Lot 132: 1963-64 Cooper-Chevrolet Racing-Sports Prototype
This is the magnificently brutish, powerful and extremely fast Cooper-Chevrolet which was one of the spectacular stars of the Goodwood Revival Meeting of 2003, when it led the XXXXXX Trophy race in a fierce duel with our Chairman’s Lotus 19 – which ended with our Chairman returning to the pits as a pedestrian, carrying a potted plant from the historic course’s famous chicane…
As new, the Nickey-Chevrolet Cooper was supplied to the USA as a rolling chassis. This chassis serial is recorded in surviving Cooper Car Company chassis records as having been ordered by American former Jaguar racing exponent Jack Ensley, but in fact it appears to have been fulfilling the order of motor racing enthusiast and actor Dan Blocker (who was a considerable International celebrity at the time for his role of Hoss Cartwright in the contemporarily top-rating TV Western series ‘Bonanza’). It is believed that his team crew probably assembled the engine and drivetrain for installation into this chassis, but the work was never completed.
The Chicago-based Nickey-Chevrolet team then acquired the project from Mr Blocker and completed its assembly before running the car in purple livery for driver Skip Hudson who was a very prominent West Coast racing personality, a firm friend of Dan Gurney and manager of his contemporary racing workshop there. Mr Hudson also had International racing experience, as in the Sebring 12-Hours and at Le Mans for example.
During the 1964 season he won in this car at Riverside Raceway in the Californian desert before an accident at Kent Raceway, Washington, damaged the car after a rival King Cobra driven by Bob Holbert spun into the pit lane.
A moulded fibreglass tail section was then made for the car – which is still available today. In later years the car was used in club racing events in addition to its United States Road Racing Championship record, and into the 1980s was eventually registered as a street car in Arizona. The current vendor bought it in Monterey, and its restoration to full Historic racing trim was commenced by the celebrated Cooper specialist Sid Hoole, before being completed by Simon Hadfield. Running barely completed and still with its bodywork unpainted, it won its race at the 2003 Goodwood Revival Meeting, and it performed nobly in other events in which it has been entered.
The 5.7-litre Chevrolet V8 engine is believed to deliver some 550 horsepower, and we are advised that it has completed only two hours running since completion of restoration. This is a proven early-period ‘big-banger’ sports-racing car of enormous presence and charm, and it is provenly an attractive proposition for race organisers of the highest-profile Historic events around the world. In contrast to this Cooper-Chevrolet, its set-sister Ford V8-engined ‘King Cobras’ are common. Old ‘CM4-63’ offered here is a rare beast indeed – and potentially a ferociously competitive one in capable hands.
Important Sports & Competition Motor Cars|
Bonhams, Goodwood Revival, Chichester
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