Les Taylor

Les Taylor was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1916. He established a motorcycle business in Brisbane and began racing on two wheels then switched to four wheels for 1950 with various locally built machines. He tried to become Cooper's agent in 1951, without success, so bought a Cooper Mk IV for the season. Les shot to fame in August of that year after driving a Jaguar XK120 from Darwin to Alice Springs, just short of 1,000 miles in ten and a half hours which later earned him an appearance in court! He found a buyer for the Jaguar and duly delivered it to Sydney then, apparently, got straight on a boat to England, all without feeling the need to inform his wife! This seems a little unlikely as the real purpose of the trip was to collect his brand new Kieft (one of the first, if not the first production cars) and sign the deal to become Kieft's agent in Australia. He gave the car its debut at Brands Hatch on 21st October, taking seventh in his heat of the Open Challenge and third in his heat of the Junior race but was unplaced in the finals. At the end of the meeting, he allegedly handed back the car to Cyril Kieft claiming the 500 racing was too dangerous. In his defence, the hurly burly of a typical Brands race day would have been quite a shock and this particular day was especially unfortunate with several injuries and a fatality in the mechanics race.

Brands, October 1951 on the grid in his new Kieft CK 51

Les returned to Australia and sold the Cooper although he appears to have continued some motorsport activities with an attempted record run at Leyburn in a Fiat saloon. Les died at the young age of 52 in a boat building accident.

Please get in touch if you can tell us more about his life.

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