Lister 'Knobbly',
Lot 407
1956/1990 Lister-Chevrolet 'Knobbly' by Heritage Chassis no. HL14777
Sold for £29,900 (US$ 49,566) inc. premium
Lot Details
1956/1990 Lister-Chevrolet 'Knobbly' by Heritage
Chassis no. HL14777

Footnotes

  • 'This car offers the best combined price to performance, power to weight, and power to frontal area ratios available anywhere in the world for a sports car. The 1957 racing season has now ended and out of the 14 races for which they were entered Scott-Brown and the Lister-Jaguar won 11, finished second in one, and had minor mechanical trouble in the other two when in the lead, nevertheless setting up the fastest lap in both races. They have also either equalled or broken the existing unlimited sports car lap record during either the racing or at practice on all circuits where they have appeared.' - Lister Press Release, October 1957.
    A director of his family's Cambridge-based light engineering firm, Brian Lister was better placed than most to become a racing car designer. He enlisted the considerable talents of Don Moore and Archie Scott-Brown to help with engine tuning and driving respectively, and built his first car in 1954. The MG XPAG-powered Lister proved an immediate success, notching up five 1st and eight 2nd places in short order. Upgraded that summer with a Bristol straight six, the Lister won its class during the British Grand Prix support race and throughout the 1955 and '56 UK racing seasons was a serious thorn in the side of both the Aston Martin and Jaguar works teams.
    With Shell/BP backing and a Jaguar engine supply deal, Brian Lister stepped up a gear to build a car capable of contesting the World Sports Car Championship. Debuting at Snetterton on 31st March 1957, the first 'official' Lister-Jaguar took pole position and set fastest lap (though clutch failure denied it victory). The following month, Lister's prototype proved itself the class of the field with dominant overall victories at both the British Empire Trophy race (Oulton Park) and the Easter Monday Sussex Trophy race (Goodwood). Capable of showing a dean pair of exhaust pipes to both the ageing Jaguar D-Type and new Aston Martin DBR1, the Lister-Jaguar was quite simply a revelation.
    Production proper commenced in 1958 with an Appendix C compliant version boasting a 10% reduction in frontal area. A riot of swooping wheelarches and air scoops punctuated by a pronounced bonnet bulge and shallow windscreen, it was affectionately christened the 'Knobbly'. One of Lister's many customers was the American millionaire private entrant Briggs Cunningham, who ordered two with Jaguar XK power and a third to accept a Chevrolet V8. The combination of the Lister chassis and lightweight Chevy engine proved immensely successful, Cunningham's cars dominating both the 1958 and 1959 SCCA Championships. For the latter season the Lister had been redesigned with sleeker bodywork by legendary aerodynamicist Frank Costin. However, by this time the writing was on the wall for front-engined sports-racers and Lister closed at the end of 1959. Opinions differ with regard to how many were made, quoted figures ranging from as few as 34 to as many as 50.
    This faithful 'Knobbly' Lister-Chevrolet re-creation is one of three made by Heritage Engineering, the car offered here being the only one still in the UK. This car won the 1991 Ward Historic Championship and from 2002 to 2005 was campaigned by the current owner in several UK series.
    The chassis is constructed from MIG-welded tubular steel and underwent extensive development at Chevron Cars to optimise roll centres and suspension geometry. The front suspension comprises Rose-jointed unequal length fabricated wishbones with coil-over Koni BA23 dampers and adjustable spring platforms. All angles are easily adjustable to enable accurate chassis set-up, the wet/dry change being achievable in minutes.
    The rear suspension is likewise fabricated in T45 tubing with Rose joints inboard and outboard. Suspension angles can be adjusted in ¼ degree increments, tracking by 5 minutes. The Jaguar-type lower mounting bracket has been replaced with a much stronger steel unit. Both the front and rear suspension have fully adjustable anti-roll bars with Rose-jointed drop arms. Roll bar rates have been optimised. All hydraulic and fuel lines are braided hose with lightweight alloy fittings. The car weighs just 920kg un-ballasted.
    Finished in Linarite Blue with silver interior tubing and panel work, the Kevlar-reinforced GRP body is in three sections, the front and rear being completely removable to allow fast access to all engine and suspension components. Subsidiary access panels are fitted for refuelling and level checking.
    The interior is fitted with a Luke five-point harness with plumbed-in 4-litre Lifeline extinguisher system. A Varley Red Top gel battery is located low in the left-hand foot well. Two roll cages come with the car: a traditional hoop and brace and full 4-point cage finished in black powder coat, while also included in the sale is a spare rear body section from Chevron Cars.
    Braking is looked after by AP 3434 4-pot alloy callipers on 12"x1.1" discs at the front and outboard AP 4-pot calipers on 12" discs at the rear using custom alloy bell housings and Jaguar bearings. Brake bias is fully adjustable from the cockpit and the reservoirs are fully bulkhead accessible. The wheels are Minilite split-rim type with centre knock-off nuts. Yokohama 225/60 15 A032R tyres are fitted to two complete sets of wheels.
    Custom built by ICE using a GM Rocket aluminium block, the engine incorporates an Eagle 4340 steel crankshaft, Clevite bearings, lightweight flywheel, ICE custom 18-degree cylinder heads, titanium valves, Jesel timing gear, Brodix inlet manifold, ARP fastenings, l,000cfm Holley double-pumper carburettor and Moroso ignition with programmable audio and visual rev limiter. Stainless steel exhaust headers lead to tuned silencers in each sill.
    The fuel system consists of a 10-gallon Brize foam-filled alloy fuel tank with swirl collector pot feeding a Moroso fuel pump. The rear clip is fitted with a dummy Monza-style fuel filler. Lubrication is by 4-stage Weaver dry-sump pump, a 2.5 rear mounted GP Metalcraft alloy tank and two remote oil filters, with coolers front and rear.
    Power is transmitted via a Tilton 5¼" multi-plate clutch to a G-Force five-speed gearbox with a 23/32 input and 2.40, 1.65, 1.29, 1.08 and 1.00 ratios making it suitable for both long and short circuits. A rpm limit of 6,000 gives a top speed of 185mph, which the owner has seen at Snetterton! A full build sheet is included with the car and all ratios can be changed as desired, including the input. The gearbox is built to withstand 1,200bhp and 1,000ft/lbs of torque. A Hurst quick shifter makes for certain gearchanges at all times. The differential is based on a Jaguar IRS system, its internals consisting of a Quaife 4HA limited-slip mechanism with the flexibility of Jaguar pinion and ring gears.
    Primary instrumentation consists of an SPA on-steering wheel data logger including tachometer, shift lights, lap timer, oxygen sensor, brake pressures, fuel pressure and water temperature. Additional instrumentation comprises a Moroso 5" rev counter, fuel pressure gauge, oil pressure/temperature gauges, water temperature gauge, ignition light, oil pressure light, cooling fan light, fuel pump 'on' light, gearchange light and a transponder.
    The car is offered ready to race with two sets of wheels and tyres, a spare rear body section, two roll cages, special tools and a spares package. An extensive history file includes bills for over £45,000 and full set up and engine dynamometer data. This is a rare opportunity to acquire an ultra-fast sports racing car eligible for many prestigious events and capable of winning them!

Saleroom notices

  • Please ask a Bonhams member of staff to see the spares that are offered with the car.
Auction information

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