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  • A force to reckon with!

    Danielle Thompson

    IF you are under the age of 50, chances are that Lister’s the protagonist of sitcom Red Dwarf.

    So that means copious amounts of curry, brilliant putdowns and laundry baskets ignored for so long that they’ve developed their own ecosystems.

    But if you grew up in the era of Sir Stirling Moss giving Johnny Foreigner a thoroughly good drubbing on the world’s race circuits and grainy mono newsreels, then Lister was a force to be reckoned with in sports car racing.

    It dominated the Sports Car Club of America’s national championships in 1958 and 1959, for instance, but unless you’ve been to the Goodwood Revival lately I’d understand if you failed to bat an eyelid. But there is another side to Lister’s history – one which, I’m delighted to say, is about to make a comeback. The one which involves giving Jaguars monstrously powerful engines and wonderfully unsubtle bodykits.

    Nearly 20 years ago I was actually lucky to visit Lister’s old factory and was completely won over by  the line of black Jaguar XJSs that’d been kitted out with 7.0-litre V12s and huge spoilers. Its star offering at the time was the faintly ludicrous Storm, a GT racer that cost so much in roadgoing form that the company made a whopping four!

    You’d think the Storm would’ve put Lister off making flashy new cars – for the last few years it’s been building recreations of its 1950s classics instead – but now it’s giving it another go by cranking the Jaguar F-Type’s performance up to cartoonish levels. So obviously the performance is going to be demonic. The Thunder’s a bit like Red Dwarf  - I’m aware that it’s a very acquired taste but I’m completely hooked. It must be a Lister thing.


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