In 1959, famed designer Brian Lister hired aerodynamicist Frank Costin, who had worked for DeHavilland and Vanwall, as well as designing the swoopy Lotus 11. The example seen here is BHL 123 - for Brian H. Lister. Of all Costin Lister-Jaguars, this one may be the most significant for it was in this car that Sir Stirling Moss OBE and Ivor Bueb contested the 1959 12 Hours of Sebring for Briggs Cunningham. The car had a every prospect of winning, but a hurried pit stop resulted in the car running out of fuel on the course while leading. Nonetheless, Costin Lister-Jaguars had an impressive 1959 season. In 12 races, they scored six victories, a second and a fourth and won the national championship. Eleven Costin Lister-Jaguars were built. This car, white with blue racing stripe, is powered by a dry-sump 3.8 liter Jaguar power plant fitted with three 45 DCO Webers. This Jag produces 300-330 horsepower, all of its directed to the pavement through skinny, original-spec Dunlop L series racing tires with a tread width of only five inches!
This 1958 Lister-Chevrolet is powered by a Chevrolet engine that displaces 5359cc and carries chassis number BHL 114. It is finished in black and painted with number '90'. Its large hood is one of the larger of the Lister designs, necessary to conceal the powerful powerplant. By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2007
After fire destroyed Jaguar's Brown Lane factory in 1957, Jaguar quickly turned to Brian Lister to produce the successor to the D-Type with Jaguar supplying the mechanical components and the full support of their competition department. This new car featured a stunning aluminum body designed to cover the tall Jaguar twin cam engine yet minimized the car's frontal area. It was this clever design that earned it the nickname 'Knobbly.' When Jaguar alerted American Briggs Cunningham to the forthcoming Lister-Jaguar, he went directly to Lister's workshops in Cambridge and soon owned the first two cars, Chassis BHL 101 and BHL 102.This car is BHL 102, and was delivered to Cunningham just in time for the 1958 12 Hours of Sebring.
Lister-Jaguar BHL 102 is powered by a 3800cc Jaguar engine. It raced at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1958, driven by Ed Crawford, but failed to finish due to engine problems, and after traveling just six laps.
The car raced in early May of 1958 at the Virginia International Raceway, driven by Ed Crawford, and finished 1st overall and in class. At the Cumberland National Races in Maryland, just a few weeks later, Crawford drove the car sixty-one laps to an impressive 2nd overall. The following month it was brought to the Bridgehampton Race Track where Crawford secured another 2nd overall. Later that month it raced at the Elkhart Lake National Sports Car Race and finished 1st Overall, and First in the Class C-Modified. Lime Rock was next on the schedule, and it was another fruitful outing for Crawford, who captured another victory. At Montgomery Airport in New York, Crawford made it 39 laps before and engine fire forced him to retire. The damage was repaired and the car was brought to Watkins Glen where another victory was scored.
Lister-Jaguar BHL 102 was driven by Phil Forno at the 1959 Road America Elkhart Lake race to a fourth overall and a third in class. The following day it won the Harley J. Earl Trophy with Ed Crawford and Walter Hansgen driving.
Cunningham would go on to win the 1958 SCCA Championship with 11 victories in 16 races between his two Lister-Jaguars. BHL 102 was campaigned by the Cunningham team, unquestionably one of the greatest American racing institutions of all time, from 1958 - 1960, winning multiple races with drivers Ed Crawford, Briggs Cunningham, John Fitch, Walt Hansgen, Stirling Moss and Phil Forno. Since being sold by Briggs Cunningham at the conclusion of the 1960 season, BHL 102 has continued to race extensively in the five decades since.
In Cambridge, England, in the early 1950s, Brian Lister was a youthful racing enthusiast whose family company fabricated wrought-iron railings and gates. Brian became a great friend of fellow Cambridge racer Archie Scott-Brown, who had been born without a right hand and with stunted legs, but who could drive like the wind. In 1954 Brian built a sports-racing Lister-MG, which Archie raced with fantastic success. In 1955 a Lister-Bristol emerged, and in 1956 a Lister-Maserati, but for 1957 Brian Lister put a 3.8-litre Jaguar XK engine in his works team chassis, and Archie Scott-Brown set the British racing world on its ear. For 1958 Brian produced the immortal 'Knobbly,' so named after its body shape devised to meet minimum windscreen height requirements above the scuttle, while minimizing frontal area by housing the engine in a separate, higher, 'knobble.' After Archie's 19579 heroics, customers flocked to Cambridge including America's Briggs Cunningham and the partnership of Carroll Shelby and Jim Hall who would fit Chevrolet V8 engines in these Lister chassis.
This car, BHL108, was the eight car built in 1958 and originally sold to the famous Jim Hall and his Chaparral Racing team. He raced the car several times and had it fitted at one time with a supercharger. Drivers like Jim Hall, Jim Rathman, Oscar Koveleski and Mike Blackie have raced BHL108. Since then the car has had a very successful vintage car career.
Date - Race - Driver - Finish 1958 - Santa Barbara - Jim Hall - Unknown 1959 - LA Examiner Grand Prix - Jim Hall - Unknown 1959 - USAC Formula Libre- Jim Rathman - DNK
The Geo Lister Company was formed by George Lister in the late 1890s. Geo Lister formed a partnership with Charles Flatters and Harry Branch, creating a general engineering, blacksmith and wrought ironwork shop. When the partners retired and his sons Alfred and Horace joined the business, the company's name was changed to 'Geo. Lister & Sons' in 1919. In 1930, Horace became sole proprietor after the untimely death of his brother Alfred, and then their father.
Horace's sons Raymond and Brian later became directors in the company, ascending to joint Managing Directorship in 1954. Brian had an interest in racing and one of his first races was in a Morgan 4/4 sports. Later, he built a Cooper-MG sports car with help from Lister apprentice Edwin 'Dick' Barton. This was followed by the Tojeiro-JAP named the Asteroid.
Brian Lister met a one-handed individual named Archie Scott Brown who would later prove his abilities as a world-class racing driver. When the duo met Don Moore, a local motor engineer, the ingredients were formed for what would become a successful series of Lister sports-racing cars. During the 1950s , their cars would be a dominant force in the 'free-Formula' British sports car category and in Sports Car Club of America national Championship competition. The legendary 'Knobbly' Lister-Jaguars and Lister-Chevrolets are a few of the memorable names that raced during the 1958 and 1959 SCCA series.
A new company was formed by Brian Lister, dubbed 'Brian Lister (Light Engineering) Ltd' with the purpose of building racing cars. They utilized engines and various components from MG, Bristol, Chevrolet, Jaguar and Maserati vehicles during the 1950s. The most famous of their creations was the Knobbly. In total, there were no more than 17 original cars constructed in 1958. Following Scott Brown's fatal accident at Spa, Belgium, in May of 1958, Brian Lister closed his car manufacturing business.
In 1990, four special 'Centenary Edition' Lister-Jaguar 'Knobbly' cars were created to honor the centenary year of Geo. Lister & Sons Ltd. They were made to the same standard as the original. The final products were marketed by Lawrence Pearce in England. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2008
The Jaguar D-Type sports racer was a very dominate machine due to its excellent performance and handling characteristics. As such, there was a strong demand from Jaguar to continue to produce sports cars. In 1957 a fire at a factory and Jaguar's withdrawal from racing saw the production of the D-Type come to a close. As a result others stepped in to produce racers based on Jaguar components. One of the more successful of these creations was designed and built by Brian Lister. His first racers came on the scene in 1954 and often competed against stiff competition such as the Aston Martins and Jaguar D-Tpes. Archie Scott-Brown was one of the more memorable drivers who piloted the Lister built machines to many podium finishes and dominated the British racing car scene in 1957, winning 11 out of the 14 races. The 1957 Lister / Jaguar machine was constructed of a light-weight steel space frame chassis and bodied in an aluminum body. Its body was lump and thus it was given the nickname 'Knobbly'. Development continued throughout the years with a total of seventeen examples being created with most going to the United States. The first two examples were built for the legendary American sportsman, Briggs Cunningham. Seven examples were delivered to Jim Hall and Carrol Shelby who outfitted them with Chevrolet power-plants.
In 1959 the aerodynamics were changed and fitted with modified bodies designed by Frank Costin, an aeronautical engineer. The lines were smoothed out considerably, but the changes increased the frontal area and had an detrimental affect on the vehicles aerodynamics. As a result it had a lower top speed. In total, eleven examples were built with two being powered by Jaguar engines. By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2007
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