Ex-works, driven by Ivor Bueb and Bruce Halford in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans
Previously owned by Peter Kaus, and displayed in the remarkable Rosso Bianco Museum
Raced extensively in historic events over the last decade and presented in race-ready condition
Dominating the British Sports Car racing in the 1957 and 1958 seasons with Archie Scott-Brown driving, Brian Lister developed a new car for 1959 with aerodynamicist Frank Costin. Constructed around the same basic chassis as the ‘Knobbly’ but incorporating Costin’s aims of low frontal area and low drag, the 1959 Lister-Jaguar could not have looked further removed from the previous season’s car.
The first ‘Works’ Costin constructed, chassis no. BHL 2-59 was apparently driven to a debut victory by double Le Mans winner Ivor Bueb in the Sussex Trophy race at Goodwood on Easter Monday 1959. Two weeks later, Bueb finished 5th in the British Empire Trophy at Oulton Park, sharing fastest lap with the 2nd-placed Jack Brabham’s Cooper Monaco. At Crystal Palace in May, Bueb was 4th behind the Coopers of Salvadori and Jim Russell and the Lotus of Graham Hill. The following month, the car was entered at Le Mans in a two-car ‘Works’ team, driven by Bueb and Lister stalwart Bruce Halford and confirmed by accompanying Le Mans entry forms. As a round of the 3.0-litre-limited World Sports Car Championship, all Jaguar-engined cars were forced to run the notoriously unreliable de-stroked version of the hitherto bulletproof XK engine.
Although the race started positively for Lister, the sister car of Walt Hansgen and Peter Blond suffered engine failure after four hours. Running as high as 4th after eight hours – BHL 2-59 succumbed to the same fate after 121 laps. Bueb’s 6th place at the British Grand Prix meeting at Aintree aside, this was BHL 2-59’s ‘Works’ swansong. Following Brian Lister’s decision to withdraw from racing the following week – the car was offered for sale at the end of the 1959 season by renowned London car dealership The Chequered Flag.
BHL 2-59 made its way to California sometime in early 1960. For the next two seasons it was raced by Dave Ridenour extensively in SCCA, USAC and California Sports Car Club events, taking wins at Riverside and Laguna Seca and other podium placings at Cotati, Stockton, Sacramento and Vaca Valley. His last recorded outing with the car was a 2nd place at Cotati in May 1962.
After the Lister-Jaguar’s return to the UK in 1983, it raced in a handful of historic races with new owner Chris Drake, before being sold to Peter Kaus for display in his Rosso Bianco Museum. Residing there until acquired by the consignor in 2006, it has been a frequent historic racing competitor, appearing at the Le Mans Classic and Goodwood Revival, and has enjoyed multiple victories in VSCC and AMOC 1950s Sports Car events.
Accompanied by a recent report from marque specialist Chris Keith-Lucas, he identifies the chassis as retaining several features unique to Costin Listers, including the distinctive rectangular chassis cross member and the rear trailing arm pick-ups being located outside the main chassis tubes (and not inside, as on earlier Knobblys). The report identifies that the car is fitted with a works specification 3.8-litre dry-sump engine with wide-angle cylinder head and a fully syncromesh XK gearbox.
Fully race prepared and ready to compete with only one outing after a recent engine rebuild, BHL 2-59 is ready for use in any of the multitude of 1950s sports car races for which it is eligible.
Please note that contrary to the printed catalogue, the estimate on this car is €750.000 – €950.000. Veuillez noter que, contrairement aux indications du catalogue imprimé, l'estimation sur cette voiture est de 750 000-950 000 €.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/pa19.