Photos and articles about Brighton and Hove in the time of coronavirus. See our collection and add your own!

Vine and Lee Motor Dealers

Vine and Lee in 1973
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

An apprentice in 1958

I started as an apprentice at Vine and Lee in August 1958. At that time Vine and Lee also had another branch on the corner of South Road and Preston Road in Brighton, just along the road from a garage called Dreadnoughts. Attached to the Portslade Garage there was a cycle shop called AWL Cars, I believe it was the initials of A.W.Lee. The business was started by Ken Lee’s father before WWI on the ground floor of what had been a private house.

Vintage car collector

The proprietor of the motor dealers Ken Lee, was a keen collector of vintage motor cars. I remember there was a 1908 Renault, possibly a taxi, that was so complicated to start up that George Greenfield, then in his 60s, was the only person who could start it. There was a 1936 Aston Martin that was regularly entered for the Concourse de Elegance, and a very early Austin 7 with a fabric body.

Do you remember Vine and Lee? Please share your memories by posting a comment below

Fellow mechanics

The various local companies that we dealt with, we supplied their reps’ cars, was Ronuk Polishes based at Hove station and H.J. Greens Cake Mixes. Other fellow mechanics that I remember from that era: Melvin Hook (unfortunately no longer with us) and Johnny Wheeler who I still see from time to time, Jim Foster the workshop foreman, and Dennis the Menace the diesel expert.

Comments about this page

  • I also worked at Vine & Lee about 1953. I remember Peter Long, we were to be apprentices. My father had been teaching mechanics, so I objected to sweeping and getting tea. I left to work for Conway Motors as a mechanic age 15 years.

    By B Blundellrian (06/06/2015)
  • Ken Lee was my uncle; a larger than life character. I can remember being taken down there in my pram from Hangleton by my mother. My brother bought an Anglia from him – allegedly he didn’t get any discount!

    By Neil Underhill (07/06/2015)
  • I worked at Vine and Lee at Portslade in the ’60s as a general dogsbody. I had to wash and valet cars serve petrol, collect and deliver cars and help out in the showroom; it was a nice friendly place to work. The petrol pumps were set back from the road and had hoses set on gantrys which you had to pull out over the wide pavement.

    By Dennis Fielder (07/06/2015)
  • I suspect that Dennis the Menace was my father (Dennis Webb), I remember going into Vine and Lee as a lad – we used to live in Gordon Road behind the garage. My father moved onto working on trucks (can’t remember exactly when) at APV in Crawley and again I can remember going up to the garage there (which was huge) and also being taken to Commercial Vehicle shows. 

    By Phil Webb (13/09/2017)
  • I worked at Vine and Lee from 1956 till 1963,as an apprentice and mechanic,I worked with Denis Webb as an apprentice,I also remember the other apprentices as Mike Davis,Ray Fisher,Johnny Wheeler,Frank? The other mechanics were Ron Frampton,Les Weal,George Greenfield,Bernie Ashdown,Eric Lilley and others.My first Service Manager was Alf Browning then Peter Henley,foreman Cecil Peters,Fred Donovan and Jim Forster.I met Denis Webb in the 70s when he worked at APV. If Phil Webb would like to get in touch I have fond memories of his father who I worked with for a number of years.Robert (Bob) Pook.


    By Robert Pook (17/07/2018)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *