My brother, Don Palmer, worked at Cooper’s while doing a degree course at Kingston Technical College in 1947-49 and, as his kid brother of 14 years, I loved to tag along.

At that time they were building the 500cc models developed from the original, made from two front ends of a Fiat 500 – not, as reported, Formula 1 cars, but F500, or some such.

This all started after the war, which gave people the chance of making their own racing car in their back yard.

We lived in Pine Gardens and had an experimental elastic suspension car in our garden.

The big innovation at Cooper’s was bringing back a rear engined car, which is now nearly universal in racing cars.

A book published more than 10 years ago about John Cooper has much more detail.

Testing down the bypass was usual then, as I was there on one occasion at the top of Tolworth Rise with a silencer attached by string, which always broke off, and went down the hill to the roundabout.

The Mini Cooper was some time later.