After almost a year of painstaking restoration work, a new Lister-Jaguar Knobbly hit the Goodwood Motor Circuit this week for a little light pre-Revival testing. ‘Just another’ Knobbly? Hardly. This one’s the daddy.
‘Its chassis number is BHL101,’ says Chris Keith-Lucas whose CKL Engineering in East Sussex has just completed its nut-and-bolt rebirth. ‘That stands for Brian Harold Lister number one. It’s the first Knobbly he ever made.’
The white 1958 car has an interesting history. From Lister’s Cambridge factory it went straight to the Cunningham team in the US. ‘The car has an American racing history with some really notable Cunningham drivers,’ Chris tells GRR. It returned to the UK in the early 1970s when it competed in historic racing, apparently getting a bit shabby in the process – par for the course then.
Knobbly the First is here to take part in the Sussex Trophy and afterwards will be going to its new home in Germany with owner, and Revival regular, Helmut Rothenberger.
Helmut had been chasing the car for five years before he finally got his chance to buy it. He had bid for it at auctions in America and here at Revival but both sales fell through and it was third time lucky, in Monaco, that he finally got it.
’I had just 10 minutes to decide,’ Helmut tells us. ‘But I had always wanted this car so I had to have it. This is the Knobbly. The car that appeared on the front of the memorial card at Brian Lister’s funeral, and the car the new Lister company used as the model for the re-created Knobblys.’
And will it make a great Revival racer? ‘It is running well,’ says Helmut. ‘There are a few small things to do and I have to get acquainted with the car. I know the track well but not in the Knobbly so I have to understand the car. I am enjoying getting to know it around the circuit, especially in the sunshine.’
After Revival the car will be joining others in Helmut’s collection including Jaguar C-type, Invicta and Aston Martin DB2 works car, all of which has has raced at Revival in the past.
This year as well as the Knobbly he will be taking part in the Brooklands Trophy in his 1929 Mercedes SSK.
Nice to have the choice!