Lister in the Sun

Lister Race Car Replica

When creating, one of the many tasks we had was to make a list of every make and model car. During that process, I learned there are alot of car makes I’ve never heard of. Let’s not debate if a “Kit Car” is a make or not cause in this case, the kit is bad ass and one I wanted to know more about.1958 Lister, lister race car
I ran into Steve Breckley (not Bob Gribble as I said) at a day cruise in in downtown Chandler and this 1958 Lister Replica.

So what the heck is a Lister? Brian Lister built these high powered race cars first in 1954. Thanks to The Jaguar Club of America and this LINK we can tell more of the story.

In 1956, a fire destroyed the Jaguar factory which meant that top racers like Briggs Cunningham had no successor to the D-Type, which was already beginning to show it’s age at the track. Enter the Lister. Impressed by Lister’s success, Jaguar offered Lister sponsorship and access to a supply of D-Type engines.

To house the Jag motor, Lister built a lightweight steel space frame, with bodies made from aluminum and in some cases, magnesium. By 1957, he made the car known as the “Knobbly Lister” named for it’s unusual flowing bodywork. Seventeen Knobbly Listers were built, with most of them delivered to the United States… the first two to Cunningham, to supplement and eventually replace his aging D-Types. Another 7 Listers went to a partnership of Jim Hall and Carrol Shelby, who equipped them with the up and coming Chevrolet V8. (Now we’re talking!)

Muscle Motorsports powerSteve’s Lister is powered by a V8 alright! How about a GM Nascar SB-2 engine tuned for the street. At 358 cubes and 646HP, this car must move a fast as it looks. It helps that Steve’s an old time flathead dragster racer from the ’50’s and owns Muscle Motorsports which sells used racing parts and Nascar based “Street Fighter” engines. He’s also got 5 land speed records too. Six hundred plus ponies in a car that weighs 2100 lbs, maybe this is starting to make sense? (Click the pic to see it full size)

The original Lister car was first made as a replica by California’s Chuck Beck then later by Avanti in Georgia. A company’s still making them now: This car is an Avanti with serial number 38. It sports a custom frame with C4 ‘vette suspension goodies and a Rankin road race 4-speed trans backing up that potent small block.

Unfortunately, the Lister story doesn’t have a happy ending. Brian Lister’s friend and driver Archie Scott Brown (a fantastic driver who overcame several physical handicaps to set records in his Jag powered Lister) was killed at the Spa Circuit in Belgium. His Lister slid wide into a concrete post then rolled into a ball and its experimental magnesium body burst into flames. Archie died the next day from his burns and Lister stopped making cars in 1959.

So with that, check out Steve’s sweet ride. This car struck me immediately when I saw it in Chandler. I hope to catch up with Bob again to fill in the blanks on this story and get a few more pics.

1958 Lister (Avanti)

1958 Lister 1958 Lister

Here’s a few places to look if you want to know more about the Listers.

History of the Lister – Kit Carchives

Great pictures from

Bob Gribble’s Lister site:

Finally, the fact riddled and hard to read Wikipedia story about Lister Cars

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