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Meet Lister’s £1 million Stirling Moss special edition Knobbly

Built to a 1958 spec, only ten will be made. So you’d better get in quick

A couple of years ago British sportscar maker Lister returned to the fold with a recreation of the Knobbly; a car designed to mark new ownership and to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the company’s first racing car.

The 2013 model had a top speed of 181mph and would do 0-60mph in a stonking 4.3 seconds. Today though, there’s a new version that will go even faster.

The car pictured above is the Lister Jaguar Knobbly Stirling Moss special edition. A lighter, sleeker replica of the racer that Moss drove at Silverstone in 1958, it will be the only magnesium-bodied car in the world when deliveries begin in the autumn.

Priced at £1 million, Lister say that they will only be building ten iterations of the historic machine, and by the end of the big unveiling at the Royal Automobile Club in London this morning, one buyer had already been found.

Underneath, the new Knobbly is very similar to its predecessor: a straight-six, 3.8-litre Jaguar D Type engine provides 337bhp, which is enough to propel the car from 0-60mph in under four seconds, with 295lb ft of torque available at 4,250rpm.

Working your way up the four-speed gearbox, you’ll hit 100mph from a standing start in a shade under 10 seconds, en route to a top speed of 184mph. Not bad for a car designed nearly 60 years ago.

“The launch of these Stirling Moss editions represents a truly unique opportunity,” says Lister CEO Lawrence Whittaker. “None of the original ‘works’ Lister Knobblys survived from the 1950s, so the fortunate few who get to own a Stirling Moss edition will be getting a period-correct continuation ‘works’ Lister made using the same techniques as the original.”

It’s the weight reduction that makes the 2016 car so special. According to Whittaker, the late company founder Brian Lister was “obsessed with saving weight”, knowing that such gains would improve the speed and handling of his vehicles.

But while cars sold to third parties were constructed using heavier steel and aluminium components, what he didn’t mention was that the works racers utilised a much lighter, 16-gauge steel chassis and a magnesium body.

And such was the secrecy behind these details, Sir Stirling Moss himself only found out about them recently.

“These magnesium-bodied continuations redefine the word ‘special’: they are hugely collectible and they will be very fast indeed,” said the 86-year-old. “They will be winners on the track – just as they were in their day.”

Tipping the scales at just 841kg, we’re inclined to believe him.

There are downsides to using magnesium though. Not only is it incredibly difficult to source nowadays, it is also perilously tricky to shape: a single body takes 18 weeks to build, and a sole mistake at any point in the process will render a panel useless.

No wonder they’re only making ten.

As if the limited numbers didn’t make it exclusive enough, the new Knobbly has the added rarity of being only the second car Sir Stirling Moss has ever given his name to.

The other, of course, was Mercedes’ roofless edition of the SLR.

Asked why he’d placed the Knobbly in that company, Moss replied: “Because it was a really good, interesting car to drive. It genuinely was a very nice car.

“It had quite a lot of horsepower. It was terrific. It was a winning car. I would say that if you were in a race in its era, you certainly had as good a chance as anybody of winning. It was very good.”

So good in fact, that Moss will personally hand over the keys to each new owner when they come to collect their cars; a ceremony which will be followed by dinner with the legendary driver and the chance to hear his stories face to face.

However, Moss warned potential customers against delaying their purchase. Jovially referring to his age, he said at the launch: “We don’t know how long we’ve got!”

Knobbly buyers will get to choose between either a road legal or a racing spec vehicle, the latter of which comes with an FIA HTP passport that allows entry into the Sir Stirling Moss Trophy series and other historic events.

The green and yellow paint seen above comes as standard, as does a bespoke interior fine-tuned to individual tastes.

£1 million for all that? What a bargain.

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