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John Cooper

Age: 77

British car designer responsible for the Mini Cooper and the introduction of rear-engine Formula One race cars; founded Cooper Car Co. with his father, Charles, in 1946; found success in the Formula Three circuit in the 1950s with a revolutionary car design that mounted the engine behind the driver, a standard concept today; a Cooper car, driven by Sterling Moss, won its first grand prix in 1958; won F1 constructors' titles in 1959 and 1960; his Mini Cooper became one of Britain's most enduring cars during the 1960s after reaching cult status thanks to celebrity owners like John Lennon, Paul McCarthy and Peter Sellers; awarded a Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1999 for his services to the motor industry. He died of cancer.

Died: Worthing, England, Dec. 24, 2000

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