We’ve not made it 50 yards when photographer Luc suggests that this is the most feral-sounding thing the sensible side of a Ferrari 812 Superfast.
He is probably correct too. Lacey isn’t a man prone to hyperbole, which is funny in itself because the car we’re driving trades committedly in the stuff: it’s an inky menace with acid-green highlights, enormous wheels satiating their arches with barely a toothpick’s width to spare and bodywork draped to the asphalt like a studded-leather ballgown. It sounds like a Nascar escapee, for pity’s sake.
Welcome, then, to the Lister Thunder. While this development car is recognisably F-Type, any vestigial elegance of Jaguar’s coupé is buried beneath a truly gothic disposition. At heart it’s an F-Type R, only with new supercharger pulleys, an upgraded intercooler, improved induction and a tickled ECU that boosts the 542bhp 5.0-litre V8 to 666bhp.
A 0-60mph time of 3.2sec and a top speed of 208mph put its performance in the realm of supercars. Four-wheel drive and an eight-speed torque-converter gearbox from ZF are carried over from the donor car, while a new exhaust supplied by Quicksilver not only saves 10kg but also delivers the chased-by-a-Spitfire soundtrack through carbonfibre-wrapped tips of a riotous bore. Even the crackles on the overrun don’t relent until you’ve picked up the throttle once again, meaning unrelenting noise of a murderous timbre is omnipresent.
What the name Lister means to you will almost certainly depend on your age. For a millennial such as your correspondent, it’s the Storm: a 7.0-litre wedge that raced in various GT series in the late 1990s and was homologated with four £450,000 road cars. For Lister CEO Lawrence Whittaker (slightly older), it’s most likely the Le Mans, which was a modified Jaguar XJS whose pulverising 600bhp was exceeded only by the blunt visual trauma of its bodykit.
For Whittaker’s father, Andrew, with whom Lawrence bought the rights to the Lister name for a six-figure sum in 2013, it’s the legendary Knobbly sports car. And, in fact, the Thunder we’re driving today might never have existed were it not for a Knobbly of questionable provenance and a stash of forgotten parts in Cambridge.