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RIP Les Leston


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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 08:57

With much regret I have just heard that Les Leston - purveyor of motor sporting accessories, racing driver with Cooper, Connaught, BRM etc, Lotus Elite GT star in his famous 'DAD10', jazz drummer - passed away last night. Sincere condolences to his son Nick, other family and friends...

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DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 14 May 2012 - 10:12.


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#2 Kingsleyrob

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 09:57

With much regret I have just heard that Les Leston - purveyor of motor sporting accessories, racing driver with Cooper, Connaught, BRM etc, Lotus Elite GT star in his famous 'DAD10', jazz drummer - has passed away. Sincere condolences to his son Nick, other family and friends...

DCN


Oh dear, more bad, sad news. To that list Doug, you can add pit lane reporter...

Only on Friday I was reliving my first Grand Prix visit to Silverstone in 1969, enjoying this clip

Whizz forward to 7 minutes 50 seconds. I chuckled to myself seeing Les Leston sporting his jaunty cap - I have the same style black and white chequered version with his "Les Leston - Made in England" label inside, in my hand now. I must have persuaded my Dad to buy it but never quite had the courage to wear it.

And now on Monday this news. He must have had an interesting life and 91 is a good innings.

I never knew his real name was Alfred Lazarus Fingleston.

Rob

Edited by Kingsleyrob, 14 May 2012 - 10:00.


#3 JacnGille

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 12:49

Sad news.

#4 cpbell

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 14:06

RIP.

#5 RTH

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 14:26

I bought my first crash helmet a Bell Star from his tiny speedshop in Finchley Road in 1971 for £29 19s 6d

#6 David M. Kane

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 14:33

The man who literally started it all for me as a dreaming kid.

RIP, Sir you were an icon.

#7 backfire

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 14:41

My first proper car was a Mini 850, spot lights, red with black painted roof, hubcaps removed, but the crowning glory (and I even remember a girl passenger being impressed) - a Les Leston woodrim steering wheel. May your checkered tape be always remembered

#8 Sharman

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 14:50

I bought my first crash helmet a Bell Star from his tiny speedshop in Finchley Road in 1971 for £29 19s 6d


..and I bought mine from his shop in High Holborn in 1957. Thank you Les for all the entertainment you gave us in 500s, Elites and GPcars. And at Ronnie Scott's on occasion

Edited by Sharman, 14 May 2012 - 16:03.


#9 RTH

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 16:01

My first proper car was a Mini 850, spot lights, red with black painted roof, hubcaps removed, but the crowning glory (and I even remember a girl passenger being impressed) - a Les Leston woodrim steering wheel. May your checkered tape be always remembered



Ah halcyon days indeed

#10 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 17:10

Another great 1950's personality lost to us. I saw him drive some blinding races in an assortment of Formula 3 500's and Peter Bells 1500cc Connaught sports racer. Once, while getting Les's autograph at Brands Hatch, his Cooper-Norton began to roll forward on the sloping paddock. Les wagged an admonishing finger at the car, and it stopped moving immediately. I was most impressed by his supreme car control!. I was a fan. :cool:

#11 Ralliart

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 17:54

Jazz drummer? Anyone have information on this aspect of his career?

#12 Tony Matthews

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 18:23

I bought my first crash helmet a Bell Star from his tiny speedshop in Finchley Road in 1971 for £29 19s 6d

And in '69 or so, four of us bought matching green mechanic's overalls to match our driver's car...

#13 millau

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 19:55

Quite a character
Sad loss

#14 ReWind

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 20:10

I never knew his real name was Alfred Lazarus Fingleston.

Was Les Leston a pseudonym or did he legally change his name?
Since his son's name is also Leston I assume the latter. Does anyone know for sure?


#15 Geoff E

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 20:42

Was Les Leston a pseudonym or did he legally change his name?


His father did.

London Gazette, 16 Sept 1927

"Notice is hereby given that HARRY LESTON of 47 Regents park-road, London N.W., Merchant has by deed poll dated 26 August 1927, and duly enrolled in the Supreme Court, renounced the names of Henry Fingleston and adopted the names Harry Leston - Dated this 13th day of September 1927.

#16 jj2728

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 20:52

RIP

#17 D-Type

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 21:12

Sad news. My condolences to his family and friends.

#18 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 21:50

Again, not unexpected as he'd been poorly for some while, but still immensly sad. What a legacy he leaves and what a contribution he made to the sport generally, aside from the fact he was a pretty nifty racer. RIP.

Edited by Richard Jenkins, 14 May 2012 - 21:52.


#19 Barry Boor

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:28

I still use my Les
Leston Databoard that my Dad bought me from Les' shop in Holborn, central London, at least 50 years ago.

Sad to hear the news.

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#20 barrykm

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 11:26

RIP

As a youngster I was thrilled to be give a pair of Les Leston driving gloves by my brother in law - the tan ones with a string back, just like Jim Clark used - fantasy time, wow :love:

#21 Michael Ferner

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:19

Wow - I wasn't aware that he was still alive! Still, that's sad news, seeing another one of racing's great characters go.

RIP, LL.

#22 Allan Lupton

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:51

As a youngster I was thrilled to be give a pair of Les Leston driving gloves by my brother in law - the tan ones with a string back, just like Jim Clark used - fantasy time, wow :love:

Only 20-odd years ago I was waiting for our start time at a VSCC Rally, wearing my knackered string-back gloves (make unknown) when I was asked by fellow-competitor Peter Riley "Are your gloves fast enough for this event? Mine are genuine Les Leston gloves!"

Edited by Allan Lupton, 15 May 2012 - 12:52.


#23 RJE

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 15:05

Besides some great races in various cars my one abiding memory of LL was before the opening of one of the early 1960s Racing Car Shows.

While Les busied himself organising his stand Graham Hill sat in front at a small 'card' table signing numerous black and white photographs that were a staple Leston sales item. After some time Les leaned over the counter and said to Graham 'When you've finished those run off a few Stirling Moss will you'. What happened next I won't tell.

A great character and a very good driver.

#24 barrykm

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 03:35

Only 20-odd years ago I was waiting for our start time at a VSCC Rally, wearing my knackered string-back gloves (make unknown) when I was asked by fellow-competitor Peter Riley "Are your gloves fast enough for this event? Mine are genuine Les Leston gloves!"


...they make all the difference.. :)

#25 David Holland

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 16:29

Very sad to hear this news, it's not been a good week for our racing heroes. I met Les at his converted barn in Kent about the time of the most recent Luxembourg GPs and he produced his trophy from the 50s version of the race when it was run to F3 spec I believe. He had a very varied career and got his idea for the flame proof overalls from the curtains used in the theatres around the West End of London. He was also a DJ in Hong Kong much later in his career and to answer an earlier question he was a jazz drummer in the post-war years with the Ambrose Octet and the pianist George Shearing.