McKinney’s note books that “approximately 20 Cooper MG kits were sold”.
My thanks to D-Type, Tim Murray, Roger Clark, Doug Nye and Peter Morley at The Nostalgia Forum for helping me with today’s post.
Thanks for joining me on this “Fastest In The Country” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for “Maserati Monday” tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !