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The Cooper Works Later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey


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#1 mab01uk

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 07:41 PM

The story behind the Police Garage TDV and their Mini Cooper Police cars - The Metropolitan Police's 'V' Division Traffic Garage, formerly the Cooper Works in Surbiton, Surrey until the 1970's.


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"Charles Cooper moved into 243 Ewell Road Surbiton in 1934. This was a corner shop at the Junction with Hollyfield Road, to the rear was the site that would become TDV. At that time it was a corrugated building, with a small stream 'out back'. It is rumoured that Charles kept ducks on the stream. The Cooper family would for awhile live in the flat, above the corner shop. The site was first known as Cooper's Garage and it operated a 24hr breakdown service. Later it would also posses a Vauxhall dealership.
Having the police station across the road, turned out to be an added bonus. Because as the Ambulance came down the hill (from the ambulance station) they would ring their bell, to inform the police station, they were attending an accident, on the Kingston By Pass. It is said that at this sound, Charles would crank up his breakdown truck and follow the emerging police car (before JPG was even born)!!
The growth of the Cooper company into a Formula One team is a story in it's self and very much involves Charlie's son John. Anyone wanting to know more should, purchase a copy of Doug Nye's excellent book Cooper Cars. The above picture was shamefully copied from this book, although he has subsequently agreed to its use.
By the end of the sixties the Cooper Formula One team was no more. For a while the site was used as a Cooper Cars Sales dealership. In the seventies it would become TDV."

The Austin Mini YOK 250 used as the Cooper prototype alongside a Cooper Formula Junior race car outside the Surbiton works.
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Clive Abrahams adds, "I joined TDV Traffic Unit at its location at Hampton in November 1967. We moved into our new garage at Hollyfield Road, Surbiton on 1st April 1968. The new garage premises were owned by and leased to the Metropolitan Police by one John Cooper. The same john Cooper of Formulah1 fame, and the originator of the now famous Mini Cooper Car. The first Mini Cooper’s were converted from the standard machines at the premises now occupied by us."

In August 1968 we were supplied with the two Mini Coopers index numbers PYT767F and PYT768F, these replaced Wolseley 110’s, which were being phased out, these had the standard car for very many years. The remainder of our fleet at this time consisted of,

A Daimler Dart
A Sunbeam Tiger
Rover 2000TC’s
Triumph 2000’s
Land Rover 109 long wheel base
Jaguar 3.4s Type ‘s

This later car was destined to be the workhorse of Traffic Division for many years to come. However it had one major draw back. This related to the Area, which our Traffic unit patrolled. This consisted of the outer very rural parts of Surrey with fast open roads

Where the car ruled supreme and also the very urban inner part of Greater London such as Tooting, Balham and Wandesworth, where the manual clutch proved to be very hard on the leg muscles.

To this end the Mini Cooper was brought in to see if it would fill the niche as a more suitable vehicle for the inner London areas.

The main difference was how the vehicles would be used. Normal patrolling practise was for double manned cars. The mini’s would to be single manned with two vehicles patrolling the same area previously patrolled by one. Thus Whiskey 11 became Whiskey 11 and 12.

The vehicles were purpose built for single manned operation. The centre boss of the steering wheel, now redundant as a horn button, was replaced with a speaker / microphone with a small remote transmitter switch on the steering column. This enabled the car to be driven at speed without hands being removed from the steering wheel to transmit messages.

The vehicle had two-tone air horns and a winkless bell all under the bonnet. The standard AT calibrated speedometer head was fitted in place of the standard mini speedometer. Other then that the vehicle was more or less completely standard. We Carried minimum kit in the boot and in the area that would normally have been the rear seat which removed there was a single rotating Blue light fitted. This was mounted on a raised plinth of about 4inches; as to mount it on the roof directly would have been blow the required height for it to be legal. A single Ariel was mounted behind the Blue light. There were POLICE signs front and rear, which could best be described as number plate style. The front can be seen; the rear was above the rear number plate illumination/ Boot handle.

We kept the vehicles for about two years. There were teething trouble with gear selection and brake fade, they eventually moved on to our Traffic Unit at Bow (near the City of London) and then to disposal.

To the best of my knowledge no others were purchased despite an original order for 12.in those days policemen were much larger and taller then today so the were somewhat cramped, but extremely enjoyable to drive through heavy traffic situations.

The picture below is from the Daily Mail and it shows is Eric Molyneaux (who was 6’3”) with Edward Spinks (about 17 stone) who was about to retire after 30 years service. You can see why both were chosen for their physical attributes.

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Gift Set, featuring the two Mini Coopers loaned to TDV in 1968. It is a limited edition of 2000 and were manufactured to mark the 75 years of The Metropolitan Police Traffic Division. They are supplied in a transparent presentation case, with a numbered certificate of authenticity

More here:
http://www.tdv.org.uk/cooper.htm

Edited by mab01uk, 15 April 2013 - 07:51 PM.


#2 mab01uk

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 07:33 PM

Johns Coopers Obituary


THE TIMES TUESDAY DECEMBER 26 2000
John Cooper
Designer who brought rear-engined drive to grand prix racing and put the oomph into the Mini to make the car an icon of the Sixties
WITH his father Charles, John Cooper was a pioneer of grand prix racing in the later 1950s, introducing principles of car design which re-drew the map of Formula One. At a stroke their rear-engined Cooper-Climax cars, which were first seen during the 1958 season, left the extant front-engined Ferrari and Maserati designs floundering in the their wake and, with Jack Brabham at the wheel, went on to take two successive F1 world championship titles in 1959 and 1960.
In his own right John Cooper is remembered as the man who designed the Mini-Cooper, the tiny high-performance saloon which became the motoring icon of the Swinging Sixties. Film stars, junior royalty, society debs and rock stars all clamoured to lay hands on this precocious little performer, whose 1,275cc engine developed a reputation for leaving the majestic 3.4 and 3.8 litre Jaguars standing still at the traffic lights.
The Mini Cooper became the urban bandit, its front-wheel drive — reversing the F1 trend which had made the Cooper name in the first place — giving it awesome traction and road-holding qualities. Tom Wolfe wrote breathlessly about it in his celebrated essay London Teenage Society Girl. It achieved apotheosis in the 1969 film The Italian Job, which is these days remembered less for its star, Michael Caine, than for an astonishing escape sequence in which robbers, fleeing with a haul of gold bullion, drive their Mini Coopers on a breathless chase through the Turin streets, seeming to defy the laws of gravity, space and time as they do so.
John Cooper was born in 1923, the son of Charles Cooper, an industrious and inventive engineer and businessman who worked at Brooklands in the heyday of motor racing at the famous circuit and established his own works at Surbiton, Surrey, in the 1920s.
Educated at Surbiton County School, John grew up steeped in the world of motor racing, first taking up an apprenticeship with one of his father’s companies, before going on to work for a toolmaker who specialised in equipment for the Royal Navy. He himself spent the war as an aircraft instrument maker.
In 1946 the Coopers produced their first joint design, a Formula Three car powered by a 500cc motor cycle engine, which John drove and demonstrated. The project proved an immediate success and laid the foundations for their subsequent commercial car racing business. The tiny single seater racer became instantly popular, among its customers being Stirling Moss, Peter Collins and Harry Schell.
As orders for the car flowed in Cooper co-raced the works car at meetings in Britain and on the Continent. His first successes were at the Formula Three race at Rouen, France, in 1951, and he went on to score victory at the perilous Avus track in Berlin later that year. He returned to Rouen to a second Formula Three victory in the following year.
Within six years of entering racing car manufacture the Cooper business had a flouriushing output of Formula Two and Formula Three cars and John Cooper quitted the circuit to become racing manager. In the meantime, Cooper cars continued to make an impact. Mike Hawthorn — later to become Britain’s first F1 world champion — learnt his trade as an international driver in a Formula Two Cooper-Bristol.
But it was the year 1958 which made the international grand prix circuit really look up. Stirling Moss, winning the Argentine Grand Prix in a privately entered rear-engined 2.2 litre Cooper-Climax, demonstrated that a technical revolution was taking place. Thanks to the superb handling he was able to run the race without a pitstop for tyres, and the Ferrari team could only watch and wonder.
In the following year, in a 2.5 litre works Cooper-Climax, Jack Brabham won the F1 world championship while Cooper took the manufacturer’s title. They repeated the feat the following year.
Other F1 manufacturers were not slow to learn the Cooper lesson, and with massive resources at their disposal, teams like the rival Lotus were able to go rear-engined and make up the leeway on the Cooper works in a remarkably short time. Cooper senior did not help his cause by running too tight a ship and refusing to countenance expenditure on anything he did not consider vital for the immediate future. John Cooper was keen to invest in a longer-term future, with ideas that could be expensive to fund. Quarrels between father and son were frequent. In the meantime Colin Chapman at Lotus had seized the crown from Cooper and reeled off a series of stunning victories.
Cooper’s influence on Formula One steadily declined and after his father’s death in 1964 John Cooper sold out to Chipstead Garages. The team, which continued to bear the Cooper name, continued to have some success under its new ownership: John Surtees won the Mexican Grand Prix in a Cooper-Maserati in 1966 and in 1967 Pedro Rodriguez triumphed in the South African Grand Prix.
In the meantime, Cooper had suggested to the British Motor Corporation, manufacturer of the Mini, and the revolutionary car’s designer, Alec Issigonis, that a high-performance version of the car could not fail to have appeal. Issigonis was at first sceptical, but Cooper was persuasive. Soon the “cheep and cheerful” Mini was undergoing a ferocious transformation, with first the Mini Cooper and then the Mini Cooper S establishing themselves as the fastest and most rugged minicars in the world. The Mini Cooper won the Monte Carlo Rally three times and was the first British car to win the European Rally Championships. Among celebrity owners of these Cooper-engineered Minis were Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Peter Sellers and King Hussein of Jordan.
BMC continued producing Mini Coopers until 1971, by which time 150,000 had been built. But John Cooper Garages was in the 1980s supplying Cooper conversion kits to a new generation of enthusiasts in Japan. The company also worked alongside Rover to re-engineer the car.
Cooper retired to the Sussex coast where he operated a small garage business. He was appointed CBE for his services to British motor racing last year.
He is survived by his wife Paula and by a son and a daughter. A second daughter predeceased him.
John Cooper, CBE, automobile engineer, was born on July 17, 1923. He died on December 24th 2000, aged 77.

Edited by mab01uk, 18 April 2013 - 07:34 PM.


#3 mab01uk

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 07:57 PM

Some Pathe film of the earlier Cooper Garage in Surbiton here:

Speed Car To Invade America AKA The Cooper… 1949

http://www.britishpa...-cooper-car-aid


Edited by mab01uk, 29 December 2013 - 11:58 PM.


#4 mini danny

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 08:09 PM

that yok250 mini is a 59 and was only registered 1995 and only used for 6 months before never being taxed again

wonder where she is now


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#5 mab01uk

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 11:52 PM

Cooper's Garage in Surbiton, Surrey 1962 and today.......

 

Coopersurbiton1961_zpsdb9f4904.jpg

 

See Page 257 of Nye 'Cooper Cars' (World Champions series) Osprey.
Photo says 1962, and inset of Cooper special 1936.
Corner showroom window says "The Austin Super" and a weird squiggle... "Austin for Luxury"

Full caption of the picture:-
"The Cooper empire after 25 years’ effort, depicted in this montage promotional photo ; Charles and John supposedly blocking Hollyfield Road with their Mini-Coopers, No 243 Ewell Road on the corner with the family flat above where first Mr & Mrs Cooper Snr then Mr & Mrs Jr lived before buying properties elsewhere ; the corner showroom where Stirling Moss spotted his first Cooper 500, where Owen Maddock studied the ThinWall Special and from where Ian Burgess and Andrew Ferguson used to run the Drivers’ School. In the background is the rebuilt production factory, now with the drawing office housed in the penthouse extension, while Major Owens had taken over the old drawing office behind the ‘Esso’ sign. Inset, the Cooper Spl ‘TI’, John up, in the Brooklands paddock."

 

Coopersurbiton2013_zps5cbf62f6.jpg


Edited by mab01uk, 30 December 2013 - 11:48 PM.


#6 mininuts

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 08:34 PM

Love to see 'then and now' photos, thanks for posting.

Any idea what the curved building is used for now?

Be great to get some pics of my minis on the forecourt, doubt I'll ever be just passing through Surbiton though ;-)

#7 mab01uk

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 08:55 PM

Love to see 'then and now' photos, thanks for posting.

Any idea what the curved building is used for now?

Be great to get some pics of my minis on the forecourt, doubt I'll ever be just passing through Surbiton though ;-)The curved building which was the Cooper

 

The curved building which was originally the Cooper Workshops is now used as a garage /workshop for local Police Traffic Cars. I pass the garage every day on my way to work......Mini enthusiasts are often seen parked up outside getting photos, I think the Police are now quite used to requests to park Mini's on the forecourt for a photo opportunity. :lol:

 

Apparently scenes from the 1966 MGM film "Grand Prix" were shot inside the Cooper building.

"For those who remember it, the scene where Pete Aron signs to drive for Yamura and is photographed shaking hands was in the drawing office, and the characters then go downstairs to the race-shop floor for a seat-fitting."
However all the cars visible were Lotus, not Cooper! Either Lotus 25/33 or Lotus 20, all disguised as 'Yamuras'.
http://tentenths.com...23&postcount=15


Edited by mab01uk, 05 June 2014 - 11:21 PM.


#8 mininuts

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 08:20 PM

Just found this John Cooper ad in a 1962 Autocar magazine, thought it fitted the thread well :-)

IMAG0096_1.jpg

#9 scrumpix

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 08:25 PM

what a gem of a post



#10 mab01uk

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 09:37 AM

 

Historic film found among the Pathe Film clips recently uploaded to YouTube. :mrcool:
John Cooper "testing" an early Cooper single-seater on public roads in South London including the A3 Kingston By-Pass near Tolworth, Surrey. The Cooper garage was at 243 Ewell Road, Surbiton, Surrey. Coopers built their first JAP-engined 500cc racing car in 1946.
If you look carefully at the last few frames of video you will recognise the corner shop showroom and steps leading up to the Cooper flat above as seen in the photos earlier in thread.


#11 mab01uk

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 10:12 AM

Some screenshots from the film:

Cooper-a3-8_zps38ebe527.jpg

Cooper-a3-9_zpsf4a581d6.jpg

Cooper-a3-10_zpsaa456181.jpg

cooper-a3-1_zps71fe7567.jpg

Cooper-a3-2_zps5d4359ec.jpg

Cooper-a3-3_zpsbd8f2bb7.jpg

Cooper-a3-11_zps56f4c43f.jpg

Cooper-a3-12_zps702d40d9.jpg

Cooper-a3-4_zps3bc2f45a.jpg

The corner showroom shop.....(compare with modern photo above)
Cooper-a3-5_zpsc559def6.jpg

A3 - Kingston-By-Pass, Surrey near Tolworth
Cooper-a3-7_zps1185de50.jpg

Cooper-a3-6_zps86518bf2.jpg

Cooper-a3-13_zpsdf062854.jpg



#12 mab01uk

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 10:02 PM

Update:
Mike Cooper was being interviewed about the Cooper building at the L2B this morning. Apparently it's still owned by the family, and now the police have ended their lease there are plans to turn it into a combined museum of Cooper memorabilia and a shop selling Cooper goodies.  :mrcool:


Edited by mab01uk, 18 May 2014 - 10:02 PM.


#13 Carlos W

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 10:47 PM

Update:
Mike Cooper was being interviewed about the Cooper building at the L2B this morning. Apparently it's still owned by the family, and now the police have ended their lease there are plans to turn it into a combined museum of Cooper memorabilia and a shop selling Cooper goodies.  :mrcool:

 

The cooper goodies stuff sounded really interesting



#14 scrumpymini

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 11:55 AM

 

Update:
Mike Cooper was being interviewed about the Cooper building at the L2B this morning. Apparently it's still owned by the family, and now the police have ended their lease there are plans to turn it into a combined museum of Cooper memorabilia and a shop selling Cooper goodies.  :mrcool:

 

The cooper goodies stuff sounded really interesting

 

 

I second that and not to far from one of the places I work at sometimes.



#15 mab01uk

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 10:00 PM

minicooper_zps05602385.jpg

A picture from the original launch of the Mini Cooper in the showroom in Surbiton.
L-R
Bruce McClaren, Roy Salvidori, Mayor & Mayoress of Surbiton (Mr & Mrs Greenwood) & John Cooper.






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