I have long held a firm belief that you can only paint your car red if it’s from Italy: Corvettes in red? No. Porsches? Ew. Ferrari? Maserati? Bandini? Now we’re talking. Red just always screams “trying too hard” to me. But for some reason, and I don’t know if it’s the sexy Italian bodylines or just being used to seeing red Ferraris, but once you’ve decided to go all out on an Italian machine, the red just works.
This Cooper-Monaco, though, has me thinking that it must be the slinky curves and not the country of origin that does the trick. Because this little racer has more beautiful curves than it knows what to do with and looks marvelous in red. I love everything about this 1959 Cooper-Monaco. The Cooper team simply took its game-changing Formula 1 car and widened her to accommodate a passenger, wrapped the frame in this marvelous aluminum skin, and called it a day. In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about “race track technology for the road”, but it so often falls flat or, worse yet, was more a function of the marketing department than the engineering team.
That is not to say, of course, that this little beauty was a simple road car (although this was still the era when you drove your racecar to the track, knocked out a quick win, and drove her home). She’s a full-blooded racer with the pedigree to prove it. This example, Chassis CM.5.59, at the hands of Colin Davis, won her debut at the 1959 Grand Prix Messina. Sadly for this example, it was all downhill from there. She claimed a 5th place at the 1960 GP Cuba (again with Colin Davis piloting), and DNFed at the 1960 Targa Florio.
Thankfully, though, this was not the true end for this marvelous little racing car, and today the car offers some excellent perks for the vintage racer. Race engineer Carroll Smith (of Engineer to Win fame) converted the car, in period, to coil-over suspension. Later owner, Porsche IMSA racing champion, Bob Akin, converted the powerplant from her original Maserati 200SI to a Coventry-Climax/Hewland drivetrain.
Today, CM.5.59 is ready to race and available from Connecticut restoration specialists and dealer, Automotive Restorations, Inc, coupled with their vintage racing preparation service, it’s one-stop shopping for one amazing summer racing season. She’s a fantastic little racer and I can certainly think of worse ways to spend $225,000. More details on the dealer’s info sheet.
Thanks to the mighty Hemmings Blog for pointing this beauty out.