Looks insane! What is it?
This is to the Jag XJS what a cheetah is to a kitten- a beefed-up, razor-sharp version of Jaguar's 70s grand tourer. Making its first appearance at the tail end of the 1980s, the model spearheaded the return of Lister, a bespoke manufacturer previously known for models such as the Lister Bristol, and the acclaimed Lister Jaguar, which came to symbolise the now affectionately-named "Knobbly" era of cars, all of which have earned their place in history. However, with the Le Mans, Lister rightfully earned their position as one of the finest bespoke marques around, proving their worth as a tuning house as well as a manufacturer.
Brilliant- what did they change?
For the Le Mans, the most obvious changes first began with the outside. The car gained new headlight surrounds, a chunkier front bumper and side skirts, custom alloys, complemented by large, sculpted wheel arches, and a small spoiler separating the brake lights. Of course, this car wasn't at all about indicator clusters- the most notable change was to be found under the skin.
Credit- The Lister Motor Company
To start with, Lister increased the capacity of the already sizeable 5.3 Jaguar V12, upping it to a thirsty 6 litres. The fuel injection system was also upgraded, with 4 additional injectors finding their way into the system. Meanwhile, the responsibility of providing the connecting rods was handed over to the legendary tuning house Cosworth, which along with specially forged pistons gave the Le Mans a compression ratio of 11:7:1. Topped off with new bearings and a specialised oil system capable of handling the massive power increase, the Le Mans bore little resemblance mechanically to the luxury grand tourer it was based on.
Not bad, what could it do then?
As to be expected, when Lister were finished with the Le Mans, it's safe to say that the car now packed a considerable punch. While the original XJS was by no means pedestrian- the original car packed an impressive 290 bhp- the wealth of modifications and improvements made to the Le Mans meant that a hefty 482 bhp had now been shoehorned under the bonnet, making the Lister more powerful than purpose-built exotics such as the Ferrari F40 (478 bhp). This huge power increase also translated to a massive improvement in performance, with the Le Mans taking only 4.3 seconds to reach 60 mph, pipping most of its contemporaries in the process.
The original XJS
Sounds mad! Was it popular?
Naturally, a car of this nature was never going to be mass produced, so it's hardly surprising that Lister only produced 90 examples of the Le Mans. Nevertheless, the Le Mans is fondly remembered by those who drove it, and it remains an extremely desirable performance classic. Most of them eventually found their way into private collections, and the few examples that still remain on the second hand market are highly sought-after.
Credit- The Lister Motor Company
Right, how's that classic status coming along then?
Today, there are very few original Le Mans left on the market, as most of them are now privately owned, and it doesn't appear the owners want to part with them. The few examples I could find online have all rocketed price-wise, with pristine models rising well above the £100,000 mark, so it looks for the moment that the Lister Le Mans is well out of reach. Nevertheless, another automotive legend, that deserves to be fondly remembered.