For sale

1956 Lister Maserati

ex-Archie Scott-Brown, BHL 1 is one of the most original Listers in existence and the only remaining Works car that Archie competed in.

It took Archie Scott-Brown’s devoted mother almost a decade to find a surgeon both willing and able to operate on her severely disabled son, yet when he walked into the The Rose pub in Cambridge to meet fellow members of the Cambridge University Auto Club, he did so with such swagger they all assumed he was a wartime RAF pilot (a myth that Archie did nothing to dispel.) Drinking with his left hand, his shortened right arm hidden inside a battered flying jacket, his new pals had no idea of his physical impairment.

It was his membership of the club that led Scott-Brown to meet Brain Lister. Lister, the heir to a family-owned engineering firm in Cambridge, was also a budding motor sport enthusiast and racer, but after being driven as a passenger round a local airfield by Archie in his MG TD, he realised he didn’t have the skills required to be a successful driver himself – but the enigmatic Scott-Brown did. In him, Lister had found the Works driver for his new sports cars, and thus one of the greatest partnerships in British motorsport from the post-war era was forged. Together they built one of the most respected – and eventually feared – motor racing teams of the 1950s.

Impressed with fellow British driver Roy Salvadori’s pace and agility in the Maserati A6GCS, Lister and Scott-Brown thought they should secure a new 2 Litre Maserati A6GCS engine for the 1956 season and fit it into a completely new car (whilst retaining the registration and chassis number from the earlier MG and Bristol engined incarnation of BHL 1). The end result was a small, lightweight, sleek and nimble sports racer with a much-reduced frontal area. Girling disc brakes were also introduced for the first time.

The resulting reduced weight and agile handling suited Archie, who had to wedge his handless arm between the spokes of the steering wheel, although early testing at Snetterton highlighted reliability problems with the Maserati engine. This delayed the beginning of the season, so the first outing was not until Oulton Park for the British Empire Trophy, in April. This was swiftly followed by Aintree, where the car’s potential began to shine through with a 4th overall position. On to Silverstone in May for the Daily Express Trophy, and finally a 1st place was secured at Snetterton in May. Other races that year included Goodwood and Brands Hatch, with return visits to Silverstone, Brands, Oulton and Aintree, bringing home a total of four outright wins, a brace of class wins and a 2nd overall.

The following season the car was sold to privateer Ormsby Issard-Davies, who took on the bearded Allan Moore to race it for him. Back at Goodwood, now competing against Archie, BHL finished 14th overall, plus a 4th at Oulton Park and further outings at Snetterton and Silverstone. In 1958 it was purchased by the Curtis-Smith Racing Team, with more races that season and in 1959, in the hands of Bry Williams, three visits to Oulton Park.

In retirement there followed the familiar story for the majority of  old race cars, and BHL 1 moved from collector to collector. Nigel Moores briefly owned it in the early 1970s, and John Harper bought it in 1978 as stock to trade. It seems he sold it to Michael Gosset, a Frenchman living in Surrey, who restored BHL 1, engaging  Maurice Gomm to restore the body. In the 1990s it moved to the USA with Syd Silverman, a well-known American collector and Lister aficionado. He raced the car, then fitted with a new Crosthwaite & Gardiner engine, throughout the 1990s. He eventually sold it to Chip Fudge in 2007, who continued to race it for a decade.

In 2017, BHL 1 was imported back into the UK by JD Classics, selling it to amateur racer Nick Riley for £1,350,000. Under his ownership it competed at the Goodwood Revival and Le Mans Classic, and in the hands of Ben Short it finished a mighty 2nd overall at the 2018 Monaco Historic, proving its competitive status in contemporary motorsport.

BHL 1 is the only original remaining Works Lister that Archie Scott-Brown raced. It is one of the most original Listers in existence, and a truly phenomenal racing car from that exciting era of British motorsport. Complete with a Crosthwaite & Gardiner engine, as well as an original Maserati engine, this well-known, much-loved and still highly competitive Lister is eligible for all the top international events.

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