A Seat in the King of Cool’s 1961 Cooper T56 Mark II Formula Junior
Not only did this machine win the Formula Junior European Championship and three SCCA Championships, it was also owned and raced by the King of Cool himself – Steve McQueen. It’s up for sale over at Canepa, meaning it could be yours!
It was campaigned by Team Tyrell for Cooper in 1961 with Tony Maggs at the wheel, and took eight race wins, spending most of the rest of the season on one of the other steps of the podium to ultimately deliver the European Formula Junior Championship.
At the conclusion of the season it was returned to Cooper, who sold it to Steve McQueen. After a stint in Cooper’s race school, McQueen returned to California where he began racing the car. He notched a few wins too, including the Santa Barbara street races, and impressed John Cooper enough to be personally invited for a test drive in Europe.
When the film studios learned of McQueen’s motorsport machinations they stepped in with an ultimatum, and McQueen took the film path that made him such a star, leaving his motorsport until later in life.
The car was then put up for sale and was purchased by Al ‘ Buster’ Brizzard, who won the Pacific Coast Formula B Championhip in it. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s the car changed hands and was continually raced and developed.
In the early 2000s it was purchased again and its new owner commenced a complete restoration back in England at the hands of Hardy Hall Restorations. At this time it was restored to its Tyrrell/McQueen configuration and restored from the ground up to race-ready condition. Anything not up to standard was either replaced, rebuilt or refabricated and original and correct parts and engine were returned to the car.
The car comes with extensive documentation including photographic documentation of the restoration and period photographs, news clippings, invoices, ownership records and correspondence.
This stunning, original and storied machine is eligible for classic race series around the world, and in magnificent, race-ready condition. Check out the full details at Canepa over here.
Images via Canepa