One of the most famous Lotus Elites ever created will take part in the Goodwood 73rd Members’ Meeting on March 21-22 next year in a race paying tribute to the man who made the car a star of British motor racing: Alfred Lazarus Fingleston, AKA Les Leston.
The Series II Elite, known simply as ‘DADIO’, because of its registration number – ‘DAD 10’ – will be raced by its owner Robin Longdon in the Les Leston Cup for British sports and GT cars of 1960-66. Leston, a renowned driver in the 1950s and ’60s, retired to set up an aftermarket empire producing accessories and safety equipment that were hugely popular with competitors in period.
Leston won 154 races during his career as well as the 1954 British Formula 3 title, but carved a career out of his other passion, jazz music, earning the nickname ‘Daddio’ on the scene while drumming with band The Clay Pigeons.
After buying the Elite and fitting it with the resultant ‘DAD 10’ number plate, Leston waged some legendary battles with the similar ‘LOV 1’ car, driven by Graham Warner of rival squad Chequered Flag Racing, and was rewarded with the 1961 British Sports Car title after a campaign that featured several class wins at Goodwood.
He sold the car less than a year later, and retired from racing to focus instead on his business interests, which included pioneering flameproof overalls and helmets.
The car, easily recognisable among Elites due to its distinctive front and rear bodywork alterations, was lost for over a decade, but was found by Elite enthusiast Malcolm Ricketts in a damaged state in a field next to a repair shop in 1978.
A six-year restoration project, involving Ricketts, Tony Bates and Longdon, ensued, and the car has since become a regular, and popular, competitor on the historic racing scene.
‘DAD 10’ will battle against numerous Austin Healey 3000s, Morgan +4s, TVR Grantura MkIIIs plus representation from Rochdale, Tornado, Daimler, Turner, WSM and Reliant.