The Lister Knobbly is a legend in the motoring world, but the legend has been confined to the race track for the past 60 years. Now a continuation version of the classic racer has been converted for use on public roads.
Continuation versions of classic sports cars, or modern remakes from the original blueprint, are all the rage at the moment. Jaguar will sell you a factory fresh E-Type, and Aston Martin has brought the DB4 back to life for well-heeled fans of the original. Given its success through the 1950s and its stunning looks, the Knobbly makes a logical target for a modern reboot.
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Having bought the Lister Motor Company back in 2013, Andrew and Lawrence Whittaker were quick to deliver a continuation of the Knobbly driven by Sir Stirling Moss back in the 1950s. Although very pretty, that car was a track-only proposition, for historical racers or dedicated track day junkies looking for a period thrill.
This isn't be the first road car to wear the Lister badge. The company has actually built lots of cars other than the Knobbly over its 60 year history– there's even a giant V12 road-going supercar in the back catalogue – but the classic racer is still its best known car. Having completed a build run of ten Stirling Moss cars, the team then set its sights on creating a version that could be driven (and enjoyed) on the public highway.
The resulting car is the stunning Knobbly Continuation you see here. Lister is at pains to point out this isn't a classic bodyshell grafted onto a modern powertrain, and it's not some amateur restoration project. Instead, the car is powered by an inline six engine built around an original Jaguar block. The engine internals have been painstakingly rebuilt to original specification by historic racing supplier Crosthwaite & Gardiner.
With 330 hp (246 kW) of power on tap, the little Lister will hit 60 mph (98 km/h) in 4.3 seconds on its way to a top speed north of 290 km/h (180 mph). Given the basic engine design is well beyond 50 years old, those are some seriously impressive numbers.
Of course, light weight also plays a role in the delivering this eye-opening turn of speed. The car is built around a tubular chassis, and the team at Lister Motors has used the original jigs to ensure accuracy in its design and construction. Wrapped around the frame is a stunning aluminum body, which takes around 500 hours to shape by hand. Not only is it historically accurate, the Continuation is achingly pretty.
"This is a hugely important step for us, making Lister the first to be able to offer our enthusiastic clients the excitement and thrills of driving a historically significant race car on the road," says CEO Lawrence Whittaker. "Our new road legal Knobbly also paves the way for more future road-going Lister models too."
Just 10 examples of the Knobbly will be built. Pricing will start at £225,000 (US$291,500) for a car fitted with the 4.2-liter inline six engine. A smaller dry-sump 3.8-liter inline six will be offered for £295,000 ($382,200).
You can check out the car, and a bit of Lister's back story, in the video below.
Source: Lister Motors