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1958 Lister-Jaguar ‘Knobbly'

1958 Lister-Jaguar ‘Knobbly’

A British classic with unreal performance potential

Throughout the 1950’s, Jaguar was busy establishing itself as a major power when it came to racing at Le Mans and sports car racing in general, owing much to such icons as the C-Type and its successor, the D-Type. By 1957, the Cat Badge had acquired as many as four wins at the iconic 24-hour race, not to mention numerous additional wins around the world. Unfortunately, Jag was stopped dead in its tracks when its Browns Lane factory in Coventry burned down in a fire on February 12th of that year, subsequently destroying the brand’s competition vehicles and the means to produce them, not to mention nine D-Types slated for road duty in XKSS specification. However, rather than throwing in the towel, Jaguar responded by turning to its motorsports partner Lister Motor Company, and a deal was struck wherein Lister would supply a body and chassis, while Jaguar would outfit it with an engine and drivetrain components. Thus, the iconic Lister-Jaguar ‘Knobbly’ was born, and with it, further competition success for the British automaker. Equipped with a lightweight aluminum body, advanced suspension and brakes, and a powerful six-cylinder engine, these curvaceous racers had the right stuff to once again propel its drivers to the top of podium.

These days, the Lister-Jaguar ‘Knobbly’ is considered highly collectible, with some examples easily fetching several million dollars at auction. We managed to catch one at the Mecum Auction in Monterey, California, this past August, and present it here for your lust and admiration.

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2016 Lister Jaguar Stirling Moss Edition Prototype

2016 Lister Jaguar Stirling Moss Edition Prototype

It’s nearly identical to the car Moss drove at Silverstone in 1958

Racing was very competitive back in the 1950s and had far fewer regulations as to the limitation of car modification. As such, Brian Lister needed to stay ahead of customer cars on the track, so he created the “Works” Knobbly racing cars that featured a truly lightweight body made out of magnesium – a material that is lightweight, but expensive to source and extremely hard to shape and manipulate. In 1954 Brain Lister met Sir Stirling Moss and the two immediately became friends, with Moss racing for Lister on three separate occasions in one of these “works” Knobbly cars. Moss took pole at Silverstone on July 19th of 1958 and secured a win in a magnesium-bodied Lister that wore the number plate “MVE 303.” Because of this win, Lister is now offering up a limited-run continuation of the “Works” Knobbly.

This continuation of the model comes after a continuation of the Knobbly with an aluminum body, but will only be limited to 10 examples, all of which will be heavily targeted by historic racing fans. The most important part about the Lister Knobbly Jaguar Stirling Moss continuation model is the fact that it too has a hand-formed magnesium body, which also adds even more value to this continuation model, as no magnesium-bodied Listers from the 1950s have survived thus far.

Lawrence Whittaker, the CEO of Lister Motor Company, said, “The launch of these Stirling Moss editions represents a truly unique opportunity. None of the original magnesium-bodied ‘works’ Lister Knobblys survived from the 1950s, so the fortunate few who get to own a Stirling Moss edition will be getting a period-correct continuation ‘works’ Lister made using the same techniques as the original. Secondly, as magnesium is such a difficult-to-source material and requires incredible skill and craftsmanship to form, the Lister Jaguar Knobbly Stirling Moss edition will be the only magnesium-bodied car you can buy – either as a road or racing car – anywhere in the world.”

Adding even more fluff to this continuation model is the fact that this is only the second time that Stirling Moss has put his name on a car, and it is expected to be an instant classic. With that said, customer deliveries are expected to Fall of 2017, so let’s take a closer look at the Lister Jaguar Stirling Moss Edition before all examples are snatched up.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lister Jaguar Stirling Moss Edition Prototype.

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1954 - 1957 Jaguar D-Type

1954 - 1957 Jaguar D-Type

When the 24 Hours of Le Mans started up again after WWII, it took a few years for any one company to clearly dominate the race. The first several races were each wins for different marques, but Jaguar became the first one to win two postwar races in 1953, with the excellent C-Type racer. But, as good as the C-Type was, it was up against the technological marvel that was the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, as well as the Ferrari 375 Plus — a car that was almost more of a giant V-12 engine than it was car. So, even as the C-Type was taking an overall win in 1953, Jaguar was already working on a new version of the car.

The story of the D-Type starts with the XK120, Jaguar’s first postwar sports car. At the time, it was the fastest production car in the world, and so when Jaguar wanted to compete at Le Mans, it just made a competition version of the car (this being the C-Type). But, with the XK120 having debuted in 1948, most of the technology that went into it was prewar and by the mid ’50s there was a lot of new thinking and technology that could be applied — most importantly, a lot of airplane technology.

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1955 Jaguar D-Type Auctioned

1955 Jaguar D-Type Auctioned

Revered by Steve McQueen, who drove the road-going XKSS version, and three-time overall winner of the Le Mans 24 hours race, the D-Type is one of the most famous Jaguars ever. Since with fame usually comes fortune, the few remaining D-Types out there command outrageous prices at auctions, and the following example is likely to provide more proof of that when it goes on sale on March 14, 2015. In fact, the car is expected to fetch around $4 million, which would put it right up there with some of the most expensive Ferraris from the era.

One of only 54 cars produced for privateer customers, this XCD 530 chassis has been used mainly for ice racing, believe it or not, as the car was originally sold to a Finnish professional tennis player who was also known for his racing exploits in F3 midget cars and a Jaguar C-Type. Curt Lincoln, the original owner, apparently wanted to circumvent a large import tax on his D-Type and instructed Jaguar to make the model appear used.

Updated 03/16/2015: As expected this 1955 Jaguar D-Type turned out to be a real success: this Saturday it was auctioned at Amelia Island for $3,675,000.

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