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.