Guy Ligier began his racing career riding a motorbike
and won the title of Champion of France in 1959 and 1960. In 1966, Guy
Ligier was the sole French driver in Formula 1 and competed against the
best drivers of the era.
Following the death of his lifelong friend Jo Schlesser who was
killed in a Honda RA302 in the 1968 French Grand Prix, Ligier withdrew
from motorsport racing and a sports car project he was developing was
put on hold. However, in 1969, Michel Tetu, an ex-Renault engineer
joined the Ligier team and persuaded Ligier to revive the project.
Ligier named this new car JS1 - 'JS' stood for his friend Jo Schlesser.
He displayed the JS1 at the 1969 Paris Motorshow. The body was of
Italian design. The French chassis used a steel backbone and was
suspended front and rear by double wishbones. The JS1 was powered by a
Cosworth FVA Formula 2 engine, which was mid mounted.
A JS1 driven by Guy Ligier and Jean-Claude Andruet was entered in the 24 Hours Le Mans.
During the 1970 Formula One season, the 220bhp FVA engine was replaced by the 240 bhp FVC engine.
the 1970 Tour de France the JS1 was fitted with a Ford V6 and the
gearbox from the SM. The cars were lengthened to accommodate the larger
engines. The team used two JS1 cars, one with a 2.4 litre Weslake
manufactured engine while the other used the 2.6 litre from the Ford
Capri. Neither car was successful in the competition and this brought
an end to the project.
A Maserati powered JS2 was
launched for road use in 1970 and was built in relatively small numbers
until production ceased in 1974 following the oil crisis.
In 1974, the Ligier JS2 won the Tour de France Automobile.
The final SMs were produced in the Ligier factory in Vichy.
Ligier now manufactures 'sans permis' microcars.