Charles Cooper and son John began building hill climbers in 1949. When this type was recognised as Formula 3 they began laying down cars for series production which led to their first 2 litre Formula II car in 1952. Later the Cooper T51, a Formula One and Formula Two racing car designed by Owen Maddock and built by the Cooper Car Company, was built for the 1959 Formula One season. The T51 earned a significant place in motor racing history when Jack Brabham drove the car to become the first driver to win the championship with a rear-engined car The T51 was raced in several configurations by various entrants until 1963 and in all no less than 38 drivers were entered to drive T51s in Grand Prix races. The standard F1 T51 was the first Cooper powered by the 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine which Cooper and Lotus had commissioned Coventry Climax to build specifically for their rear-engined machines. The pioneering nature of this configuration created problems of its own, since there were so few rear-engined production cars from which a gearbox could be sourced. Eight different engines were used in the back of T51s in championship races, with 2.2- and 1.5-litre Climax engines in addition to the standard 2.5. The T51 had already won the Glover Trophy at Goodwood and the Silverstone International Trophy before it made its first World Championship appearance in the 1959 Monaco Grand Prix, with no less than eight examples entered.