Lister Knobbly | PH Test Drive

You have a choice to make when driving the Lister Knobbly continuation. With a chunky chassis rail passing directly underneath the pedal box, pivoting your right foot from the throttle pedal to the brake isn't entirely straightforward. Ideally, you'd position your heel exactly where that hefty steel tube sits. So if you right foot brake, you find yourself lifting that leg up and dragging it over the chassis rail to jump between the two pedals. It works, but the half-second it takes to do so can feel like an eternity when you have to stop the car in a hurry.

The alternative is to brake with your left foot, which dances unobstructed between the brake and clutch pedals while your right foot hovers merrily over the throttle. And all of a sudden you're left-foot braking in a 1950s sports racing car on the public highway, fingers wrapped around the narrow wooden rim of the steering wheel, beginning to believe you might be Stirling Moss.

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The Knobbly continuation - in reality a brand new car, but built to the original designs using the original jigs in the original factory, and even by some of the original workers, amazingly, so perhaps closer to a classic machine than a new one - has the same power-to-weight ratio as the McLaren 570GT. Over a cresting, sinewy stretch of B-road, though, I would back myself to be faster in something like a Mercedes-AMG A45 S than the Lister. I'm just far more accustomed to a modern super-hatch than I am an old-style racer.

But for sense of occasion? The Knobbly makes the Mercedes-AMG look like a child's tricycle in that respect. And the 570GT, for that matter. Pedalling the Lister is as rewarding as driving on the road can ever get. You're unlikely to see another coming your way, too. Only a couple of dozen road-going continuations have been built, and only two are listed for sale in the classifieds. Both for Β£375,000. Yes, that buys a lot of modern supercar, but as attitudes towards cars and driving change in the coming years, it might actually be the case that there's more opportunity to enjoy a slower 1950s performance car on the road than a faster modern one. Because engagement trumps outright speed every single time. Thanks for watching.

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Comments (29) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Imafreeman 26 Oct 2019

    Those are the types of cars that should be available (at affordable levels) today. Basic engineering, fun to drive, no touch screen rubbish or 85 ECU nightmares and certainly no self driving automation.
    Love it, but can't afford it. 🙁

  • Mikebentley 26 Oct 2019

    Absolutely wonderful car. I am biased slightly (see garage). A brilliant thoughtful and intelligent review by this journalist. It encapsulates what you get from a classic, an engaged and fully emersive drive and he was clearly having so much fun in 2nd and 3rd gear.
    I think I now have a new lottery car. I’ll take mine in a period metallic please.

  • V8 FOU 26 Oct 2019

    You can keep all your Mclarens, Ferraris, AMG's,etc This is the real deal!

  • Cylon2007 26 Oct 2019

    That sounds PROPER smile love it

  • Edmundo2 26 Oct 2019

    Fantastic. Great report from Dan and it's clear he means every word and is struggling to contain himself. Theres not enough raw new cars around and this just goes to show that an old school formula still provides the best experience.

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