One-of-10 Lister Knobbly Continuation for sale

Track day season is almost upon us; what better way to blow away the cobwebs than a Knobbly?

By Matt Bird / Thursday, 9 February 2023 / Loading comments

The continuation sports car is big business nowadays, and it isn’t hard to see why. Who wouldn’t want a sports car that looked how sports cars used to look, but built to modern tolerances and with an OEM seal of approval? It’s little wonder that continuation cars from Jaguar and Aston Martin sold as fast as they did. It was equally unsurprising that some also saw them as not quite cricket, building iconic cars again 50 years after they went out of production. But anyone who got a brand-new DB4 for their millions probably wasn’t too fussed.

It was 10 years ago that the great Lister comeback was announced, bringing together the three companies using the name – Lister Storm, Brian Lister Light Engineering and George Lister Engineering of Cambridge – to resurrect the Knobbly under one banner. Probably Lister’s most famous car (if you aren’t as obsessed with 90’s GT racing as this writer and once followed Newcastle because of the Storm sponsorship), the Knobbly was a darling of the 50s’ sportscar scene. It was powered by the glorious Jaguar XK straight six, it looked like nothing else on the grid even when seemingly no two cars were made the same, and it was driven by top chaps like Stirling Moss, Ivor Bueb and Innes Ireland. The Lister Knobbly was everything great about the classic British sports car, and therefore perfect for a continuation model. Especially as the new team, amazingly, could draw on the expertise of some engineers involved more than half a century before.

The 60th-anniversary continuation Knobblys were launched in 2015, faithful to the first down to the using the original jigs and employing points ignition and a dynamo instead of an alternator. All were built with motorsport in mind, completed in Cambridgeshire to FIA Appendix K race regs and with the all-important Historic Technical Passport, but could be made road legal as well. So, just like the old days, buyers could – in theory – drive it to a race weekend and home again. But gentleman racers probably don’t travel so light anymore.

As a road car, the Knobbly was nothing if not visceral, as Dan P found out back in 2019. A lot of power, not very much weight, crossply tyres and not a single assist – not even brake servo – saw to that. But as the antidote to modern motoring, where the driver must concentrate on the conditions and focus on every input, the Knobbly knew no equal. That it also sounded utterly superb and looked incredible, all these decades later, only made the Lister more compelling.

Just 10 Knobbly were to be produced, making this one extremely rare. Finished in the trademark Lister colours of green with a yellow stripe, it looks brand new because it almost is: finished in 2021 (one way to celebrate end-of-lockdown freedom), chassis BHL169C has fewer than 400 miles on it. It comes with the Public Road Drivers Pack, boasting such luxuries as a padded dashboard, mirrors and foglights, for use away from Britain’s circuits though, as the advert states, ‘it is on track where the car is truly at home’.

And what a way to arrive at the paddock this would be. Fast, too, with far more than 300hp moving substantially less than a tonne. Presumably a new owner would just have to hope for some leniency when it comes to oversteer, as none of the Dunlops look especially grippy. But it promises the kind of sensory overload and satisfaction that precious few new cars can match, and certainly not those with such a relatively low power output. And the best bit? Where those continuation E-Types and DB Astons cost millions, the rarer Lister is available for £425,000. Hardly a Caterham alternative, sure, but for a box-fresh historic race car with all the right paperwork and IVA approval, the Lister won’t be the most expensive one out there. See you at Goodwood…

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