About Les Ely, professional Vintage Car Restorer
Les Ely started his vintage car racing career way back in 1970, in Stock Car racing with the Spedeworth racing organisation. His first ever vintage racing car was a Singer Gazelle. Having raced stock cars for 2 years Les Ely progressed into building Hot Rods and racing mini’s, during which time he raced for various organisations, winning the UK Hot Rod East Anglian Championship in 1975.
In 1985 after successfully racing mini’s for 10 years, Les Ely decided to switch to circuit racing, opting to go into Historic Motor Sport whereupon he purchased a vintage MK2 Jaguar from Rob Newall, one of the top racing drivers of the Jaguar Drivers Club at that time.
This particular racing car was a bag of nails, but Les Ely raced it for the rest of the season in the Classic Saloon Car Club and at the end of that season the car was stripped by the Les Ely Vintage Car Restorers team & completely rebuilt at the Les Ely workshops in Braintree, Essex in the UK.
At the start of the 1986 racing season, with the help of suspension guru and ex-racing car driver Rob Buck, Les Ely won his first race at Castle Coombe that year. Competing in the Jaguar Drivers Club pre-1968 series, Les went on to win Class Championship, Overall Championship & Best Prepared Jaguar 3 years running.
Les Ely along with Rob Buck & Mike Cann (whose vintage MK2 Jaguar body shell Les Ely had prepared, restored & painted) then switched to racing in Europe in the FIA Historic Saloon series, racing against mini’s, BMW’s & Lotus Cortina’s and taking the lap record for his particular series as the Nurburgring Germany. It was while racing in this series that Les switched his attention to racing vintage Jaguar E-Type’s, purchasing an E-Type originally raced in Germany but then dicovered derelict in a run down garage in London. Les purchased the vehicle & bought back to his Essex vintage car restorers workshop, where his team restored it back to its former glory. With its first race at Brands Hatch with the Historic Sports Car Club, with a brand new vehicle, Les Ely finished second in his class and fourth overall. His next race was Spa, where after engine problems at the end of the straight, the rear end of the car was demolished by 2 MGB’s fighting each other, narrowly missing Les’s leg that was half out of the vehicle due to him exiting the car as quickly as possible. It was suggested that day by by one of the greatest saloon car drivers ever Gerry Marshall to Les Ely that he should go home as soon as possible as he had just used up his nine lives. The vehicle was returned to the Les Ely Vintage Car Restorers workshop where a new rear end was fitted & bonnet repaired, ready to go racing once again. Les continued to race with the Historic Sports Car Club in the Guard Trophy & other races organised by them, winning the Guard Trophy class championship, overall championship & the Historic Sports Car Club Jaguar driver of the year 3 years running.
Les Ely has also raced in the Spa 6 hour, in every race bar 2, partnering Graham Dodd or Graham Hathaway, where they have always finished in the top 15 out of the 90 or so cars that started the race.
Les Ely’s other vintage cars which he has either restored or raced are a 1956 Cooper Bobtail driven by Sterling Moss, Jack Brabham & Ivor Bueb including a 1959 Lotus 11 Le Mans and a FIA Mark 1 Lotus Cortina.
Winter Marathon 2018 | 30th edition
1/18/18 - 1/21/18
38086 Madonna di Campiglio TN, Italy
Major exposition : American Dream Cars @ Autoworld
12/15/17 - 1/28/18
Jubelpark, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
1/19/18 - 1/20/18
Hauptpl., 8700 Leoben, Austria