I contacted Mike Anthony, now 82, winner of the Firle Hill Climb. Enjoy:
Firle Hill Climb (BARC) Oct 2, 1960
M. Anthony, Lister-Corvette 5,555 c.c., overall f.t.d. 26.08 secs
New record for Class 12, previously held by M.A. Knights, Lister, 26.46 sec.
Q. Firstly I’d like to know about the Lister – where you got it from, what you did to it, install Chevrolet engine? Was it YCD 422?
My, my, you do ask a lot of questions. The car came from a gentleman called Brian Lister. He had a factory in Cambridge and they sold chassis, body, running gear etc. So I bought one. I shared the car with Malcolm Knights, a dentist from Eastbourne.
I bought an engine from an American troop car dump near Paris. The block was bored to the maximum capacity possible, pistons and a stroked crank were bought from a firm called McGurk in California. I made a dry sump set up for the engine. Malcolm made an inlet manifold ( very, very, badly) and the Solex factory in London made me 8 carbs that were a copy of the ones used by a little firm in Italy called Ferrari. I have no idea where the gearbox came from or what it was but there was one, it worked and gave no trouble.
So there you have it ambition great, ability nil. The engine had a capacity of 5555 c.c. Had it been standard, fitted with an Isky cam and a Holley 4 barrell it would probably have gone very well (the stupidity of youth). Malcolm’s manifold touched various places where it should but not all, early days had water in the oil and on the overrun smoke was seen to blow out the exhaust. Things got better but we sold the car to Mike Pendleton for £850 without the useless chevvy engine. He fitted a Jag engine (I still see him from time to time) he and Ted Whiteway shared the car and had quite a lot of fun. They sold it after a year (or 2) for Dick Tindall [spelling?].
Later the car was bought by Marsh Plant and raced by Gerry Marshall. It was one of very few original Listers then running. It was raced a few years ago with very great success by Julian Bronson. When he wanted to race it with a 5500cc chevvy engine it was not permitted (there were no 5500 cc cars racing in 1959, I did not argue as my car at the time was hardly racing). 2 years ago Julian succumbed to the lure of filthy money and sold the car to America to the Hilton family for $600,000. Thus depriving me of somewhere to go and sit in the paddock of the September Goodwood annual revival.
Q. Who you sold it to, what they did to it? I believe a Fred Owen and Dick Tindell [spelling?] were involved later somehow? Was it converted back to Jaguar power.
Q. Can you say who is driving in the picture [supplied]?
That was Malcolm Knights who died about 10 years ago. I still am using bits from his last invalid car that his wife gave me when he died.
Q. Did you compete at other meetings at Firle? Who was M.A. Knights?
See above, did not compete at other meetings I think. [Although M.A. Knights was listed as the existing record holder on Oct 2, 1960, so at least the car had been there before.]
Q. Did you drive any other competition car(s)?
Does a horse have fleas (dunno).
My worldwide success was so great that very few people ever heard of me at the time and those that did are now dead, but you seem a curious person (read that as you will).
1949 started racing a prewar Jaguar SS90 (like a 100 but rubbish).
1954 built Lotus VI, Chapman, Gammon and I formed Team Lotus at Oulton Park.
1955 built Lotus 10 with Bristol engine.
1956 built Lotus 11 with Bristol engine lying on its side, enormously stupid and complicated for some reason (there were 1000s, kept blowing up). Sold car without engine.
1957 I raced Malcolm Knights’ Triumph TR and we beat both the works sponsored teams and Syd Hurrell. He ran a specialist TR tuning business in Leighton Buzzard and was very successful.
1958 built from odd bits an AC Bristol (in partnership with Malcolm Knights). Simple and straightforward, raced car all over the place, drove it to races in Spa and Clermond Ferrand. Did quite well in fact, did better than that at Spa [where] there was a 2 litre GT race in the rain. A young man called Jim Clark was in our race, it was his first race abroad and we took him under our wing. He was driving a Border Reivers Porsche. He came nowhere and I won, oh, if only it could have gone on like that.
1959 built Lister and also a Gemini Mark 3 Formula Junior car.
1960 raced very hot mini, very fast for its time, we cheated and put a bigger engine in it (Does that sound like me ? I am surprised.)
Edited by terry mcgrath, 13 March 2011 - 13:27.