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'70s racing legend Lee Gilbert has passed

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#1 Steve Deiters

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 09:30 PM

Posted on the Pacific Slot Car Raceways' website:
In Memory of Lee Gilbert



#2 eshorer


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Posted 01 December 2021 - 10:10 PM

A big name in our little world. I've read and heard about his many accomplishments for years.


My condolences to his friends and family.



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#3 Pablo



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Posted 01 December 2021 - 10:21 PM

A very humble man with amazing talents.   :sun_bespectacled:

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 10:31 PM

A wonderful man, who gave me so freely of his time when I attended the Seattle Slugfest in 2003.


RIP, my friend.

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#5 Bill from NH

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 10:44 PM

Lee's Speedshop cars and parts were always first class.


Yet I only raced with him once. He was the backbone of scale racing in the greater Seattle area by organizing PNW (Pacific Northwest) and the  AMCA (American Motor Contest Association). Here in the Northeast, we had the ANE (Atlantic Northeast) AMCA.

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#6 Phil Smith

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 11:27 PM

Sorry to hear of Lee's passing.

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Phil Smith ® ©

#7 Slapshot



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Posted 02 December 2021 - 07:51 AM

Truly sad news. My condolences to his family.

Truly a legend.

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#8 MSwiss


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Posted 02 December 2021 - 12:26 PM

I really liked and respected Lee because he excelled in both Wing and Scale racing, but mostly, because he thought out of the box.


My favorite memory of lee was at a Van Rossem race, in France, in 1987.


I remember sitting in the pits, chewing the fat with Lee and P. A. Watson. I remember how cool I thought it was, getting to BS with a couple of slot car legends.


At some point, motors got brought up, and P. A. volunteered, "I put my fastest motor in, on red lane, to get around the widest turn in the bank the quickest."


Lee volunteered, "I can't change a motor in 3 minutes, so I put in my fastest, and run it the whole way."


P. A. countered, "I can change one in 45 seconds, so if I have a faster one, I'll find it in the race."


I added: "Lee, how do you know which motor of yours is the fastest? Test before the race on red? Test on orange?"


Lee: "I don't test them on the track. I just zing 'em on the power supply, and I can tell."


P. A. smiled and made a cross with his two index fingers and shot back at Lee: "I don't know, Lee. Now I think you're talking voodoo."  LOL.

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#9 Mike Patterson

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 03:28 PM

Wow. I'm saddened to hear this. Lee's chassis building article in Car Model was probably the inspiration for all the majority of us that followed. I know it was for me.


I met him once, at the USRA Division 2 Nats in Newark, Ohio, in 1998. I never got to race with him, though, waaaay different talent levels.


Rest in Peace, Lee.

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#10 Steve Ogilvie

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Posted 04 December 2021 - 03:55 PM

I sold Lee 3 tracks back in the early 90's. I really enjoyed meeting him and his wife. He celebrated the new tracks with a big bbq and party at his place. Seldom do you get to meet someone you consider a legend and come away thinking that they were just like you imagined they would be. Lee was great a great guy and a lot of fun. Very sorry he is gone.

    We have been cleaning up the storage shelves in the garage and I opened up a box of old magazines and saw this:




From April 1973

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#11 Mr. M

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Posted 04 December 2021 - 05:59 PM

I first met Lee when he was coming back to Pro at the Nats in Houston 1980’s PA Watson’s raceway. He had an adjustable car for trying different combinations, a little heavy, but it was his chosen way to quickly try different things. He was always very approachable for us non pro types. His Car Model series was inspirational and was the standard for years.

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#12 Jay Guard

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Posted 04 December 2021 - 08:45 PM

When I lived in California my racing buddy Fred Hood and I attended 2 or 3 Slugfest events that Lee put on near Seattle in the late 90's.  We stayed at his house and Fred, Lee, and I talked "slots" late into the night which was Lee's usual pattern.  He was really a great guy with amazing slot cars stories and as mentioned above I can recall him setting up several Eurosport cars at a time for his racers, really amazing to watch.  I also remember seeing him in his garage workshop late at night hand trimming huge numbers of his famous Speed Shop tires to width with only a Dremel, perfect every time, he was an awesome craftsman.  RIP Lee, you will be missed by all that knew you but your legacy will live on with the other slot car greats!   

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#13 HarV Wallbanger III

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Posted 04 December 2021 - 11:05 PM

Brian Lowe and I went to his shop many years ago ('90s?) and he was "cooking" up his famous brown glue. Sitting on a step out back was a little electric stove and on it a bubbling pot of hot mess glue... Looked like brown lava and smelled like cooked 90w gear oil!

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#14 raisin27


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Posted 05 December 2021 - 12:07 AM

Was privileged to meet Lee at the world championship races in Chicago and honored that he asked me to drive on his enduro team. A great guy and a class act.

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#15 Mbloes


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Posted 06 December 2021 - 05:46 PM

Not that he would remember me, but I met him a couple of times in Los Angeles when we were having Nats down here in the 90's.  As somebody else said,  he was very approachable and down to earth.


He also designed that very cool 90's Eurosports chassis that was just a big slab with cuts made in it for flex.  I don't remember many people getting these to go fast, but he sure could.


And his cars were the first place I saw front wheel stickers.  Not my favorite technological "advancement", but "scale" slot cars were never the same after.


RIP Lee.

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#16 Steve Deiters

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 07:55 PM

I crossed paths with Lee Gilbert in Cleveland  when Ken MacDowell was hosting major races in the early ‘70’s at Parma. Lee was in town for one of them.  His reputation as a chassis builder had preceded him.


Ken related a story that he was out on the west coast once and he visited Lee.  Ken saw one of those things with a nail that Lee impaled people’s checks and orders for chassis. They were hard to get and he didn’t necessarily sell to anyone.   When he needed money to go to the next race he would pull a couple of them off and build the chassis.  Then it was off to the races.  One of those things that makes slot racing legends.


I think the fact that the arc of his life spanned involved slot racing so many years speaks volumes of what he brought to the hobby and the many racers he touched along the way.

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