A very colourful guy was Brian Lister. Although, by his own admission, he was not the greatest racing driver in the world, he was a brilliant designer and his cars pretty well dominated sports car competitions during the mid to late 1950s.
His first dabbling in motorsports was with a Morgan 4/4 but he wanted something faster. A customer of his father's engineering firm was John Tojeiro, an innovative chassis engineer who specialise in racing car designs; he bought a chassis from him and installed a JAP V twin cylinder 1100 cc motorbike engine. The resultant car was very light and very powerful but far too fast for him to handle, and he had several near escapes. He met another driver called Archie Scott – Brown who was pretty well beatable at the time. Along with a tuning wizard called Don Moore they started producing sports cars of their own, helped along by a loan from Lister's father.
By 1954 the first in a series of sports car were manufactured; racing success helped them to make a few sales.
By 1957 his Lister-Jaguar was ready for production. It had a tubular frame with an aluminium body; carrying a Jaguar D-type 3.4 litre, six – in – a - line cylinder engine. It was fast. It was particularly fast in the hands of Scot –Brown and in the 1957 season they started 14 races and won 12 of them. Their fellow competitors were soon grumbling that they were so good that there was no point in racing against them!
This was all the more impressive since Scott-Brown suffered from severe physical disabilities which led to the suspension of his racing licence on a number of occasions; suspensions that were bitterly fought against by Lister.
The Jaguar powered cars were very popular with drivers, and on the back of this racing success, sales were steady although some were later fitted with a bigger, Chevrolet V8 engine.
Tragedy was to strike however. Scott – Brown took the chequered flag at the 1957 British Empire Trophy but later that year he crashed a Lister-Jaguar at Spa, the track used for the Belgian Grand Prix, and was killed. Lister was devastated by the death of his friend and although a new body style was created in 1959 his heart was no longer in it. A new spaceframe chassis was needed, but he balked at the cost of developing it. By 1960 the Lister–Jaguar was no more.