Page 1 of 2 Next >> Following a long motorcycle and car racing career, C.T. 'Tommy' Atkins began fielding cars for others during the second half of the 1950s. He usually entered Cooper sports cars and single seaters, which were prepared and at times even built up from components by his longtime mechanic Harry Pearce for the likes of Bruce McLaren, Jack Brabham and Roy Salvadori.
Ahead of the 1964 season, Atkins and Pearce embarked on their most ambitious project yet as they ordered a Cooper T61M Monaco for Roy Salvadori to race. This was the ultimate development of a long line of mid-engined Cooper sports racers, specifically adapted for use with a rumbling American V8. It was the same chassis as used by Carroll Shelby for his mighty King Cobras, which were powered by Ford V8s.
Atkins had an altogether more exotic engine in mind for his Cooper; Maserati's latest quad-cam V8. One of just five built, the five-litre, all-aluminium unit was more commonly found in the front-engined Maserati Tipo 151s. Equipped with four massive, twin-choke Weber carburettors, the beast of an engine produced well over 400 bhp. Atkins had managed to secure the V8 thanks to Salvadori's earlier success with his Maserati four-cylinder engined Coopers. It was mated to a Colotti Type 37, five-speed gearbox, which was also sourced from Italy.
Just like several of Atkins' earlier Coopers, the T61 was actually delivered in pieces for Pearce to build into a complete car himself. There were undoubtedly fiscal reasons for this arrangement but in this specific case, it also allowed Pearce to make the necessary adjustments to fit the unusual engine properly into the chassis. Among the most obvious changes was a larger radiator, which required a unique hump in the front bodywork to clear it and the mandatory spare tire. Page 1 of 2 Next >>