John Cooper was a twentieth century British entrepreneur. Along with his father, Charles, he’s a founder of the Cooper Car Company. John Newton Cooper was born on July 17th, 1923 in Surbiton, a suburb of London. A self-taught car enthusiast from early childhood, Cooper left school at 15 and worked as a toolmaker for the Royal Air Force until the end of the Second World War, when he began working with his father in the family machine shop. The talent and ingenuity of young John Cooper quickly pushed both father and son, who specialized in maintaining race cars, to develop their own automobile. The Cooper Car company was founded in 1946. John was only 23 years old. In the 1950’s, Cooper took Formula One racing by storm when John introduced an exciting innovation to the automotive world: the placement of the engine in the rear of the car. Between 1959-1960 the Cooper Climax, a car that incorporated elements of the Fiat Topolino, won two Constructors' titles and just as many World Championships, thanks to Australian driver Jack Brabham. Eventually, Cooper’s supremacy turned out to be short-lived when the International Federation of Formula One imposed new rules related to the size of the motor and the weight of the car. John dedicated himself to a new project : the Mini Cooper .

This car is the sporty version of the Mini, the British economy car produced by the British Motor Corporation in the fifties, a time when motorists were forced to consserve fuel during the oil crisis. John took brilliant advantage of the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally to publicize the new car. Between 1964 and 1967, the Mini Cooper triumphed three times at Monte Carlo. This led to the autombile’s boom in the market. Seen as a status symbol, the Mini Cooper became the “cult” car of the 70’s, an icon coveted by the European jet-set and aristocracy. When the German manufacturer BMW acquired the brand in the nineties, the reputation of the Mini Cooper weathered this transition, and in fact continues to be a popular car. In the mid-nineties Cooper worked as a consultant for BMW. He developed cancer during this period but continued work on engine performance right up until his detah in West Sussex on December 24th , 2000. He was 77. The year before he died, Cooper was awarded the title of CBE , Commanders of the Order of the British Empire , for services rendered in the British motoring industry .
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