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

rare rides a lister le mans from 1990 isnt your fathers 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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  • Arthur Dailey For the Hornet less expensive interior materials/finishings, decontent just a little, build it in North America and sell it for less and everyone should be happy with both the Dodge and the Alfa.
  • Bunkie I so wanted to love this car back in the day. At the time I owned a GT6+ and I was looking for something more modern. But, as they say, this car had *issues*. The first of which was the very high price premium for the V8. It was a several thousand dollar premium over the TR-7. The second was the absolutely awful fuel economy. That put me off the car and I bought a new RX-7 which, despite the thirsty rotary, still got better mileage and didn’t require premium fuel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had this reaction because, two years later, I test-drove a leftover that had a $2,000 price cut. I don’t remember being impressed, the RX-7 had spoiled me with how easy it was to own. The TR-8 didn’t feel quick to me and it felt heavy. The first-gen RX was more in line with the idea of a light car that punched above its weight. I parted ways with both the GT6+ and the RX7 and, to this day, I miss them both.
  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts I like the styling of this car inside and out, but not any of the powertrains. Give it the 4xe powertrain - or, better yet, a version of that powertrain with the 6-cylinder Hurricane - and I'd be very interested.
  • Daniel J I believe anyone, at any level, should get paid as much as the market will bear. Why should CEOs have capped salaries or compensation but middle management shouldn't? If companies support poor CEOs and poor CEOs keep getting rewarded, it's up to the consumer and investors to force that company to either get a better CEO or to reduce the salary of that CEO. What I find hilarious is that consumers will continue to support companies where the pay for the CEOs is very high. And the same people complain. I stopped buying from Amazon during the pandemic. Everyone happily buys from them but the CEO makes bank. Same way with Walmart and many other retailers. Tim Cook got 100m in compensation last year yet people line up to buy Iphones. People who complain and still buy the products must not really care that much.