Rare Rides: A Lister Le Mans From 1990 Isn't Your Father's XJS

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a lister le mans from 1990 isn t your father s xjs

A little while back, we featured a red modified Jaguar XJS that spent some time at a joint Jaguar-TWR shop named JaguarSport and emerged as the XJR-S.

Today we have a look at another possible direction one can go when modifying an XJS. Presenting the Lister-Jaguar Le Mans.

The Lister family started out in engineering in 1890, when George Lister Engineering was founded. The automotive portion of the George Lister Engineering company was founded by Brian Lister in 1954. Lister was a racing driver who decided to put his knowledge to good use. He began developing modified versions of sports cars from Jaguar and Bristol, then took them racing.

Experiencing success in races across Europe (with Stirling Moss piloting their racing car, known as the Knobbly), the company wound down its activities by the early 1960s, going quiet for some time. That is, until its sale in 1986.

After being sold to engineering entrepreneur Laurence Pearce by Brian Lister and his sons, the engineer embarked upon a commercial rebirth for the brand. Enter Le Mans.

A lot more modified and a little more rare the the XJR-S, the Le Mans was built by Lister at its Leatherhead, England factory. Part of a run of cars beginning in 1986, this 1990 model is one of just 90 examples.

Unlike the XJR-S, which utilized the 6.0-liter Jaguar V12 as a starting point, the Le Mans kept the old 5.3-liter unit throughout production. The company immediately bored displacement out to six liters and added four additional fuel injectors. The crew fiddled with the engine management to get more power, and some internals were provided by Cosworth for extra sports measure.

The end result? The V12 now produced 482 horsepower, rocketing the coupe to over 200 miles per hour. Suspension and braking were both thoroughly reworked as well, along with that additional fat bodywork to cover up the huge tires.

The interior was re-trimmed in the bright red over parchment we see here. Recaro seats hide beneath those hides, and the scarlet carpeting seems all too fitting for the extreme exterior. Note the very non-XJS manual transmission.

According to Silverstone Auctions, there was a more extreme version of the Le Mans: 25 owners sent their standard 6.0-liter Le Mans cars back to Lister, where the engine was upgraded to a 7.0-liter V12. Cor!

The success of the Le Mans would lead Lister to produce a new racing car and accompanying homologation units in the early 1990s — the Storm (this is a separate Rare Rides). The company changed hands again in 2013, becoming part of the Warrantywise company. In 2016 Lister started production of exact-specification Knobblys, complete with personal delivery by Stirling Moss. He delivered the cars until he retired from public appearances in January 2018.

Today’s rare beast is located in the tax shelter of Luxembourg, and is yours for $61,505. Have your Swiss bank account info handy?

[Images via seller]

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4 of 21 comments
  • Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.
  • Lorenzo They may as well put a conventional key ignition in a steel box with a padlock. Anything electronic is more likely to lock out the owner than someone trying to steal the car.
  • Lorenzo Another misleading article. If they're giving away Chargers, people can drive that when they need longer range, and leave the EV for grocery runs and zipping around town. But they're not giving away Chargers, thy're giving away chargers. What a letdown. What good are chargers in California or Nashville when the power goes out?
  • Luke42 I'm only buying EVs from here on out (when I have the option), so whoever backs off on their EV plans loses a shot at my business.