Harvey Sykes and Stirling’s 1958/’59 Cooper-Climax
All photos copyright Harvey Sykes
After coming across the story of Stirling’s 1959 Dutch Grand Prix comeback drive in the second part of our Stirling Moss – Mission Impossible series, Harvey Sykes contacted us. As the current owner of that very Cooper – bought in 2019 – we asked Harvey to share a little about his experience thus far.
‘I bought the car as “race ready”, so inevitably just about every single aspect of it was worn, unsafe, or in some way compromised. This is the first car I’ve restored or worked on in any meaningful way, so at times it’s been difficult and at other times it’s been really difficult. It looks quite easy when you see other people doing it, but I’ve lost track of how many things have had to be done twice or even three times. While I’ve managed to do most of the ‘easy’ jobs myself, I’ve had help with most of the skilled or difficult things. And it’s been fascinating. The level of skill and the depth of knowledge of some people working in historic motorsport is deeply impressive (and very humbling!).
‘So far, I’ve only driven the Cooper on a shake down test at Silverstone, but despite the inevitable niggles, it was sublime. Through the corners, the car felt beautifully balanced and so reassuring and forgiving. While my driving is pretty ordinary, the car flatters you, so although I wasn’t going quick, I still felt like I was Stirling Moss. And then as you come onto the straights you feel like you’re attached to the horizon on a big bit of elastic (I know that’s a cliché, but it does feel like that). When I came in at the end of the session I just thought “Wow!”.
‘I’m hoping to race the car for the first time with the HGPCA at the Silverstone Classic where it will share a grid with lots of similarly wonderful old cars. I can’t wait.
‘The best thing about the car though is the people you meet and the shared passion and enthusiasm. So far, it hasn’t been an easy experience, but it’s been so rewarding and it always feel like a privilege’.
Read Stirling Moss - Mission Impossible 2, by Philip Porter for more information on the history of this car.