Lister Storm (1993)

It is amazing that a small tuner like Lister could build a 200-mph supercar. Before creating Storm, Lister used to make business by modifying Jaguar XJS, enlarging its V12 engine from 5.3 to a full 7-liter, replacing its internals with lightweight Cosworth pistons and con-rods, bigger valves, faster cams and forged crankshaft etc. Many of these components came off the shelf from XJR-12, Jaguar's group C race car that won Le Mans in 1990. The engine was good for nearly 600 horsepower, with huge torque to match. It formed the basis of the Storm supercar.

The early 1990s was the Gold Rush of supercars. Lister owner Laurence Pearce determined to build one of his own. He designed an aluminum spaceframe chassis around his mega V12 and 6-speed Getrag gearbox. The styling was one of the ugliest ever seen, and its shape was seriously compromised with mass market components. Nevertheless, its engineering was up to the job. Although the Lister was nowhere as advanced as Ferrari F40 or Bugatti EB110 due to its small-scale investment, it was by no means old-fashioned. Its chassis employed aluminum honeycomb structure. The body shell comprised aluminum sheets and carbon-fiber panels. The front bonnet was set unusually low and steep for a front-engined machine, especially one with a big V12. This was made possible by mounting the dry-sump V12 low and far back in the chassis – even partially intruded into the cockpit. As a result, the car had a good weight distribution, which undoubtedly boosted its racing prospect. Despite of a high drag coefficient of 0.35, it had enough power to crack 200 mph.

Lister initially built 4 road cars, each sold at an eye-popping £220,000 to make sure the project profitable. After that, it built another 6 race cars to enter Le Mans and international GT championships. In the first 5 years, its competition life came fruitless under the shadow of McLaren F1, Porsche 911 GT1 and then Mercedes CLK GTR. However, as purpose-built race cars were banned from 1999, Lister finally won the FIA GT world championship in 2000 against the field pretty much left with Chrysler Vipers. It kept racing until retirement in 2005.

Unlike the race cars, the Storm road cars were pretty heavy and luxurious, more like an Aston Martin but at higher performance level. Its interior was fully leather trimmed. Standard air-conditioning, sound system, electric seats and a sizable boot made it unusually practical for a supercar of its days. Being a 2+2, it was described as the world's fastest 4-seater, eclipsing Ferrari 456GT by a comfortable margin.

According to Lister, it delivered 25 road cars to customers until 2007, including two new orders it received that year. As Pearce and his small workshop have virtually nothing else to make, the Storm is believed to be still available to special orders today. I just wonder why people still wanted this ugly duck after so many years, especially when its price has been inflated to £400,000.


Lister Storm
Year of production
No. produced
min. 25 units
Layout, Gearbox
Front-engined, Rwd, 6M
V12, sohc, 2v/cyl
6996 cc
598 hp
580 lbft
1664 kg
Top speed
200 mph (c)
0-60 mph
4.2 sec (est)

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