The very first Lister Knobbly sports car built for the road has just rolled off the production line at the reborn Lister Motor Company Factory in Cambridge.
It’s more than 60 years since the first original Knobbly raced. It became a hugely successful racing car, but it was never adapted into a road-going version – until now. Three former Lister engineers were brought out of retirement to oversee the manufacturing process, which, astonishingly, is taking place on the original jigs.
Beneath the gorgeous, distinctive panels, which are still beaten by hand from aluminium, there’s a dry-sumped Jaguar 3.8-litre straight-six and four-speed gearbox. Lister calls it ‘almost identical’ to the original equipment borrowed from the racing D-Type. There’s also a road-biased 4.2-litre straight-six for £70,000 less.
The engines are being rebuilt around original Jaguar blocks, with remanufactured parts to keep the whole thing as original-but-new as possible. Just 10 of the cars will be built, weighing 787kg and packing 330bhp as a 3.8, which will fire the car on to 181mph and from 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds.
When you consider those figures, remember that this is built to 1950s spec. It has no traction control, no power steering, no ABS; no safety gadgets at all apart from roll-over protection and, err, a fog light. Doing 180mph in this thing takes gigantic trouser plums. Even so, the ‘new’ car is eligible for IVA type approval and standard road registration, which is awesome.
Prices are not cheap, as you’d expect, with the 4.2-litre car starting at £225,000 on the road, while cars with the 3.8-litre racing engine cost £295,000. Shall we think about crowdfunding…?