1959 LISTER COSTIN JAGUAR, chassis BHL122: the ex Jonathan Sieff, Costin-bodied car, originally raced by Peter Blond
In the late 50s, the appearance of Listers jostled the established order
In 1957, Brian Lister developed the Lister Jaguar which quickly made its mark as a serious rival to the firmly-established racing teams of the time. With the talented British driver Archie Scott Brown at the wheel, the Lister legend began with prestigious victories over Ferrari and Aston Martin. With the “Knobbly Car”, the former Cambridge wrought iron firm thus climbed into the top division of international car-racing.
With Brian Lister seeking to improve the car still further, the Costin-bodied version saw the light of day in 1959
In 1958, Brian Lister sought to improve the car’s top speed and its road-holding qualities at high speed by giving it a brand new body. The reason was that the knotty features of the original “Knobbly” Lister body created serious air flow disturbance which in turn caused loss of front wheel adherence at high speed. To reduce this effect, the Ecurie Ecosse actually modified the shape of the front bonnet of its car by adding aluminium plates which were riveted to the back of the wings. The modification having been judged successful, it was subsequently also made to other Lister Knobblies. But Brian Lister wanted to go even further….
The right man for the job of developing a faster, more aerodynamically-shaped body was Frank Costin. After designing aircraft as an engineer with the de Havilland Aircraft Company, Costin decided to specialize in applying aerodynamic principles to racing cars. His ensuing work with Lotus gave rise to the Lotus XI body which was also used, with minor modifications, for the Lotus XV.
The prototype Lister Streamliner (the BHL 121) which Costin designed left the Cambridge workshops in 1959. With its new body, entirely covering the wheels and with a more streamlined front, the car achieved a higher top speed and, above all, gained considerably in road-holding qualities at high speed. Frank Costin thus brilliantly accomplished his mission. Over and above these improved performances, Costin gave the Lister a slender, flowing silhouette of a rare elegance.
Only 12 specimens of the Lister Costin were ever produced, which today makes it a particularly rare model.
Chassis BHL 122, ex-Jonathan Sieff, raced by Peter Blond
The BHL 122 was the first of only three cars to be produced by the Cambridge workshops with a Jaguar engine. The other Costins were fitted with either Chevrolet or Maserati engines.
The car was acquired by Jonathan Sieff, who entered it twice at Goodwood with Peter Blond at its wheel. The same year, it took part in the Silverstone International Trophy race and the Nurburgring 1000 km race during which it had an accident. The car then continued its career in the United States, before coming back to Europe in the late 70s, to John Pearson’s workshop.
A car which can race to win the most prestigious events
Today the BHL 122 is a highly competitive car. Powered by its Jaguar 3.8 litre engine with its wide-angle cylinder head and dry sump lubrication, it regularly finishes in the leading places of the many events it is eligible to compete in. It has for many years been maintained and race-prepared by Pearsons Engineering. It just recently finished 4th in the overall ranking at the 2014 Le Mans Classic race. It is also eligible to race in the Goodwood Revival (where it has already competed many times), in the Stirling Moss Trophy race, at Monterey and in the Daytona Classic which will be run for the first time next November (2014). Since it bears British registration plates, the future owner of this extremely rare car will, if he wishes, have the pleasure of driving it on the open road.
: Costin Jaguar
: BHL 122
: 3800 cc Jaguar: wide-angle cylinder head, dry
: 330 HP @ 6 800 rev/min
: Jaguar Type D
: 750 kg