Ligier JS1

Guy Ligier is not an unfamiliar name for the French. He is their very own hero who personifies grit and willpower to become one of the most successful and acclaimed French nationals. He was an orphan working at a local butcher's shop. As a teenager, he played rugby and went on to represent the French national team in rugby. Ligier had a successful career in rugby however, he was attracted to motorsport and started active motor racing in 1966. He also built the Ligier construction business.

Two years into formula 1 racing, his friend and another formula one racer Jo Schlesser had a fatal accident on the tracks. Ligier was so much disturbed by the demise of his friend that he withdrew from active motorsport racing. To take on the Porsche's ultra successful 911, Ligier had approved a project to build a new sporstcar, which went to a standstill due to the accident. The construction of new car was restarted only in 1969 when Michel Tetu, ex-Renault engineer joined the Ligier team.

Guy Ligier named this new car JS1, JS after the initials of his Jo Schlesser. He revealed JS1 to public first at the Paris Motorshow. The car represented authentic European touch. The body of the car had an Italian design, the engine was British made and the chassis was of course, French. The steel backbone of Ligier JS1 was suspended at the front and back by the help of double wishbones. The JS1 was powered by a Cosworth FVA Formula 2 engine, which was mounted at the centre.

Ligier used JS1 for his last race in 1969, after which he retired. The 240 bhp FVC engine replaced the earlier installed 220bhp FVA engine, during the 1970 Formula 1 season. JS1 helped the Ligier tem score significant victories at Montlhery and Albi. The car was very powerful thus proving to be an enigma during the qualifying rounds. The Ligier JS1 secured the thirteenth position in the qualifying races. The car had beaten other cars with similar engines by a fair margin.

The Ligier team had used a Ford V6 engine in the JS1 for the 1970 Tour de France. The team used two JS1 cars, first had a 2.4-liter Weslake manufactured engine while the second had the usual 2.6-liter engine of Ford Capri. Various other technological upliftments given to the car included new Citroen SM five-speed gearbox and lengthening of the chassis of JS1. The chassis size was increased to create an additional space for the bigger engines. Both the cars failed to succeed.

The failure of both the JS1 cars at Tour de France meant it was end of the raod for the Ligier JS1 car. A Maserati engine powered JS2 was constructed for the road use and made public a year after the JS1. For the 1971 Formula 1 season, another car named JS3 was made that had a Cosworth DFV engine. After withdrawal, none of the three constructed JS1 cars had any buyer routing for them. The Retromobile show of 2004 featured the restored Ligier JS1 after which it completed the Tour Auto.