One of many successful post ’39 – ’49 war specials builders was Harry Lester who ran a number of modified MG’s from his garage on the Bath Road in Thatcham, Berkshire.
In 1949 he built his first twin tube ladder frame chassis which formed the basis of the first Lester MG using proprietary MG motor, gearbox, axles, suspension and brakes.
The success of this car led Harry to build his first Type T-51 chassis in 1951, which he described at the time as “developed through practical research and sports car racing and is now being built in limited quantity for almost 100% export purposes.”
Not all of his cars were exported as intended with many success being recorded in the UK by the ‘Monkey Stable’ founded by Harry and Jim Mayers who’s drivers included Pat Griffith, Mike Keen, Ken Ruddock, Les Leston and others, their outstanding achievement being a Team award in the 1952 Goodwood 9 Hours where they finished 1st 2nd and 3rd in the 1500 cc / 91.5 cui class.
It would appear many different body styles were fitted to the Lester’s which included two coupes one powered by an MG XPAG motor and another by the emergent Coventry Climax motor.
It is thought somewhere between 10 and 18 Lesters of all types were built up to September 1955 when Harry Lester lost interest in racing and building racing cars after the death of Monkey Stable co founder Jim Mayers at the wheel of a Cooper at Dundrod.
Stewart Penfound’s example seen here at Gurston Down last year was possibly one of the last T 51’s to be completed, it is listed as being first registered in June 1955.
Thanks for joining me on this “The Export Drive” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Maserati Monday. Don’t forget to come back now !