Crouching Tiger - Lister-Jaguar XJS Le Mans
The words Lister, Jaguar and Le Mans go way, way back and together form one formidable force in endurance racing. Fast forward to the late 1980s and the bond is still alive and kicking, though in this case churning out road cars. First came the 6.0 Mk III XJS conversion package, but the crème de la crème came three years later in 1986, in the shape of what you are currently admiring; the Lister 7.0.
Based on a regular old XJS, the engine started life as the 295 HP 5.3 Jaguar V12, there was a lot of life trapped in the understressed heart. BLE Automotive and WP Automotive joined forces with Lister to tackle the mammoth task. An extra four throttle bodies and injectors were enlisted to pump the high-octane blood around the motor alongside larger valves to help the engine drink. A new, stronger crankshaft was added alongside Cosworth heavy duty conrods. The major help in reaching the final power output came in the shape of a pair of superchargers (cough V600 Vantage cough) and an extended piston stroke (presumably) to get the final displacement up to 7 litres. In the end, the colossal engine was churning out 604HP, over twice what it produced out of the box in 1990.
As you’d expect, this astronomical output made the big cat soar. No official figures are known, though reports state that the vehicle was capable of over 200MPH. Today, cars fail to reach that, so imagine the reaction to that in the 1980s. A six-speed manual transmission was tasked with sending the power to the wheels (an all new unit, V12 XJSs could only be had with autos), which were wrapped in suitably wider-than-standard tyres and sheltered by a set of noticeably flared wheel arches. None of this sacrificing comfort, mind.
The conversion would set you back £77,000 back when it was offered, so not exactly cheap (especially combined with the price of buying the base car itself), though quite likely one of the least expensive ways to lay your hands on a 600HP car, so maybe not too bad of a deal after all. Whilst the Lister monster doesn’t have the timeless, sleek design of the regular old XJS, it’s ferocious and angry which makes it cool in a different way. It has quad exhausts and a wing, for goodness sake; who’s going to say no to that?
F-Type not your kind of style? This is the car for you. (Note: Private fuel station was not included in the £77,000 price)