Lister Cars

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Lister Motor Company Ltd
Type Private limited company
Industry Automotive
Founded 30 July 1954 (George Lister Engineering Limited)
20 May 2013 (Lister Motor Company Ltd)
Founders Brian Lister
Headquarters Cambridge, United Kingdom
Key people Andrew Whittaker (Chairman)
Lawrence Whittaker (Managing Director)
Owners George Lister Engineering Ltd 1954-1986
Laurence Pearce 1986–2013
Warrantywise 2013-
Website www.listercars.com

Lister Cars is a British sports car manufacturer founded by Brian Lister in 1954 in Cambridge, England, which became known for its involvement in motorsport. Sold in 1986, Laurence Pearce produced variants of the Jaguar XJS before producing a bespoked sports car, the Lister Storm. In 2013, Lister Cars was acquired by Lawrence Whittaker's Warranty Wise Insurance Services, with production of the original sports car re-started in 2014.

History[edit]

George Lister and sons[edit]

1955/57 Lister-Bristol (BHL9)

Beginning in 1954, company manager and racing driver Brian Lister brought out the first in a series of sports cars from a Cambridge iron works. Inspired by Cooper, he used a tubular ladder chassis, de Dion rear axle, and inboard drum brakes.[1] Like others, he used a tuned MG engine and stock gearbox.[2] It made its debut at the British Empire Trophy at Oulton Park in 1954, with former MG pilot Archie Scott Brown at the wheel. Later, Lister swapped in a Moore-tuned Bristol two-litre engine and knockoff wire wheels in place of the MG's discs to improve performance. For the sports car race supporting the 1954 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Scott Brown won the two-litre class and placed fifth overall behind only works Aston Martins.

In 1955, a handful of Lister-Bristols were built with a new body built by an ex-Bristol employee with the aid of a wind tunnel.[2] Despite its new fins and strakes, it was less successful than the original Lister-Bristol of 1954.[2] Lister moved up to a six cylinder motor from a Formula 2 Maserati A6GCS for their own car, while customers continued to receive the Bristol motor, sold for 3900.[3] Lister also attempted single-seater racing with a multi-tube chassis powered by a Coventry-Climax motor and using an MG gearbox, but the car was a failure.[3]

A Lister Jaguar powered by a Jaguar D-Type inline-six

For 1957, Lister redesigned the car around a Jaguar D-type inline-six, with an aerodynamic aluminium body; it was tested by racing journalist John Bolster, performing a 0–100 mph (0–160 km/h) run in 11.2 seconds. Driver Archie Scott Brown won the 1957 British Empire Trophy in the new Lister-Jaguar.[4] Refined again in 1958, the Lister-Jaguar entered international competitions. Brown was killed that season when he crashed the Lister-Jaguar at Spa-Francorchamps.[3] Lister also developed another single-seater car based on the Lister-Jaguar, for use in the unique Race of Two Worlds at Monza. Cars from this era are affectionately known as the "Lister Knobbly" cars, due to their curved bodywork.

For 1959, Lister hired aerodynamicist Frank Costin[5] who produced entirely new bodywork built around a new Chevrolet Corvette powerplant. However, the front-engine layout of the new Lister-Chevrolet was quickly eclipsed by the rear-engine layout of the new Cooper sports car. By the end of 1959, Lister withdrew from competition, although production of sports cars continued for customers.[5]

In 1963 Brian Lister was chosen by the Rootes Group to prepare the Sunbeam Tiger for the prototype category of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Ford V8-powered Tiger was still in the early stages of development while Lister were constructing the chassis at the Jensen factory. Lister beefed up the suspension and brakes, added an aerodynamic fastback hardtop with a more sloping windscreen and a Kamm tail. The 260 cu in (4,300 cc) Ford V8 engine was tuned by Carroll Shelby to give it 275 hp (205 kW) instead of the stock 160 hp (120 kW). The cars were designed with a top speed of 170 mph (270 km/h), but were developed in too short a time frame and both suffered engine failures. Rootes later received a refund for the engines. The two cars and one prototype mule still exist.

A Lister Storm race car

The Lister company returned in 1986 as Lister Cars Ltd. based in Leatherhead, Surrey, with engineer Laurence Pearce tuning approximately 90 Jaguar XJSs, improving their capable top speed to over 200 mph and with an asking price of over £100,000. Success at this endeavour led the company to design a new sports racer, the Lister Storm. Launched in 1993, it would use the largest V12 engine ever fitted to a production road car up to that time, a 7.0 L Jaguar unit. The Storm was later developed for motorsport in various guises, winning the FIA GT Championship in 2000. Lister later developed a bespoked Le Mans Prototype, the Storm LMP in 2003.

Brian Lister died in December 2014 aged 88.[6]

Lister Motor Company[edit]

George Lister Engineering Limited of Cambridge, owner of the original intellectual property rights as well as the plans and drawings for all original Listers, as well as the property rights of Pearce's Lister Cars were bought by Warrantywise in 2013. The new company, along with its associated components, was rebranded Lister Motor Company Ltd.[7]

The new company started building of the original Lister designs in 2014, with the aim to produce six cars a year.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Setright, p. 1201
  2. ^ a b c Setright, p. 1202
  3. ^ a b c Setright, p. 1203
  4. ^ Setright, p. 1202 (caption)
  5. ^ a b Setright, p. 1204
  6. ^ Page, James (17 December 2014). "RIP Brian Lister 1926-2014". Classic and Sports Car. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "Lister Cars to return". Auto Express. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "Lister sports cars set to return after surprise Cambridge find". BBC News. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 

Other sources[edit]

  • Setright, L. J. K. (1974), Northey, Tom, ed., "Lister: From Wrought Iron to Racing Cars", World of Automobiles (London: Orbis Publishing) 11: 1201–5 

External links[edit]