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From auction floor to race track in 36 hours at this year’s Silverstone Classic

Published 27 July 2015

A racer at this year’s Silverstone Classic spent £200,000 on a car at the auction – despite only going to the sale for the free beer.

The story doesn’t stop there, either. After the car he was competing in over the weekend developed a mechanical, he had to rush his new purchase from the auction floor to the circuit.

Driver Justin Maeers said, ‘It was a mad dash, but everyone did a sterling job to get everything agreed and the car on track.’

Maeers attended Thursday evening’s Silverstone Auctions sale to enjoying a drink with friends. But when a 1959 Cooper Monaco came across the block, he couldn’t resist.

Silverstone Classic Auction (1)

Maeers said, ‘I had absolutely no intention of buying a car,’ he said. ‘I actually went to the auction for the free beer but ended up spending £200,000 on a new car!

‘I must admit that I had been looking to purchase a Cooper Monaco for a few years, so when I saw the machine and learnt its history I knew it was the car for me.’

Normally, that would be the end of the story, but things got even more interesting when the engine failed in a different car Maeers had run during practice on Friday.

He said, ‘Someone suggested we could enter the Cooper Monaco.’ And the rest is history. With the striking navy-and-orange machine eligible to compete in the Stirling Moss Trophy for Pre-1961 Sports Cars, organisers had to show lighting quick reactions to enter the Cooper Monaco before the deadline.

Silverstone Classic Auction (3)

There was also the small matter of moving the vehicle from its cosy position on the second floor of the Silverstone Wing complex to the circuit.

A story of blood, sweat and gears followed, which eventually led to Maeers lining up at the back of the grid on Saturday morning in what the man himself called an ‘exhilarating experience’.

A regular racer of classic cars, Maeers was unfortunately forced into retirement after admitting to damaging the gearbox due to his unfamiliarity with the car.

Far from dampening his spirits, however, Maeers was delighted with his weekend’s work and that of the Silverstone Auctions and Silverstone Classic organisers.

The car itself enjoys a history spanning some seven decades and this particular model has a pedigree of more recent racing success in classic events around the world.

The Cooper Car Company launched the T49 Mk1 in 1958 as the successor to the successful ‘Bobtail’.

Regarded as an amazingly light and low machine with its all-aluminium bodywork surrounding the Coventry Climax two-litre engine, the car proved hugely successful.

The likes of Sir Stirling Moss enjoyed many triumphs behind the wheel of the Cooper Monaco, cementing its position as one of the world’s most famous racing cars.

Maeers’ model has won races and championships, and has scored a number of impressive results at Goodwood and the Silverstone Classic in previous outings.

And despite its relatively short showing at this year’s edition, Maeers is committed to returning to the Silverstone Classic in future years.

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