The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8

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Lot 385
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler, 1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater
Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8

Sold for £ 381,000 (US$ 528,828) inc. premium
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler
1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater
Chassis no. BHL 133
Engine no. 7562229-8

Footnotes

  • This very well-known, sleekly streamlined ‘Costin’-bodied Lister-Jaguar has been campaigned for its present vendor by leading driver Mark Hales in the Goodwood Revival Meeting. It began life as the twelfth production car built at Abbey Road, Cambridge, by Brian Lister (Light Engineering) Limited for the 1959 racing season. The British Lister marque had become firmly established through the preceding 1958 season in which its famous ‘Knobbly’-bodied sports-racing cars had been powered by a choice of either the 6-cylinder in-line Jaguar XK engine or the American Chevrolet V8. Drivers of ‘Knobbly’ Listers had included the works team’s own star, Archie Scott-Brown – tragically killed at Spa in Belgium – Stirling Moss, Masten Gregory, and Walt Hansgen who won consecutive American SCCA Championship titles driving the blue-striped white Listers campaigned by Briggs Cunningham’s celebrated team. The success of those cars had guaranteed a healthy order book for the 1959-season replacement model from the Abbey Road factory.

    For this more sophisticated design, Brian Lister engaged former de Havilland and Lotus aerodynamicist Frank Costin to produce a streamlined, low-drag enveloping body for his latest product, the result being the ‘Costin Lister’ such as ‘BHL 133’ offered here.

    While some past Lister-Jaguar researchers – and previous owners of this very car - have attached a Bud Gates Lister-Chevrolet American history to this car, this was plainly in error since in fact Gates ran a 1958-style ‘Knobbly’ in the USA, not a Costin such as this. The differences between the two models are considerable, extending beyond the external body panelling to numerous chassis and suspension details.

    There is now compelling photographic and documentary evidence that this particular car was first supplied to American motor components manufacturer Pete Harrison to drive in essentially East Coast American races, into the early 1960s. The car – which was powered as-new by a small-block Chevrolet V8 engine - was entered for him by his father Arthur Harrison of the Harrison Radiator company and Pete Harrison achieved considerable success with it, including a class victory in the appropriate Sports Car Club of America Championship 1961-62.

    From 1963-65 it appears to have been owned – though not raced – by another American Lister enthusiast, Howard Quick who also owned and raced a ‘Knobbly’ model Lister-Jaguar. In 1965 we understand that this car was sold to Phil Johnson of Milwaukee who partly converted it for use as a high-performance road car. It passed subsequently to leading British historic car broker Chris Renwick via well-known American sports car collector and enthusiast Joel Finn of Connecticut. It was shipped back to the UK from the United States for collection by new owner – and Lister-Jaguar specialist - John Pearson who had bought it ‘sight unseen’. He recalls seeing the car for the first time in the dockside Customs shed, being aghast at the sight of his purchase. The car lay unloved at Pearson’s contemporary garage for some time before any restoration was attempted. Eventually it sold on to contemporary historic and classic car dealer Anthony Crossingham.

    From 1971-74 it was taken on by yet another historic-class racing driver and Jaguar specialist, John Harper. The car had been revived with a Jaguar XK engine and E-Type gearbox and in Harper’s ownership it emerged upon the British historic sports-racing scene.

    In 1974-76 this Lister-Jaguar was then raced widely by Peter van Rossem contesting the contemporary JCB Championship series amongst other events. It was entered by Caterham Cars – manufacturers of the hugely popular Lotus 7 derivative – and its bright-yellow livery led to it being nicknamed alternatively ‘The Yellow peril’ and ‘Lemon Drop’.

    Roger Saul – founder of the Mulberry fashion brand – owned the car from 1976-79 during which period it remained little used but benefited from some renovation and restoration work, notably – we understand – to the body panels.

    In 1979 it was then acquired by Michael Bowler, former prominent member of ‘The Motor’ magazine’s road test staff, a hugely respected motoring journalist and founding editor of ‘Thoroughbred & Classic Cars’ magazine. Michael Bowler was an extremely capable racing driver, and for several seasons up to 1982 he campaigned ‘BHL 133’ widely in both the UK and Europe/ The car was maintained and prepared for him by Abbot Engineering, and Michael Bowler’s exploits in it made him the FIA Historic Champion for 1979, 1980 and 1981, together with the Lloyd’s & Scottish Championship title of 1981. His exploits in the car, its preparation and sympathetic development were detailed each month in ‘Thoroughbred & Classic Cars’. The XK-series engine was rebuilt by Ron Beaty of Forward Engineering and a new aluminium tail panel was crafted for the car by Classic Autos to replace the glassfibre panel adopted during John Harper’s ownership. The car was sponsored by Pace Petroleum – then emerging as a significant force within the British fuel market. Its contemporary livery reflected Mr Bowler’s university background - Cambridge blue with dark blue striping.

    The car eventually passed into other hands, being owned for many years until 1997 by Michael Freeman. During his tenure it was raced widely before spending some time on display in the Stavelot Museum adjacent to the old Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. The car had been fitted with a new forward body section in the 1980s by original Lister sub-contractors Williams & Prichard. The doors and scuttle panel survived unchanged, however, and are believed to be originals made with the car in 1959.

    In Michael Freeman’s ownership ‘BHL 133’ had been repainted in burgundy with cream striping. This was changed to classical British Racing Green when the car was acquired from Mr Freeman by David Newman in 1997. He competed in the car at club level between 1997 and 2005, during which period former TWR-Jaguar works driver Win Percy helped Mr Newman set-up the car.

    It was acquired by its present vendor in 2005, at which time detailed inspection by respected Lister special Chris Keith-Lucas of CKL Developments concluded that several features surviving on the car during its British period are uniquely consistent with those photographed on the Pete Harrison car in period. Just one such critical feature is that the chassis has ground-off areas consistent with having been the location of the original Chevrolet engine mounts. More individual identification features are all listed in the extremely comprehensive documentation folder accompanying this Lot, which is of course available for detailed inspection, a spares package is also available with this lot (buyer collects) and include the original fuel tank, spare exhausts, two original Dunlop D-Type wheels, brake pads/springs/shock absorbers and a small selection of old bodywork.

    The car was race prepared 2005-2006 by CKL Developments for Mark Hales to drive in the Goodwood Revival Meeting, finishing sixth in the Sussex Trophy. It has a continuous and Championship-winning history with both Chevrolet and Jaguar power units installed, and it is therefore a classical and potentially very competitive Lister sports-racing car which offers a new owner a most attractive alternative choice of Jaguar baritone or Chevrolet bass beneath that shapely Costin bonnet.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that this lot is offered with FIA papers.
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
The ex-Pete Harrison/Michael Bowler,1959 Lister-Jaguar ‘Costin’ Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. BHL 133 Engine no. 7562229-8
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