Friday, April 01, 2016

A. J. Foyt at the wheel of the Mecom Hussein I at the LA Times GP, 1964

Built on a Cooper Monaco space frame chassis, the original Traco Chevy in the Hussein was replaced with a NASCAR 500+ hp Chrysler (Dodge) 426 ci motor. It is currently in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum

Considered to be the most powerful sports car in the United States at the time, "Hussein," as this special British-built Cooper-Monaco was called, was commissioned by Texas oil millionaire John Mecom, Jr. The bare chassis was shipped from the Cooper Car Company in Surbiton, England to Mecom's Headquarters in Houston, Texas, where it was outfitted with a special aluminum body crafted by renowned West Coast fabricator Jack Lane. Although the car had little success, and competed only a handful of times, normally driven by A.J. Foyt, it drew quite a lot of attention. The original 427-cubic-inch Holman & Moody V8 Ford engine was soon replaced by a 500-horsepower 426-cubic inch Dodge V-8 Chrysler "hemi" from Nichels Engineering, the engine currently in the car. With this combination, Foyt placed second to the Chaparral of Roger Penske in the 112-mile Governor's Cup race at Nassau in the Bahamas on December 4, 1964. The car's name came about due to the Mecom family's business relationship and friendship with King Hussein of Jordan, who was a great sports car enthusiast. Some historians have referred to the "hemi" version as Hussein II, inferring that there was a second car. There was only the one.

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