In the early 1980s, British motor racing journalist and historian Doug Nye was commissioned by the famous Yoshiyuki Hayashi collection to acquire an “affordable” Lister-Jaguar. Nye contacted Historic racing Lister specialists John Harper and John Pearson, who subsequently assembled this car to Nye’s order. Assembled from a collection of original, made-in-period Lister-Jaguar components, including an original Lister-made chassis frame that had been discarded by its first owner following an accident in a British race meeting during 1959. The new aluminium body was built by the renowned Bob Smith in the ‘Knobbly’ style.
During Nye’s tenure pre-export, the car was photographed by the famous motor racing photographer Geoffrey Goddard, and it then starred as a feature car in an issue of the leading American magazine ‘Road & Track’, with general Lister-Jaguar text by Nye. The car was fitted with a correct Jaguar XK-series 6-cylinder twin-cam engine, and had been finished in the works Lister-Jaguar racing colours of bright green with a yellow central stripe and nose intake surround.
In later years the car was sold from the Hayashi Collection to America. For many years it was thought to be BHL 116, a myth that Doug eventually cleared up in one of his Lister books. The car subsequently returned to the UK where for ten years it was raced by Bob Gilbert.
Gilbert raced the Lister extensively with the Vintage Sports Car Club, Historic Sports Car Club and Bentley Drivers Club where he has gained outright wins and placing’s. He was also a regular competitor in the British Racing Drivers’ Club 50s Sports Car Championship where podium finishes were achieved. In his hands, the Lister competed twice in the British Grand Prix support race at Silverstone as well as appeared at venues as diverse as Macau, Spa-Francorchamps, Nogaro, Ricard-Castellet and Imola, in addition to nearly every leading UK circuit.
Gilbert sold the Lister, still with the part original chassis, to a British collector who owned the original car the damaged chassis came from. He took the remains of the original chassis from BHL 168S and had Pearsons build him a new chassis, this work being completed by CKL Developments.
Since then, and in the custody of a new owner, further improvements have been made. A correct wide angle head, dry sump engine built by Valley Motorsport with 45 DCOE Webbers and a power output of around 350bhp has been fitted. Additionally, the diff was also replaced last year.
This knobbly has just been assigned a Lister chassis number, BHL 168S. The HTP papers have just been renewed. In summary, this is one of the best and most well-known of the recreation cars, having been commission by the marque’s leading authority Doug Nye and built by Harper & Pearson, the most respected names in their field. The muscular and extremely competitive Lister-Jaguar ‘Knobbly’ sports-racing cars built in the late 1950s today play a prominent part in Historic sports car competition. BHL 168S offers a the chance to race a potentially front-running 1950s sports racing car at a cost significantly less than one of the original Brian Lister built cars.