Lot 249 - 1951 Cooper 500 Mk. V – Goodwood Eligible
|Estimate||£28,000 - £38,000|
|Result||Sold - £33,600|
Ordered new by Ken Wharton from the Cooper Works, MKV/19/51 was delivered with Norton and Jap engine mounts for £465 on the 12th January 1951.Ken Wharton competed in off-road trials, hill climbs and rallying and also raced sports cars and single seaters. He began racing in the new National 500cc Formula in his own special, and later acquired this Cooper amongst others. His World Championship Grand Prix debut was at the 1952 Swiss event where he started from 13th position on the grid and finished 4th. He participated in a total of 15 World Championship Grand Prix. He won the British Hill Climb Championship every year from 1951 to 1954, and remains the only driver to have won four successive BHCC titles. Other successes included winning the Brighton Speed Trials in 1954, 1955 and 1956. Success in rallies included winning the Tulip Rally in 1949, 1950 and 1952, driving Fords and he also became British Trials Champion. On 4 July 1954, he and Peter Whitehead won the Reims 12-hour race in a Jaguar D-Type. Campaigned by Wharton during 1951, he finished 1st at Castle Combe on the 31st March and recorded a second place at the Freiburg-Schavinsland hill climb in the Black Forest, Germany on 5th August, beaten only by Stirling Moss.
After his untimely death in 1957; injured when his Ferrari Monza crashed in a sports car race at the Ardmore Circuit in New Zealand, the Cooper was sold by Wharton's father to Tommy Norton, a fellow competitor and subsequently to Wally Cuff and competed under the infamous 'Hells Hammers' banner. Subsequently it came into the ownership of Dr Flanagan followed in the late 1960s by Harry Heathcote where it was laid up for two decades before passing into the ownership of Ken Edwards. During Edwards tenure the car was lovingly refreshed while retaining the patina of years of racing.
The Cooper competed throughout the 1990s as documented by a RAC Competition log book and VSCC eligibility document including Goodwood in 2001, all included in the significant history file. In 2013, the little Cooper passed to its current owner where it has been cherished in a prominent collection for the last 3 years; however we advise to have the car recommissioned before taking to the track. The car retains its original aluminium panels that maintain a wonderful patina, a 500cc Jap engine mated to a Norton gearbox. The cockpit boasts a red vinyl seat with a centrally mounted rev counter and charming hand painted starting instructions on the dash. Goodwood eligible, this is a fantastically original example with exemplary period history and highly appropriate for the many events it can compete in.