Brian Lister was the son of a wealthy industrialist. He, like many, entered motor racing with his own creation and whilst he dabbled in piloting too, he soon realised the business would reach greater heights with others behind the wheel. With Scott Brown at the wheel, Lister could focus on pushing his designs.
Lister’s cars were originally powered by MG engines, but technical developments meant in 1954, it was replaced by a two-litre Bristol straight-six, a powerplant that victoriously saw off competition from the more powerful C-Type Jaguars at its debut.
Throughout 1955 and 1956, Lister experimented with various engines and also seriously considered Formula 2 racing. Whilst the infamous fire at the Jaguar’s Browns Lane competitions department in February 1957 put an end to their international racing campaigns. What was devastating for Jaguar, meant a turn for the better for Lister. Losing nine D-Types in the fire, their highly potent engines would become available to purchase from Jaguar.
The chassis was adapted to accept the Jaguar engine and the legendary Lister-Jaguar combination was born. Perfecting the power to weight recipe, the works’ Lister was easily the quickest car of the 1957 season and Scott Brown won eleven of the fourteen races he contested in, often humiliating factory machines like the new Aston Martin DBR1s and DBR2s.
Understandably this success grabbed the attention of potential customers and Lister started with the production of privateer cars. To cope with the new power the chassis tubes were of a slightly wider diameter, but other than that little changed to the initial design penned in 1953.
The Listers were generally clothed in a tightly wrapped aluminium body with prominent bulges to clear the wheels, giving them the nick-name 'Knobbly'.
This example sits outside the norm. BHL130 was purchased new by Mike Anthony who received the car as a rolling chassis. He had chosen the Frank Costin- designed body over Lister’s ‘Knobbly’ as it offered a more shapely appearance, like that of the period Jaguars. Mike enlisted his good friend and fellow gentleman racer Bob Hicks to source an American V8 to power the car and registered it ‘TUF 1’.
Hicks came through after finding a donor car in France, he smuggled the Chevrolet engine back to the UK in the boot of his car! Work commenced on the engine immediately, overboring it 5555cc and fitting a wealth of other performance parts. The pistons and long-stroke crankshaft were care of renowned American tuner McGurk and the engine was fitted with bespoke twin-choke Solex carburettors - developed from those in use on the Lancia-Ferrari D50 Grand Prix Car!
Mike enjoyed building and working on his cars himself and having built the Chevrolet V8, he set about racing it throughout the 1959 season. Such was the potency of the V8, BHL130 had the power to dice with the absolute masters of their sport; Sir Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Roy Salvadori to name but a few. The reliability of the home-grown V8 turned out to be his shortcoming, but Mike greatly enjoyed the whole process.
BHL130 did see some successes though. Mike had his taste of it at the 1959 Brighton Speed Trials where he took the top spot in the Sports Cars class despite running a cylinder down - the plug lead was still in his overalls when he ran the fastest time!
In 1960, Mike Anthony removed the V8 and de-registered the car selling it to Mike Pendleton who applied the 'YCD 422' registration mark the car retains to this day. Pendleton took a more traditional approach to power, sourcing a 3.4 Litre Jaguar six-cylinder with a C-Type head from the Ecurie Ecosse race team. He would compete in over 20 races with the car against the likes of Mike Parkes, Mike Salmon and Jim Clark.
In 1963 the car was purchased by Dick Tindell who would become BHL130s longest owner, holding on to the car until 1978. A former RAF rear-gunner and perhaps a bit of an eccentric, Tindell drove the car at numerous races, sprints, hill climbs and trials - on every occasion wearing his BRDC waistcoat and tie. He returned the car to Brighton for the Speed Trials and competed in the last ever race at Crystal Palace. He didn’t win, but Gerry Marshall did and he bought BHL 130 shortly after.
Immortalised by the Goodwood Revival race in his honour, Gerry Marshall was regarded by many as one of the best drivers in history. He took 625 overall and class wins, along with countless championship wins over the course of his five-decade career. Marshall had bought the car from Tindell, having visited him at home and sharing a love for two things, cars and beer. According to Marshall’s son Gregor, much to the annoyance of Mrs Marshall, the car was kept in a heated and double glazed garage- the house was neither! Whilst he raced the car several times, the now ageing Jaguar ‘six’ was plagued with reliability issues; when Marsh Plant owner Geoffrey Marsh offered a five-figure sum ( more than six times what he had paid a year earlier!) the car changed hands.
As part of the sale terms, Marshall was enlisted to pilot the car under the Marsh Plant livery in the new Lloyds & Scottish historic sportscar championship. Subject to him completing the full season and returning the car undamaged, he would receive the balance of the funds. He achieved this, took the championship overall and received the remainder of the money at the end of 1980. Facing ever fiercer competition the following season, BHL130 was retired and placed into storage, replaced by an Aston Martin DBR4.
More recently, the car has been owned by a highly respected collector and owner of the NBA Golden State Warriors, Joe Lacob in the USA. The car was entered at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion where it was piloted by Steve Hill. Lacob had the car professionally rebuilt but strongly stipulated the car must retain its originality and integrity. To this day, BHL130 remains one of the purest and most original Listers of the period.
Returning to the UK in late 2016, BHL130 was prepared ahead of the 2017 historic motorsports season. It has since campaigned at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, the Goodwood Revival, Silverstone Classic, Spa Classic and Donington Historic Festival.
BHL130 has fully documented ownership history from new and has been owned and raced by several other prominent racers since. Each of the cars’ 13 owners are documented in the history and additionally on the website comprehensively documenting the car's history. Furthermore, it is accompanied by a current FIA HTP, valid until 2028.
A fabulous part of history, this highly original Lister Costin is ready to once more take the fight to the racetrack with a new custodian. Available to view by appointment at our showroom just outside London immediately, it is accompanied by a spares package.
Image credits and further information courtesy of the owner: https://www.bhl130.com/
The DK™ Logo and DK Engineering™ are registered trade marks of D.K. Engineering (Holdings) Limited
© Copyright 2022 - All Rights Reserved