A small Cooper 1.5 L… This is an easy to find model. From a commercial point of view, this model was a great success for Solido. Yet this little car has a great history. Its story concerns both Cooper themselves and the toy makers who made models of it. And in both cases they were quite revolutionary.
Let’s start with the single seater car. In the second half of the fifties, new rules were made in the sports car racing world which allowed formula 2 cars to compete with formula 1 cars. The only essential difference between the two was that the formula 2 cars were not allowed to exceed 1500 cc or 1.5 Litre.
The british builders showed off their ingenuity by offsetting the slight disadvantage of the engine size and by moving them from the front to behind the the driver. This had the big advantage of lowering the car's centre of gravity. In spite of their lack of power due to the small cyclinder size, the small single-seaters very quickly showed extremely encouraging results, due in no small part to being lighter and more maneuverable. Beginning with their second season in 1957, they raised many eyebrows, impressing the racing world at two Grand Prix events: the Grand Prix in Argentina with Moss at the wheel; and the Grand Prix of Monaco with our French national driver Maurice Trintignant.
They performed above expectations in these circuits, displaying performance and agility at places like the Nurburgring, where they placed second and third behind a Vanwall. On the many fast racing circuits of the times (Reims, Monza, Spa), the difference in power did not handicap the excellent road performance of these cars.
It is this 1958 version which Solido has modelled, with it's 1500cc engine. The following year, Cooper would adopt an engine of 2.5 Litres. Marrying a good engine and a revolutionary concept, the small Cooper would literally fly over the next two seasons and allow Australian Jack Brabham to win the world championship twice. The Ferrari cars were forever left behind. By moving the engine block to a mid-located position, Lotus and Cooper revolutionized Formula One, changing the look of single-seaters forever. It is fascinating to look at period photographs in which the imposing Ferrari cars appear to be ready to swallow up the tiny Coopers. Ferrari would continue to stubbornly try and compensate for its front-engined cars' handicap in handling and agility by adding more power, but to no avail.
Isabelle and Vincent Espinasse. Autojaune.fr