Francis Beart is best known as an expert engine tuner, especially Manx Nortons but he also built his own car based on a Mk VII. He received considerable co-operation of the Cooper factory, to the extent that Coopers authorised a specific Mk number for the car, the Mk VIIa .
The car was significantly lowered and the links between the top and bottom rails were tubular instead of the perforated strips used on the standard car. The side pannier fuel tanks were removed and replaced with a small, scuttle mounted, tank of 3 gallons and a second tank placed under the driver's legs. The result was a significant reduction in frontal area. The driver's seat was lowered by three inches to reduce the centre of gravity and make the driver sit in the car rather than on it. The front dampers were mounted on outriggers and inverted. The rear sprocket was made in two pieces and could be split to allow gear ratio changes to be made without removing the drive shafts. A chain guard was fitted to the primary chain. Not surprisingly, a specially prepared Beart Norton engine was used, mounted 2 1/2 inched further forward. A flexible union was used to link the main exhaust pipe to the cylinder head to aid engine removal and overcome the fatigue problem which sometimes affected standard exhaust pipes.
The Beart Cooper was driven by Eric Brandon and Alan Brown and occasionally by Stirling Moss. Later in '53 and '54 it was driven by Stuart Lewis-Evans. The Beart showed Coopers that they could not rest on their laurels and a number of these modifications were adopted by the Cooper factory for the Mk VIII. The car continued to be competitive for an very long period of time, Trevor Taylor taking several wins in 1958.