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John Pringle and his Coopers


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#1 Rupertlt1

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 14:49

John Pringle (2,014 Cooper) of Bangor, County Down, FTD Altidore Hill Climb, Sat 5 September 1959.

"A POTENT little Ferrari-red racing car, the engine alone in which costs as much as any new de luxe saloon, will hold the centre of the stage at Knockagh to-morrow, where the Ulster Automobile Club hold hold their annual hill climb. The model in question is John Pringle's 2-litre Formula 1 Cooper-Climax, for which Pringle, a 40-year-old Bangor motor engineer, has just refused an offer of £2,500. The engine of the car, a beautiful example of British craftsmanship, is valued at £1,300."

Belfast Telegraph, Friday 30 September 1960

Entered Kirkistown, 8 Oct 1960.

"he [Pringle] will be going out in the two-and-a-half litre Climax-engined Cooper, which replaces the previous two-litre, sold to a driver in—of all places—Hong Kong!"

Belfast Telegraph, Tuesday, March 14, 1961

"Pringle had competed with a succession of F2 and F1 Coopers (including the ex-Moss/Walker 1958 Argentine GP winning car). By 1961, he was winning just about everything there was to win in Irish events with a 1959-type Formula 1 Cooper, powered by the full 2,495 c.c. Coventry Climax FPF engine, and the Craigantlet record was not unexpected."

Uphill Racers by Chris Mason, Page 164.

So what about the Cooper, sold over the winter of 1960-1961, allegedly gone to Hong Kong?

Arthur Owen started the Macau Grand Prix from the front row in 1962 in a Cooper F2.

M.J. Cook competed in the Malaysia Grand Prix (held in Singapore), 14 April 1963, in a Cooper-Climax. (Arthur Owen was also at this event.)

 

What can we make of the history of these cars?

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 18 February 2020 - 16:56.


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#2 Peter Morley

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 16:36

The 2 litre car Pringle sold in winter 1960-61 was the ex-Rob Walker T41 F2-1-56.

David McKinney was unaware of its subsequent history but he suggested it might be the car that Ken Moore had in the 70s, then Bill Coombs, to Gerry Hann & Allan Miles - identified as F2-2-57.

 

Its 2½ litre replacement seems to have also been ex-Walker - F2-7-57.



#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 21:32

As I recall, this car...

 

coopercatalinalendeaton.jpg

 

...was said to be the Moss/Argentine car.

 

This photo was taken at Catalina Park in 1961 and the driver is Len Deaton. Later the car was owned by Ray Heffernan, if I have the story right, and he was thrown out of it to his death at Oran Park in '64 or '65.



#4 cooper997

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Posted 19 February 2020 - 05:05

This is a brief rundown of the Brian Foley (Irish journalist, not Aussie racer) 12/4/63 Autosport feature.

John Pringle – King of the Irish hills by B Foley. Includes photo of his 1963 Cooper Climax 2.5. First started competing in 1957 with MGA and ended season with ‘curious’ 1098cc front engined Cooper Climax. 1958 he used ex Rob Walker Cooper Climax F2. Then in 1959 another Walker car – ex Moss Argentine GP winner. New Cooper 2,2 for 1960 with the engine from the previous car. For 1961 that chassis was given a 2.5 Climax and rear suspension modernised. Used in 1962 too and broke various records. He announced he would run certain English HC Championship for 1963 but could not stay away from his motor business at Bangor, Co Down for lengthy periods. The new 1963 car is like a Cooper FJ with 2.5 Climax. Painted red and a credit to John and mechanic, Jim Martin. Also mentions in a separate feature on the same page,  Dan McAllister another Irish hillclimber who had an ex Pringle Cooper - both p504

 

The earliest meeting I have Len Deaton in the Argentine chassis is March 1961 Longford meeting, even though Mike Kable's piece in the March 1961 Warwick Farm programme states that would be the first meeting for Deaton. Proof of him being at the Longford meeting appears in the 7/4/61 Autosport Longford report. The #31 Deaton Cooper just out of Mountford Corner is just seconds from being lapped by the big Coopers of Brabham & Patterson.  Deaton rode motorcycles prior to the Cooper. He advertised the Cooper in 1964, having been using a Brabham chassis for sometime before.

 

The incident involving the Argentine chassis and death of Ray Heffernan was the November 1966 Oran Park meeting.

 

I was sent the crash photo by an Elfin enthusiast, some years ago. But don't appear to have it on file (easy to find). Not that I'd post it here.

 

Stephen



#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 February 2020 - 11:53

I have four different cars photographed at what appears to be that same meeting...

 

Phil Boot in the Cooper BMW, Jack Myers in the Thunderbird and George Murray in the Austin 7 Special. These cars all ran in the same race at what appears to have been the second Catalina meeting, a meeting which was postponed (weather?) and was reported in the September AMS.



#6 Rupertlt1

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Posted 19 February 2020 - 14:43

Long Kesh races, U.A.C., 17 September 1960

"One of the fastest cars appearing will be the Formula II Cooper-Climax, driven by Dan McAlister, of Shankill. County Dublin." Cooper 1,475 c.c.

McAlister at Enniskerry Hill Climb, (1,475 Cooper), 3rd Allcomers, 1961

 

RGDS RLT



#7 cooper997

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 03:00

I have four different cars photographed at what appears to be that same meeting...

 

Phil Boot in the Cooper BMW, Jack Myers in the Thunderbird and George Murray in the Austin 7 Special. These cars all ran in the same race at what appears to have been the second Catalina meeting, a meeting which was postponed (weather?) and was reported in the September AMS.

 

The second Catalina was meant to be 4/6/61, the weather indeed creating a problem. Fog meant the meeting was postponed a few weeks to 9/7/61. However the original June programme was re-used with a rubber stamp stating "MEETING POSTPONED TO SUNDAY, 9TH JULY 1961" over the original cover date. So it really depends whether those entered for the June meeting were still available to turn up in July.

 

In the programme Deaton, Boot, Myers and Murray are listed as numbers 43, 25, 3 & 91. Same again for the 3rd Catalina meeting of 27/8/61. Only difference to June/July appears to be that Jack Myers had to run in the separate 1101 to 1500cc Racing Cars event. All others ran in the under 1100cc event.

 

There was also the 19/11/61 Catalina meeting but I don't have a programme to check the numbers.

 

Stephen



#8 MarkBisset

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 04:34

Thanks to a tip from Stephen that the Cooper ran with a Ford Anglia engine as an FJ in Australia for a while, see this results listing of Lens performances in 1961 and early 1962- did he sell at that point?

http://www.australia...m/fjhistory.doc

M

#9 cooper997

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 04:36

Brian Foley's report in the 18/9/59 Autosport

1959-Altidore-HC-TNF.jpg

 

Stephen



#10 cooper997

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 04:57

Thanks to a tip from Stephen that the Cooper ran with a Ford Anglia engine as an FJ in Australia for a while, see this results listing of Lens performances in 1961 and early 1962- did he sell at that point?

http://www.australia...m/fjhistory.doc

M

 

Mark, (currently) earliest I'm aware is Len advertised the Cooper in September 1963 AMS for £650, and still trying to sell by May 1964 AMS at £600.

 

He crashed his Brabham at Catalina late in 1963 (likely November meeting, if my note is accurate) and decided to hang up his helmet. The same note mentions he had a Lotus 23 also.

 

Stephen.



#11 Catalina Park

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 08:48

The second Catalina was meant to be 4/6/61, the weather indeed creating a problem. Fog meant the meeting was postponed a few weeks to 9/7/61. However the original June programme was re-used with a rubber stamp stating "MEETING POSTPONED TO SUNDAY, 9TH JULY 1961" over the original cover date. So it really depends whether those entered for the June meeting were still available to turn up in July.

 

In the programme Deaton, Boot, Myers and Murray are listed as numbers 43, 25, 3 & 91. Same again for the 3rd Catalina meeting of 27/8/61. Only difference to June/July appears to be that Jack Myers had to run in the separate 1101 to 1500cc Racing Cars event. All others ran in the under 1100cc event.

 

There was also the 19/11/61 Catalina meeting but I don't have a programme to check the numbers.

 

Stephen

I have the November meeting programme, three of them ran with the same numbers, the exception was Boot who is not listed.



#12 cooper997

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 02:47

Michael, I had a distant memory that you have that November 1961 Catalina programme, so thanks for checking it out and confirming the numbers.

 

Stephen



#13 cooper997

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 07:13

5/7/63 Autosport - John Pringle and Dan McAllister at 1/6/63 Mount Venus HC

 

1963-Mount-Venus-HC-TNF.jpg

 

Stephen



#14 john medley

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 00:39

The ex-Len Deaton/ Argentine GP Cooper hung on the wall at John and Brian Schroder's Town and Country Engineering, Parramatta (Sydney, NSW) for years., and was in fact the first Cooper I ever sat in.



#15 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 22:00

One time in Sydney I boarded a local train and went out to see John Schroder and to examine his Cooper. The frame and the matching surviving body panels had many 'Alf Francis' features which lent credence to the Len Deaton and Frank Gardner accounts of the car's intervening story. Poor Ray Heffernan was unbelievably unlucky to have lost his life in an incident which left his car barely damaged...

 

Today, most sympathetically restored as close as possible to its 1958 Walker form, it is truly cherished within the Revs/Collier Collection in Naples, Florida.

 

DCN



#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 10:53

The crash was indeed extraordinary...

 

I didn't see it. I was there that day but I missed out on seeing both of the fatal crashes. I'm pretty sure from the description given to me by Glyn Scott that I'm glad I didn't see the Marchiori crash, and I know from the circumstances that I would have been very nervous watching the cars coming around and expecting one of them to hit the Vee which was left there ready to be clobbered. It was a nasty, wasteful and avoidable accident.

 

The Heffernan crash was at the entry to the same corner and I did see his body lying there beside the track in his white overalls. He was more or less being ignored for a while as people went to lift the other car off its driver, who was essentially unhurt as far as I know.

 

It was a very low ebb for a car which achieved what it did in Argentina. Hanging on the Schroders' wall was hardly glamorous too.

 

And thinking about it, I'm not sure it would have qualified for Formula Junior rules, or would it?

 

 

 

.


Edited by Ray Bell, 23 February 2020 - 10:53.


#17 MarkBisset

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 22:45

Revs/Collier brief spiel about the car, worth a Florida detour to see this collection!

https://revsinstitut...-cooper-climax/

#18 Allen Brown

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 23:01

I’m there on Saturday!

#19 MarkBisset

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 04:25

Make sure you take plenty of happy snaps to share with us Allen- it will be a full day, some truly wonderful stuff in their mix.

Who reached the conclusion that the car Len and Frank took to Australia was the Argentine GP winner? Or was it a communal effort?

Edited by MarkBisset, 26 February 2020 - 04:25.