Les Leston

Les Leston was a Works driver in the 50’s for Cooper, Connaught, BRM after having started out with specials and then moved into Saloon car racing enjoying success in a Riley 1.5 and winning his class championship in 1958, he also drove for the works rally teams of Rootes and Volvos in the 60's.
Although Les Leston didn't produce the tuning equipment like many others he did however run a catalogue and mail order business and some of his products are very collectable these days including his Ram Pipes, Crash Helmets and especially his steering wheels, the best ones are considered to be the ones from Walsall Wheels.

After suffering burns in a racing accident Les apparently had a set of overalls flameproofed by a similar method used for theatre curtains and after these proved to be quite effective he then sold them through his accessory shop in Holborn and it appears that these were the first items of fire safety clothing on the market in the 1950's. Another of Les's products that was very popular were his grand prix gloves which were worn by the top drivers in motorsport including Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, John Surtees & Innes Ireland.

Apparently another string to Les's bow is that he sometimes played the drums for Ambrose and His Orchestra one of the big bands of the day so I have been told.

A couple of early items below one an ad and the other an article from The Autocar both from 1950 and give a good example of how magazine articles can be adjusted to suit the subject matter. As can be see the shop was originally called the AERO-SPARES Company which was called a modern motorist's store, but according to the article in Autocar he was a dealer in aircraft spare parts which I am sure is incorrect but the special is certainly something to behold.

This is the front cover of the 1965 catalogue and below are a couple of the inside pages

These are the front cover's of the 1968 & 1964 catalogues

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