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The Lister Knobbly is back as a £295k road legal continuation

Race it, take it to the shops, or just ogle it: it’s the new-old Knobbly

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The ranks of continuation classic sports cars have swelled again. Joining Jaguar and Aston Martin in the ‘classic car with modern assembly’ game is British marque Lister Motor Company, with the exquisite reborn Knobbly.

Where to start? With the gorgeous hand-rolled aluminium bodywork that takes 500 hours to beat into the curvaceous form that gave the car its nickname? Or the tubular chassis the panels are mounted on, built using the same jigs as the original cars over sixty years ago, perhaps?

No – the Lister’s real claim to new age fame, its ace in the hole, is the fact you can drive it on the road as well as race it. It’s completely street-legal.

The reason is that Lister is basically a minnow, making tiny numbers of cars. Jaguar and Aston Martin’s reborn E-Types and DB4s are hamstrung by the fact they’re essentially another model by a global mass-producer of cars, so they’d be subject to safety and environmental legislation that’d play havoc with their originality if you wanted them equipped with numberplates. That isn’t a concern for the Knobbly.

And yes, we did mention racing. Because the Knobby has been built to 1950s spec with only a handful of concessions to modern safety, it’s as eligible for classic motorsport as its six-decade old sisters. And it ought to be competitive too, because this thing’s really, really fast.

Power comes from a Jaguar-spec six-cylinder engine, as per the original’s D-Type roots. You can have a 4.2-litre version for £225,000, or a 3.8-litre model for £295,000. Drive arrives at the rear wheels via a four-speed manual gearbox, and because that’s about it in terms of heavy bits, the car only weighs 787kg. For the 330bhp 4.2-litre version, Lister is reckoning on 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds, and a top speed of 181mph. You could genuinely see off Caymans and F-Types in this thing, though it’ll be a rare giggle, as only ten examples of the ‘new’ Knobbly are planned, with deliveries starting in 2018.

So far as modern sensibilities go, you get proper mirrors, indicators and foglights, warning lights for brake fluid and fuel level, a sunken fuel cap and padded leather dashboard. If things go badly wrong you’ll be glad of the collapsible steering column, rollover protection and the removal of the pretty but slightly lethal wheel spinners.

Let’s not dwell on that, however. Instead, enjoy this tantalising comment from company boss Lawrence Whittaker. “This is a hugely important step for us…to offer the excitement and thrills of driving a historically significant race car on the road. Our new road legal Knobbly also paves the way for more future road-going Lister models too.”

Yes, this is just the start. Traffic jams around Goodwood are going to be even prettier in the next couple of years…

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