If you Google … Collingrove Hillclimb Records … and follow the prompts, you will find some interesting stuff there showing how dominant Coopers and Cooper copies were in the early hillclimb days. Check out the following list of ftds made at the SA Championship meetings from 1952 to 1963.
1952 John Crouch, Cooper JAP, 39.95s
1953 Reg Hunt, Hunt Vincent, 39.70s
1954 Reg Hunt, Hunt Vincent, 39.70s
1955 Bill Patterson, Cooper JAP, 3.02s.
1956 Bill Patterson, Cooper JAP, 39.02s
1957 Bill Patterson, Cooper JAP, 40.02s
1958 Bruce Walton, Walton Special, 37.18s
1959 Bruce Walton, Walton Special, 38.18s
1960 Murray Trenberth, Vincent Special, 37.07s
1961 Bruce Walton, Walton Cooper, 36.86s
1962 Bruce Walton, Walton Cooper, 36 .87s
1963 Bruce Walton Walton Cooper, 36 .50s.
These stats show that air-cooled cars were championship winners for 11 straight years beginning in March 1952 when John Crouch recorded 39.95 seconds in a Mk5 Cooper JAP, until 1963, when Bruce Walton got down to (or up in) 36.50 seconds.
By way of interest, this year an ageing cherry-grower revisited Collingrove with an 1100 Mk5 and a 500 Mk6 Cooper to challenge those times. He failed dismally. The 500 struggled to do 42’s, and only by putting the younger specialist Collingrove MG driver John Payne (photo right) in the 1100 Mk5 was a very respectable 37.35s achieved .
Sadly, once the happy hunting ground for Coopers, Collingrove hillclimb entries are now dominated 95% by touring cars. So these days there are no more crackling exhausts. No more skinny little cars with fold up wheels disappearing over the skyline. No more blue burnt haze of Castrol R to make the true believers breathe in deep …. and smile ……and then nod knowingly.
Which is sad really … DG.
Above: the Trenberth Vincent Special