While not everyone can swing a vintage racing Corvette, Porsche, ALMS machine or high end F1 car, myriad gems such as the MGB’s, Triumphs, Nissan’s, Volvo’s and, the subject of this wallpaper, Austin Coopers, come out to show what a great time one can have with a fast turning small displacement block under the hood. Make no mistake; these small rigs contain just as much driver passion and energy as their bigger track melting cousins.
Strolling the paddock prior to 2011’s US Vintage Grand Prix something caught my eye among all the racing history in prep stages. From under an orange tarp projected the rear end of a bright yellow car sporting what looked like a giant spring windup key. Under the key a sticker showed proudly featuring the following: “All parts falling off this car are of the finest English workmanship.” Anyone else ever own an English car? If so, you can relate.
On the track, Mr. Robert Fairbanks’ bright yellow seemingly spring powered Austin Cooper delights. Small tires, somewhat out of place at speeds seen on the track provide tight cornering as well as stealthy maneuvers. Chassis 9F-SA-H-4475 of this 1962 Austin Cooper stays on the track thanks to Robert’s driving skill as well as efforts of engine builder and carb tuner Bob Repine (nationally known for big block drag and stock), Hugh DeLong (Corvette guy) and Bud Fromme (drag and custom builder). It must be quite a switch for these guys to work on 998 cc after the big stuff! BTW, Robert says his upgraded 997cc to 998cc allows him to harass bug eyed Sprites but not much else. At least the improvement allows him brakes actually capable of stopping the car.
Not only a track driver, Robert and ’62 Austin Cooper participate in Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association events as well as VSCCA sponsored events at Mt. Equinox VT, Hershey, PA and Mt. Washington, NH. Is this any way to treat a ’62 Austin Cooper even if they did have to deliver it to Robert in 1000 pieces on a trailer back in 1989? Keep those mechanic friends close by. “The Italian Job,” action scenes have nothing on this part shedding piece of automobile lore!
See you at the track.