St Leonards Motors began life as the brainchild of father and son team Graham and Brian Wakeford. Following the completion of his engineering training in Bristol and Newbury, Berkshire, Brian joined retired banker Graham in the purchase of a small garage on The Green, St Leonards-on Sea in 1958. On 1st January 1959, St Leonards Motors opened for business for the very first time. The fledgling enterprise expanded quickly, and in 1960 Brian and Graham were joined by John, Brian's brother, a retired pilot and aircraft engineer at Vickers Aviation. That same year the business became St Leonards Motors Ltd under the control of the Wakeford family, who still own the company today. A reputation for excellent customer service led to more business than the modest garage on the Green could handle and in 1970 negotiations began with British Rail for the purchase of the land at West Marina. In 1972 Bo Peep Filling Station was opened and the main Fiat garage opened in 1973. At that time SLM, as they began to be known, also ran petrol stations at the original site on The Green along with others at Silverhill, Queens Road, Red Lake and Sidley in Bexhill.