L Perkins - Cooper T52 Junior

Larry pilots his Cooper T52 Junior around Fernandina Beach  in 1966.

"Note my Bell Shorty helmet, cotton driver's suit, gloveless hands, and plenty of dirt from being my own pit crew member. We were sometimes not so sleek in those days. (I wore that very helmet at Pebble Beach last August, with the [Ferrari] GTO....)"

 

from Larry ....

I was there, and I assure you that your historical info is absolutely right on the money.


I raced and taught driver's school in the SCCA Central Florida Region throughout the 1960s. I was friends with Bill Duckworth, George Smith, Gene Beach, and Henry Grady, as well as the Brundage's, and was on hand when the Nardi (with its wonderful steering wheel!) was first being shown around. When the Formcar was created, I nearly bought one of the early serial numbers. but, as I was running a Cooper T52 Junior, I couldn't take on another project. (Having said that, starting in 1964, I obtained and ran the first Ferrari 250 GTO, s/n 3223 GT, for 3 years - talk about a project!)


I had the pleasure of driving Vee's in races from time to time, and I never experienced anything more competitive! It was a real wheel-to-wheel, slicing-and-dicing brand of running from flag to flag. In fact, in the early days, when nearly all Vee's were "upgrades" for previous (fendered) sports car drivers, there was plenty of tire bumping - during positioning on the starting grid at 2 mph, as well as occasionally on the straight at 105 (the initial top speed). It gave me a real appreciation, when approaching from behind a group racing for position, of the care needed to overtake and get through the pack without incident. (In those days, we had mixed-class races, and all drivers were not equally skilled at using their mirrors!)


Your readers may be intrigued by a story George told me about his concept for the Formula. He had grown up racing Star Class one-design sail boats, which were meant to be exactly alike and therefore relegate the performance to the most skilled sailors. The iron-clad specs improved competition and kept the costs down. You're familiar with the mantra: "If the rules don't SAY it, you CANNOT do it". George (a damned good driver in his own right) wanted to create a "one-design car" within reach of anyone who could afford a kit and a crunched VW from the junkyard. Maybe not "poor man's racing", exactly, but affordable and exhilarating. And with Bill's great mechanical skills to help, they did it, beyond anyone's imagination for the future.


Thought you'd be interested in this little added background. Keep up the fine work, and the terrific racing.

Regards,

Larry

 

 

Below is a sample of Larry's bronze sculptures - a life size replica of Phil Hill (1961 Formula One Champion) called 'Casino'

Phil Hill in Bronze - Sculpture by Larry Perkins