One of the great personalities of American racing is Jim Hall. He made his debut as a driver in 1954 and is still a team owner in IndyCar racing. His Chaparral sports cars of the 1960s were the first cars to race successfully with wings, and the first to win races with an automatic transmission. Hall pioneered ground effect technology, although his method utilized fans powered by a two-stroke engine. He also underwrote the sports car business of fellow-Texan, Carroll Shelby, raced in Formula One in the 1960s and gave John Barnard his first big break as a designer when he commissioned an IndyCar from him for 1979. As a driver, designer and team manager, Jim Hall has been exceptionally successful and this Lister-Chevrolet was the car which set him on his way as an engineer.
Jim Hall inherited a fortune while still in his teens and he was aged just nineteen when he started racing an Austin Healey. He didn’t let being under-aged by SCCA rules hinder his progress. From the Healey he moved on to a XK-120, a Corvette and a Ferrari Monza, and within a short time he was recognized as one of the top SCCA drivers.
It was Carroll Shelby who had the idea of fitting a Chevrolet engine in a Lister chassis since he was aware just how successful Archie Scott-Brown had been with the works Lister-Jaguar in 1957. Jim visited Brian Lister and arranged that he and Shelby became agents for Lister. Brian shipped out a chassis and body and Hall had the car built up in his workshops, installing a 283 cu. inch Chevrolet unit and a Chevy gearbox and fitting Halibrand wheels.
Lance Reventlow, another very wealthy young American, had also been to visit Brian Lister, but he decided to go home and build his own cars, the Scarabs. It was the performance of these cars which caused Hall to begin engineering his car; previously he’d raced them as they came out of the box. It helped that he’d just completed a degree in mechanical engineering.
Among the tweaks he tried was the fitting of a Layton supercharger, which was abandoned, prematurely with hindsight, when it started throwing its drive belts. It was through such hands-on experience that the foundations were laid for Hall’s future with Chaparral.
At the end of the season the Lister was sold to Jim Rathmann, one of the leading USAC drivers of the 1950s and winner of the 1960 Indianapolis 500.
Every day of this car’s life can be accounted for. It has been featured in magazines and, of course, is featured in the book “Chaparral” by Richard Falconer and Doug Nye.
It is currently one of the most successful cars in historic racing and its 1996 results tell their own story:
1st Fastest Lap Hawthorn Trophy, Silverstone
1st Pole Position Ascari Trophy, Monza
3rd Pole Position St. John Horsfall Meeting
Double Winner Monza World Endurance Sprts Car series, fastest lap of the weekend, including FIA GTS cars.
This is one of the outstanding cars in international historic racing. It was completely rebuilt by Flipstar Enterprises before the last Monza meeting when the chassis was jigged and new suspension fitted. It is to the precise specification as when delivered save for the use of Spax shock absorbers because the original Woodhead-Monroe units are not available.
Finished in blue and gold with black interior, it has a VSCC Blue Form and an FIA Historic Identity and needs only a buyer who would like to win races.