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First Lister car for sale

Published 27 January 2015

The first Lister is for being offered sale by private treaty at one of Europe’s leading auction houses.

The 1951 Tojeiro-JAP is the machine that put Brian Lister, Scott Brown and legendary engine tuner Don Moore on the road to countless racing successes.

Now the first car to carry a BHL chassis number, after its creator Brian Horace Lister, is for sale at H&H.

Designed by John Tojeiro (who like Lister was based in Cambridge) the spare and sparse two-seater was only the second machine he’d built.

Lister, a keen amateur racing driver, was intrigued by the machine, buying it with a view to installing a powerful JAP vee-twin 1100 mated to a Jowett Jupiter four-speed manual gearbox – a concept inspired by an article in The Autocar by J. Onslow Bartlett.

The small car had a simple aluminium body, with cycle wings and a fabric-covered tail. It was light and powerful: a potent 750-1100 class entry in the popular sprints and hill climbs of the day. Lister named it ‘The Asteroid’.

The car was raucously fast and temperamental, so Lister turned to fellow racer and engine tuner Don Moore to tame his creation. Lister had already decided that he had ‘too much imagination to make a proper racing driver,’ so let demon MG racer Archie Scott Brown take the wheel.

The combination of Moore and Scott Brown made the already fast Lister-modified Tojeiro go like ‘a rocket’, as Moore later put it. In 1952 and 1953 the small Scot lapped every other car in his class, frequently winning the 1100-1500 category.

In the summer of 1953, another of Lister’s friends, Peter Hughes, took over the Asteroid. Hughes, technical editor of the Scottish magazine Top Gear, campaigned the car energetically up to the mid-1950s, whence it passed through several owner’s hands until being discovered in a barn less most of its original bodywork by its current owner in 2009, still carrying its ‘BHL 1’ stamping.

The restoration that followed saw the car returned to its original specification, powered by an authentic JAP 1100cc vee-twin connected to an equally correct Jowett ’box. It is road registered ‘3 DPT’, the last of its period number plates, dating to September 1959. A return to the track in 2012 yielded a first in class at Bo'ness hill climb, with another class win at Shelsley Walsh in May 2014.

Damian Jones, H&H Classics sales manager, offers this historically significant car complete with an extensive history file, a copy of its first buff logbook and MSA Historic Technical Passport.

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