"Pop" Lewis-Evans

Father of Stuart, Lewis Lewis-Evans or "Pop", as he was more commonly known to the racing fraternity, was also a great motoring enthusiast and respected racer in his own right. Born in Plumstead in 1899, he completed flying training with the Royal Flying Corps right at the end of WW1 and was actively involved with the Air Defence Cadet Corps (later Air Training Corps) at the outbreak of WW2. He worked as a service engineer with Vauxhall Motors in Luton from 1925 till 1935 when he left to establish his Vauxhall/Bedford main dealership in Welling, Kent, (living over the ‘shop’ until the mid 1960s). A knowledgeable motor engineer and pre-war mechanic to Earl Howe, he was also a keen motorist with an interest in cars of all ages, a favourite being his 1896 Benz in which he completed the London-Brighton Run on many occasions. In 1951 together with his son Stuart, he started motor racing in a shared Cooper Mk IV and the following year they had a Mk V each. "Pop" was one of the first to fit a roll hoop to his car in early 1952.

At the top of Paddock Hill Bend, Brands Hatch in 1953, then taken anti-clockwise. Photo courtesy of John Furlong.

Pop Lewis Evans Brands 53.jpg (151524 bytes)

As Stuart’s career blossomed it is easy to overlook Lewis' achievements; over the years he raced at more than 50 successive Brands Hatch meetings, which he celebrated by donating the Lewis-Evans Trophy, and elsewhere with great verve and some creditable results to his name including a second to Bernie Ecclestone in the Holiday Special at Brands in April 1952, fourth in the Easter Open Final at Brands in 1953 (two places behind Stuart), fifth in the Commander Yorke Trophy in August, second to Eric Brandon at Agen in September and fourth in the Consolation Final at Crystal Palace.

Lewis Evans in Mk8 Brands 1954.jpg (36737 bytes)

For 1954, Lewis had a Mk VIII with, as far as is known, the first perhaps only factory supplied fibreglass body (this car has returned to the UK from USA c.2008), while Stuart drove for the Cooper works team. He took fifth place in the Open Challenge on Easter Monday at Brands ahead of Ivor Bueb, while Stuart won, and fifth again on Whit Monday plus a number of heat placings. Lewis continued into 1955 with a third in the Consolation Final at Brands in April then, in September, a second to Henry Taylor in the Second Final, ahead of one Graham Hill.

As a committee member of the Half Litre Car Club he contributed to the running of the sport and this continued after he retired from racing at the ripe old age of 57 following a serious accident at Crystal Palace. Infectiously enthusiastic, a bit of a showman (among other things from 1954 to 1965 he owned the Lordship of the Manor of Earls Hall in Suffolk), his memory is preserved by a Mk V Cooper believed to be the ex-Bill Whitehouse 'works' car of 1951 which for several years was in  the Donington Collection, restored in Lewis-Evans colours of green and cream and bearing his coat of arms. It is now in private ownership and use.

He died at Herne Bay in 1987.

Three generations of the Lewis-Evans family; Lewis, Stuart and Steve in "Pops" Mk VIII. Courtesy of the Lewis-Evans family.

 

The Lewis-Evans Trophy, last seen in the hands of Graham Hill in 1962

"Pop" in his 1896 Benz on the London to Brighton Run, 1953 with Stuart alongside. Photo courtesy of John Furlong.

Pop Lewis Evans Brighton Run 53.jpg (120580 bytes)

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