For 1949 Coopers introduced the Mk III. With the success' of 1948, a buoyant order book and interest from overseas, there was little need to make substantial modifications to the design. The most significant new feature being the official offering of a long chassis car (T9) for 1,000 cc engines. A ZF limited slip differential was also offered, which worked well on the larger engined car but tended to disturb the handling of the 500 on faster corners, and the seat was raked back slightly.
The main fuel tank (above the engine) became a combined fuel and oil tank and an additional 9 gallon tank could be slung under the scuttle for longer races. The Cooper design wheels were offered in Magnesium to save weight.
New Cooper drivers for 1949 included a 17 year old Peter Collins, John Habin, Bill Aston, Alan Brown, Bill Whitehouse Ken Watkins, Ken Carter and Lex Beels.
Stirling Moss ordered a new T9 car which was fitted to allow both a 500cc JAP and a 1,000cc JAP twin to be interchanged. He received sponsorship from Mobil, Dunlop and Lodge and he used this car to great effect across Europe, including surprising Ferrari in Formula 2. Moss, the professional, had arrived.
One of the strangest racing accidents of all time. Major Peter Braid's Cooper on the roof of the Guardhouse at Blandford Army base, after being launched by the base of the demolished bus shelter and bouncing off the trees! Peter Braid fell out but was only bruised and shaken. Still racing are the Bardon Special of Don Truman, the Iota of Joe Fry and another Cooper, possibly Ken Watkins. Sadly, Major Braid was killed in a railway accident in 1955.
Ken Watkins' Mk III. Photo courtesy Bruce Fowler.