DOWN THE PUB

Motor Sport News - - Historics - WITH NICK LESTON

He has a fa­mous fa­ther “I was ex­posed to rac­ing by my fa­ther Les, but I didn’t see much of it as I was born in 1957 and all his re­ally suc­cess­ful stuff was be­fore me. I’ve got pho­to­graphs of me sit­ting on the orig­i­nal Lo­tus Elite DAD 10.”

He tried For­mula Ford “I wanted to be World Cham­pion like every­one else and I tried For­mula Ford and raced Mi­nis against guys like Steve Soper, Pa­trick Watts and Paul Taft and they were stun­ningly good. I was at school with Mark and Tom Walker and Charles Gil­lett. We all mucked around with old cars and Mark and Tom’s dad was in to the VSCC and that’s how it started.”

He owns a US spe­cial “I bought the car as a box of bits about 35 years ago. Its history is as a 1928/1930 sprint dirt racer in Amer­ica. It has a 1926 Chrysler front axle, which was very pop­u­lar. They didn’t even bother with brakes, but I’ve got brakes all round. They some­times threw the clutch away so you’d bang it into gear and be push-started by a pickup truck. That’s why the tail end of ev­ery dirt racer is beaten.”

It has a Ford engine “When I was restor­ing it I fully in­tended to have a body built for it, but I ran out of money. It runs a Ford Model A engine, which is 3.3-litre and has about 150bhp. But it only weighs 560kg and I can pick the engine up. It would need three of us to pick up a pe­riod Bent­ley engine. Henry Ford was very clever at mak­ing strong in­ter­nals for the gear­box and back axle, but still very light.”

He raced it for 30 years “The name is made up and I used to work in the oil in­dus­try and found a switch named Lovell Elkhart. I thought it was a great name for the car as it had no other iden­tity. The chas­sis is orig­i­nal Ford but we don’t know what it was called in pe­riod. They tended to find the chas­sis in scrap yards and make the bod­ies. They were in­cred­i­bly sim­ple cars. I’ve been com­pet­ing in it for 30 years on and off. Every­one says it looks a hand­ful but in fast corners it is very well bal­anced. It’s a good hill­climb car as well, but only has a three-speed gear­box.”

Leston: sprint car fa­natic

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