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Leon 'Lee' Lilley, RIP

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#1 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:27

Posted Image
Lee Lilley [in yellow shirt] working on David Lane's Maserati 200SI in 1958.

Jay Lilley just informed us that his dad, mechanic-driver Leon "Lee" Lilley, died in Florida on June 11. Born on December 8, 1923, near Valley Forge, Pennsyslvania, Lee received early exposure to competition cars through the family business, Lilley Machine Company. He began racing midgets in 1939 while helping his father manufacture special engine, rearend and steering parts used by most of the midgets that were raced on the East Coast.

After the war Lee continued his successful racing career with midgets, sprint cars and late-model stock cars. In 1950 he moved to Florida to start an aircraft machine company, but the racetracks lured him back within two years. The Tamiami Sales Company, his speed shop at Miami's 71st Avenue, became the maintenance center for most of South Florida's racing enthusiasts. Lee personally straightened out Temple Buell's Maserati 470S after Masten Gregory crashed it at Caracas in 1957.

Having maintained Lucky Casner's early cars, it was only natural that Lee would become an integral part of the CAMORADI USA team founded by Casner in June 1959. Co-driving with Fred Gamble, Lee ran Casner's Corvette at Le Mans in 1960, finishing 10th overall. In Florida he raced cars as diverse as a Ferrari 250TR, a Citroen DS and his own design: the VW-powered Tamsco Special.

Photo: Benita Lane,

Willem Oosthoek Collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 14 June 2012 - 01:34.


#2 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 09:55

Sad to hear , was he the last CAMORADI man ?

#3 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 17:26

Bjorn: Fred Gamble is still alive, enjoying life in Hawaii.

all research: Willem Oosthoek

#4 ReWind

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 18:16

There is already an enty on FindAGrave.

#5 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 21:12

FindAGrave is rather sparse in describing Lee competition career. None of his pre-war or early post-war racing is mentioned. He may have been listed as a reserve driver in one of Casner's Birdcages, but he never raced one. As for his claimed two appearances with the VW-powered Tamsco Special that he built, he raced it at least in eight events in the late 50s:

Feb 1957 New Smyrna
Mar 1957 Boca Raton
Sep 1957 Fort Pierce
Jan 1958 Master Field
Feb 1958 New Smyrna
Feb 1959 Cocoa-Titusville
Mar 1959 Boca Raton
May 1959 Master Field