Knobbly: knob – bly, adjective, British— “having lumps that give a misshapen appearance”
In the history of motor racing, some less-than-flattering designs have graced the finish line – whale-tailed Chaparrals and Superbirds come to mind. However, in the ‘50s, when the fledgling science of aerodynamics seemed directly connected to sex appeal, no one – especially not Jaguar – could be accused of producing cars worthy of the title misshapen.
Still, Knobbly is the name that was given to Brian Lister’s small run of Jaguar-based racers. Built around the famous Jaguar inline six, which both the original and continuation cars use in 3.8-liter guise, the car was good enough to deliver Sir Stirling Moss to the checkered flag at Silverstone in 1958, a career-defining achievement for a then 29-year-old Moss.
Buy It for the Looks, Keep It for the Investment
Not only do the continuation cars sport a similar powerplant to the one that would have motivated Moss’s winning racecar, each one is also a bona-fide vintage racer – you can take delivery and have it out at the track the very next day, if you’ve got the guts.
To salute the legendary race pilot, Jaguar and Lister have teamed up to build a continuation run of 10 Knobbly racers. True to the ‘50s competitors they’re based on, the continuation cars will be entirely handmade from magnesium. The lightweight material is famous for being difficult to work with, part of the reason the car’s million-dollar pricetag is being hailed as a bargain.
Why would Jaguar even bother doing this? For one, they can. Their sales were up a phenomenal 37%, so they can afford to have some fun. And second, doing something like this is giving them a ton of attention.
They’ve done this before, too. Diehard Jaguar fans might be familiar with the 10-car run released in 2014 which, while similar to these new Stirling Moss edition cars, used aluminum bodies.
The first of the magnesium continuation cars made its appearance at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, with the official announcement of its availability coming during a special event hosted by famed British racing driver Alain de Cadenet. The choice of magnesium makes this particular run of cars even more collectible than the ones that came before.
“None of the original magnesium-bodied works Lister Knobblys survived from the 1950s, so the fortunate few who get to own a Stirling Moss edition will be getting a period-correct continuation works Lister made using the same techniques as the original. Secondly, as magnesium is such a difficult-to-source material and requires incredible skill and craftsmanship to form, the Lister Jaguar Knobbly Stirling Moss edition will be the only magnesium-bodied car you can buy – either as a road or racing car – anywhere in the world,” notes Lister CEO Lawrence Whittaker.
Each of the cars in this very limited run includes a certificate signed by Sir Stirling Moss himself, though rumor has it that the perks of ownership include delivery by the famed racer himself. Finding out will cost you a cool million dollars.