AHRS 3504 - the Jackie Cooper 100 S

This 100 S was originally restored in 1989 for Bill Wood by Fourintune Garage in Cedarburg, WI. This was the second of four 100 S Healeys that Fourintune has done and the only green 100 S.

The 100 S was built in February of 1955 for the 12-hour Sebring race for movie star, Jackie Cooper. It was painted "spruce green," which was a standard BN1 and BN2 color but unusual for a 100 S.

Cooper had raced a standard 100 (also Spruce green) with some success on the east coast in SCCA races. He was a close friend of Donald Healey and was one of the drivers who helped establish speed records at the Salt Flats - he narrated the Bonneville films for Austin of England.

The photo above is the car at the Meadowbrook Hall Concours where it was competing for the Peter Helck trophy in 1990.

Bill Wood was able to correspond with Cooper prior to Fourintune's restoration - these old photos and notes are from his files.

 

 

In a memo dated 11/30 to Bill Wood, Cooper writes," In Sebring faulty wiring caused battery failure & I had to push the car over a mile!.Actually, I had more success with a stock 100 and a personally modified 100 in 1954. Ferrari came out with a 2.80 in our class in 1955 & whipped our ass. My 100 S was one of the first four to reach this country in "55, so I never saw a dash-plaque."

The dash plaque he refers to is the one that states that the car is a "replica" of the special test car raced at Sebring in March of 1954. In 1955, the word, "replica" was used to describe a car of the same specification. Wood opted to put the plaque on the dash during the restoration.

 

 

 

 


 
 

 

 

Here the special test car, #29 or NOJ 391, is adjusted during a pit stop at the 1954 Sebring race. The Healey finished third overall and was driven by Lance Macklin and George Huntoon. This is the car that Tom Kovacs discovered "under" the body of AHSR 3804 currently owned by Fred Hunter. It was the inspiration for the 100 S proto-type that is discussed in the "featured restorations" section.

 
 

 

The Cooper/Jackson-Moore team is one of the seven 100S entries shown on the 1955 Sebring Entry list. Other drivers included: Bill Cook, R. Fergus, Stirling Moss, Fred Allen, Wm. Brewster, and J. Fergusson. The partial list shows three 100 models in class D as well in addition to a Nash-Healey "Lemans" in class B. The book, "12 Hours of Sebring," by Ken Breslauer lists the Moss/Macklin 100 S as the top Healey, 6th overall and 5th in class D. The Cooper car is shown as finishing 41st overall and 14th in class D - no doubt due in part to the electrical problems he mentioned in his memo to Wood.

 

 

These photos and racing records were sent to Bill Wood by Cooper prior the restoration.

 
 
 
The photo above shows Cooper behind the wheel of #42 with co-driver, Roy Jackson-Moore. The perspex windshield is removed from the frame and a Brooklands screen mounted for the driver.  

Above is a photo of Jackie with his wife giving him either a congratulatory or send off kiss.  

 

 
 

This is a photocopy of the technical inspection for the 100 S that Cooper drove in the 1955 Sebring race. Note that a "punch" does not appear next to the items that the 100 S did not have, windshield wipers, glass, and bumpers.

The floor carpets must refer to the rubber matting that the S models had fixed to the floors. A safety belt is shown - perhaps only one for the driver side?

The Breslauer book, "12 Hours of Sebring" notes that the 1955 Sebring 12 Hours was one of the most controversial ever. With a field of 80 cars starting, the race became a battle between Ferrari and Jaguar, with Maserati close behind. "At the finish, the Ferrari was mistakenly declared the winner. Then the Jaguar was called to victory lane but had run out of gas out on its "victory lap." Protests were filed and 10 days later the AAA officials declared the Jaguar the winner by a margin of 25.4 seconds. Although one of the closest races in endurance racing history, the Jaguar officially led all but one lap the entire race."

The Maserati 300S are listed as third and fourth place finishes.

 

 

 
 

 

Joseph Herson who owned a dealership named Manhattan supplied this photo of Cooper in another 100 S to Robert Griffin. He wrote, "This is a publicity blurb of Jackie Cooper and the S type he drove which probably belonged to Austin. It certainly was maintained by their people..we housed his vehicle on at least one occasion when he came in for a local race."

This photo must have been taken quickly near a busy road (perhaps through Central Park?) without much thought being given to the background. There is a woman with small children waiting to cross the street to the right, and many benches lining the roadway. Can anyone identify this spot?

This S is painted the standard colors of white over lobelia and has the persplex "low" windshield in place. Notice that Cooper had worn driving goggles for the trip and just lowered them to his neck for the photo.


 
 

 

The Cooper S came to Fourintune in 1989 somewhat assembled and quite complete. Owner, Bill Wood, had reunited the car and its engine during 1976 after running an ad in Road & Track. First came the call about an engine, then months later a 100 S owner called about the car missing that same engine. Both components were still in the New York City area. Previous owners raced extensively on the east coast and as far north as Canada this car.

 

Here Tom Kovacs is working on the polished aluminum "false firewall." The chassis of 100 S cars were steel but fit with alloy superstructure and painted silver. According to Roger Menadue, who ran the Donald Healey competition works, this silver was a special anti-corrosion paint from WWII aircraft. It was very dull but seemed effective. The starter solenoid (far right on firewall) was located where a mechanic could access it easily - saving time during pit stops during the endurance races of Sebring and LeMans.

 


 
 

With the valve cover removed you can see the Mallory distributor that Jackie Cooper had requested. Cooper had raced a conventional Healey painted Spruce Green prior to owning #3504. The four-branched exhaust manifold is unique to the 100 S. The factory's attempt with headers was abandoned after they shatter cracked during a race. The 100 S cars were fit with a two-blade fan and were not prone to overheating problems. The generator is a special, smaller type.

A close-up photo of the pipes shows an original 100 S exhaust system fit with a Burgess muffler. The two pipes exit on the driver's side just underneath the seat, making the driver's side in this right hand drive the "hot seat." The gas welding of the pipe to muffler raises the muffler, creating better ground clearance. The brake master shown here at top right is another special feature on the 100 S cars.

 

 

 

The two fuel pick-ups on the oversize gas tank. The competition cars were fit with two fuel pumps. One pick-up was higher than the other so that you could not run out of gas on the track. Drivers had to switch to the reserve pump and then come in for re-fueling. The 23-gallon tank is so large that the spare tire must be stowed behind the seats rather than inside the trunk.



 
 

 

The seats in a 100 S do not have adjustable sliding tracks. Only the passenger seat could be tipped forward allowing access to the spare tire. The interior of the car was green,a standard color for the production BN1 and BN2 cars. Note that the transmission tunnel is covered in vinyl and floors were fit with a patterned black rubber material rather than a carpet set. This rubber material had various patterns over the course of the 100 S production. The Derrington steering wheel, believed to be original to the car, is the type drilled with a series of holes rather than the slotted style.

This hand made air deflector was unique to the 100 S cars and one of the many modifications designed by Roger Menadue who ran the competition department. Roger knew just how to make these from a sheet of aluminum and did so for us to fit on the #29 car a few years later. The oil cooler filter assembly (lower right) is from a Hippo truck. The standard location could not be used due to the exhaust. The oil pan's capacity was increased to 20 imperial pints by extending the forward end of the pan.

 
 

 

Final assembly of the Cooper S prior the Meadow Brook Hall Concours in 1990 where the Healey competed for the Peter Helck Trophy in the Race Car Circle. The distinctive oval grill has the "S" flash fit to the right side. The lenses under the headlights were not directionals, but running lights. Some current owners opt to have both front and rear running lights wired as directionals for safety purposes. This option maintains the original appearance of the car from the exterior.

 

 

This engine compartment photo is from the UK sales group that represented the Italian owner in 2002. He had raced the car in several international rallies including the Targa Floria and the Mille Miglia. The "accordian" style radiator hose is proper for the 100 S and rather difficult to come by. Sales information indicated that the Italian had rebuilt the engine and transmission prior one of the competition events.

 
 

Here the 100 S is admired at the Sunday car show held on the racetrack at Lime Rock in 1990. The USA/British Challenge Series was racing at Lime Rock that weekend - racing is not allowed on Sundays due to an ancient ordinance invoked by a nearby church.

 

 

 
 

 

 

In the January 1991 CHATTER magazine, Dick Lunney reports on the Cooper 100 S and
the 1966 Sebring/LeMans Sprite that were both owned by Wood at the time.

 
 

 

The Italian owner sold the Cooper S to a Chicago collector in 2002. Triple S Racing bought the car in 2003 and actively campaigned the Healey with vintage race groups on the east coast. The car raced at Road America several times, most recently at the 2007 Kohler International Challenge Race in July.

 
Triple S behind the wheel at
Lime Rock in 2004.
  The race car concours in downtown Elkhart Lake fills
the street with both cars and people.

 

 

Featured in the AHCA 2009 Calendar for the month of April, the car now is owned by
W. Story of California who plans to use the car for tours and vintage rallies.
Photo by Reid Trummel.

 

 

 

 
 

 

From Cooper's autobiography, "Please Don't Shoot My Dog" the caption reads "The race car driver. It all started in England."

 

Another photo from his autobiography: "The auto racing team at Sebring, 1955, with (L to R) Lance Macklin, Roy Jackson-Moore, and Stirling Moss. When you start being too careful, it's time to quit." That is definitely not the Cooper S in the photo!

 

 
 

 

This photo just appeared in July 2009 in Healey Marque. These photos were supplied by Scott Kiebiski of Canada. The 100 S registry records show that Cooper's 100 S had left front damage at races in Edenvale Canada on June 11, 1955.

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Another photo of same race - interesting dark visor piece on helmet! An Austin Healey banner hung on the fencing with spectators close by.

 
 

 

The Cooper S at speed with Jackie behind the wheel after the crash damage has been clipped away!

 
 

 

Racing as number 13, the Cooper S takes a corner in a race after the damage was done.

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Auto Sportsman of the month Jackie Cooper, one of racing’s avid enthusiasts, shows strain after the tortuous 12 hour 1955 Sebring event. Driving an Austin-Healey Jackie placed 44 out of a starting field of 84 cars.

 
 

 

It has been over 20 years since Fourintune Garage restored the Cooper S for Bill Wood. Since that time, the car has had a busy career with various owners who actively showed and raced the car.

Raced in Europe by an Italian owner and then later competing on the vintage circuit in the USA, the car has suffered a few mishaps which required the various bumps and bruises to be repaired by whoever owned the car at the time. In addition to matching the Spruce green paint here and there, racing modifications were also done, some of which still remain. The car wears the patina that only competition can create – continuing the legacy that Jackie Cooper began in 1954!

The Cooper S sells at RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2015 sale. A west coast collector was the final bidder on the Healey which sold for just over one million dollars with buyer’s premium.

Cooper S