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Len Terry RIP

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#1 Gary C

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 14:44

Just seen it announced through Classic Team Lotus that designer Len Terry has passed away. I only met him once, at Mike Oliver's and my Jim Clark Film Festival back in 2008. I think he enjoyed the weekend as much as we enjoyed having him as our guest.


#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 15:09

I'm very sorry to learn this. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

#3 Allen Brown

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 15:10

That's a great loss.  He designed so many of the great cars of the 1960s and 1970s and also a few real stinkers.  He would have been a fascinating man to talk with and I'm sorry I never had the chance to met him.  I can think of the Eagle, the Lotus 38 (and by extension half the Indy cars of the late 1960s), the Surtees TS5 and, ahem, the Leda LT22. 



#4 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 15:36

RIP Len.  I never met him but I believe my brother worked alongside him for a while, so will let him know.

#5 Rudernst

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 16:15

what a loss, what great man

#6 Macca

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 16:19

That is very sad news. Another he designed based, I believe, on the Lotus 38 and Eagle was the BRM P126; and hopefully BRM V4 will fill us in on all the details. 


I understand he used to often cycle to Goodwood in recent years and I always hoped to bump into him there but never did.


RIP.............next time I hear a clap of thunder I'll assume it's you and Chunky having another disagreement.



Paul M

#7 jj2728

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 16:43

Very sad news.





#8 Doug Nye

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 17:01

Sad indeed - really good old boy - very helpful and so many memories, passed on with great clarity. Godspeed Len...



#9 AAA-Eagle

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 17:02

That's very sad news. Len was one of the last designers still alive from that beautiful Grand Prix era of the 1960s. That was the time when simplicity in car design mattered much more than in following years, when the wings has appeared... For sure Len knew how to create not only simple, but pretty looking and fast cars -- Eagle-Weslake T1G being my favourite...



#10 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 18:36

A sad loss indeed, a great enthusiast of the sport. RIP to a talented man.



EDIT - I really do have to apologise, I've got the wrong birthdate for him and I see in some of the tributes that this has been copied as the date. That's my fault. He was born in 1924 in Hackney after piecing together some interviews and working out some other stuff. Working on the actual date of birth.

Edited by Richard Jenkins, 26 August 2014 - 19:54.

#11 Bloggsworth

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 20:17

I have two abiding memories of Len Terry; he and his wife doing the Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers bit at the Lotus Christmas Dance; and of him, in 1964, coming into the Indycar shop where we were assembling the Lotus 34, at about midnight, with a brand new pair of rear dampers and offering them up to the rear diaphragm, his face was something to behold when they stuck out horizontally - We had to cut notches in the diaphragm to allow them to drop to the correct angle. Lovely man.


Oh, I nearly forgot the Frank Gardner comment after testing a car Len had designed at Snetterton: "Len, you have designed a car with wonderful front suspension and with fantastic rear suspension, it's just a pity that they are in no way interconnected". This story may, of course, be apocryphal, but it does sound consistent with Gardner's frankness.

Edited by Bloggsworth, 26 August 2014 - 20:24.

#12 TIPO61

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 20:40

There's a helluva grid up there...in many ways better than the one that's here now.

Thank you Len Terry.

#13 anpaul

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 20:51

I only met Len 3 times, most recently at Goodwood FoS last year. He was a lovely chap and jokingly threatened me :lol: when I slagged off Tottenham, where I work, and pointed out he considered himself a Tottenham lad. He also told be how he organised a strike at Tottenham Lane and got the sack by Colin Chapman (although I know most people got sacked by CC!), before being hired back again.


R.I.P Len :cry:


Edit: The little tales he told are coming back. Just remembering how many cars he mentioned how quickly he had to design a car.


It will be a shame not to se him at The Revival this year.

Edited by anpaul, 26 August 2014 - 20:57.

#14 Alan Cox

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 21:23

I understand he used to often cycle to Goodwood in recent years and I always hoped to bump into him there but never did.

Indeed he did...

281237040d83db2cd54995d359a452cb592836fd Photo copyright Alan Cox

R.I.P. Len

#15 Michael Oliver

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 21:44

Just like to add my condolences to Len's friends and family. I've got quite a few photos of Len and the 38 that I took at Goodwood but it's too complicated to post them here - they are on my Twitter feed (@racinglotus) if anyone would like to view them.


As Gary C mentioned, he came to the Jim Clark Film Festival in 2008 with his wife Iris, who sadly died a little while after that. They were a lovely couple and Len was such a friendly, quietly spoken, modest man. We were really honoured to have him speak as part of our panel at the event.


Oddly enough (Macca!) I did literally bump into him at the 2013 Goodwood Revival, coming in across the bridge from the public car park with a friend and then managed to get some nice shots of him later in the assembly area.


He will be sorely missed.

#16 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 22:05

Very sad news indeed. A highly talented gifted engineer who had an outstanding design aesthetic. We are left his remarkable designs of the Lotus 38 and the Eagle-Weslake to enjoy as his legacy.



#17 mfd

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 22:22

I enjoyed being introduced to him last year at CPoP. A lovely man & prompted by a remark I made about the T38, he told a couple of great stories about working for Chapman.

#18 JacnGille

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 23:22

Sad news

#19 llmaurice

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 08:23

We may do well to think back to Lens early days ,building his own special in his house in North London back in the early '50s

then on to his lovely little Terrier days,his early days at Lotus trying to inject some sense into the Lotus 17 and the altercation between him and the boss over 

the Terriers claimed similarity to a Lotus kit car of the era.

Len Terry certainly went on to build a formidable career in race car design but the backbone of his career was what he built on those early days.

                                                                                                            We,ve lost a very clever ex .enthusiast and great designer.


#20 Michael Ferner

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 09:08

RIP :cry:

#21 RogerFrench

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 14:41

Very sad. Another one gone from the post-WW2 generation of 750MC enthusiasts who, along with the 500 chaps, founded successful motor racing in the UK.

#22 cpbell

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 15:34

R.I.P. - I concur on the sentiments expressed - he designed some evocative cars, and was evidently a character.

#23 Magoo

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 21:17

So sorry to hear the news. RIP Mr. Terry. 

#24 mariner

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 15:45

Its sad and inevitable but we are beginning to lose the " back room heroes " of the 60's and 70's.


Len was a vice president of the 750 club , very appropriate as he was one of its golden generation of designers and builders who literally created the Bitish motor racing industry.


That north east Lonodn area produced so many talented and determined people.

#25 tcsparky

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 17:01

Mr Terry also designed two cars for Sid Greene's Gibly Engineering. A Climax engined sports and a 1 1/2 liter F1 car for Keith Greene.

#26 Sisyphus

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 03:45

Len's 1973 book "Racing Car Design and Development" co-authored with Alan Baker is an interesting read with photos and details on his early designs, if you can find a copy.  For it's time, it was a unique treatment of the subject.

#27 bradbury west

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 13:23

Today's Daily Telegraph has a brief but fitting obituary to Len Terry. Gordon Cruickshank, as expected, produced a fine tribute in last month's Motor Sport.

Perhaps someone could post a Telegraph link here.

Many thanks

Roger Lund

#28 Tim Murray

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 13:52

Perhaps someone could post a Telegraph link here.

Yer tiz:


#29 bradbury west

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 14:08

Many thanks, Tim


PS Not for me to complain about how long it took them to list it..........

#30 bradbury west

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 09:44

Not for me to apologise for bumping this, as it might offer an opportunity for some to read his obit, post 28 above.

Roger Lund