Conception, a friend of mine used to say, “is the biggest word in the English language.” His aphorism came to mind when I learned of the recent passing of John Cooper. It was never my privilege to meet Cooper, but the cars he and his father, Charles, created were central to the motorsports landscape of my youth and lie at the very core of our concept of racing cars today.
Had the Cooper team not existed, would the great mid-engined revolution of the 1950s-1960s still have happened? Most probably, eventually. But the historical fact is, it was this tiny, unlikely band of “blacksmiths” (as they were sometimes derisively called) that did transform the shape of world auto racing.