King’s Lynn’s first Classic Car Day will feature the only remaining example of the Cooper car left in existence. Built in the town by the Cooper roller bearings factory (now part of SKF) in 1909, the model is thought to be one of Britain’s first company cars. Intended for its directors, six were eventually built, most as drophead tourers bodied by Sanders & Sons – although at least one was produced as a roadster.
The Cooper normally sits on display in the factory’s base on Wisbech Road, where it was spotted by West Norfolk councillor Chris Crofts. It is on permanent loan to Coopers from a private collector and was last seen publically in 2005.
The Cooper Company produced steam diggers in the late 1800s before moving into munitions, clutches and fire appliances in the Great War. Factory expansions were funded in part by the royalties from its innovative split bearing designs, finished in 1907. In the late Fifties and early Sixties, Cooper Roller Bearings ran a motoring club for its employees.
King’s Lynn is not the only town celebrating its motoring past. The Chiltern Hills Car Show in Buckinghamshire showcased a rare Cubitt, built in Aylesbury during the Twenties.
The Elise married back-to-basics sports car and high-tech to good effect and its unique approach makes it a definite modern classic. Buy one now while you still can.
Words: Paul Wager Pics: Matt Woods
It may be in the modern classic camp, but classic the Elise most definitely is. Certainly until its appearance in 1996, nothing had quite offered the same marriage of back-to-basics minimalism with high technology and it remains all but unique.
Lotus founder Colin Chapman may have been long departed by the time the Elise appeared, but his philosophy of achieving performance through light weight was perfectly emobodied in the new car and it had more in common with early Lotuses like Elan and Elite than the Esprit and its ilk which struggled to compete at the prestige end of the sports car market.