This numbers-matching barn find Cooper S has a great history, having been owned by two very well known iconic racers from Ohio – Tom Yeager and Jack Baumgardner.
A native of Marion, Ohio, Tom began his racing career in 1962 at Waterford Hills in a 1961 Lotus 7. He qualified for the first ARRC race in 1964 in a Merlyn. In 1965, Tom started racing as a Shelby Team driver in the first production GT 350R Mustang, and a FIA prepared Cobra. He won the SCCA June sprints that year, and was invited to the ARRC. In 1966, Tom raced a Mustang Trans-AM notchback and accumulated enough points to win the 1966 Trans-AM for Ford Motor Co. In 1967, Tom raced a GT 350 Mustang at Sebring and at the Daytona 24 Hour Race.
Tom’s family owned a Lincoln Mercury and a BMC dealership in Marion, OH. The Mini was ordered by Tom for his wife. However, Tom recalled that he had so much fun driving the Mini to and from his shop that he never ended up giving it to her. In addition to ordering the more powerful Cooper S 1071cc engine, Tom specified the car have the optional twin fuel tanks, 4.5″ wheels, and a rare monotone paint scheme. Tom had a number of great driving stories to tell us when we spoke to him on the phone, and he was delighted to hear his old Mini was alive and well.
After a little over a year, Tom sold the car to Paul Carr of Mansfield OH. Paul did not keep the Mini long, and sold the car on to legendary Mini racer and hill-climber Jack Baumgardner in 1970. Jack drove the car for a few years and put it into storage. Unfortunately, while stored in a commercial shop a fire broke out, causing some smoke and cosmetic damage to the car. Jack had started the process of disassembling the car to restore it, but racing and other commitments got in the way, and in the summer of 2016 he was persuaded to sell it to us.
The car is very original and unmodified, having been driven only 25,878 miles. It has the all-important original 1071cc block & crank, and the body is virtually rust free. Since it was disassembled for so many years it is missing a few parts, and the fire damaged items will need to be replaced, however it should be a very easy car to restore.
In tribute, the car has been officially named “Jessica” in honor of Jack’s granddaughter, Jessica Mace. Jessica is very involved in racing, and works for the Chip Ganassi Racing team in the FIA World Endurance and IMSA series.