Aerospace company Matra became involved in the motor industry when it started manufacturing fiber glass bodies for René Bonnet’s mid engined Djet sports cars in 1962. In 1965 after Bonnet ran into financial difficulties, as a consequence of it’s racing activities, Matra took over Bonnets manufacturing operations putting Jean-Luc Legardére in charge.
Like Bonnet Legardére saw the sense in promoting the company through motor racing and over a period of several years the company produced winning designs for various open wheel and sportscar series including the 1969 Ford Cosworth powered Matra MS80 which won the World Drivers and Constructors Championships with Jackie Stewart at the wheel of the Matra International team cars run by Ken Tyrrell.
Tyrrell and Stewart went their own way in 1970 with sponsors Ford and Elf while Matra’s car division was acquired by Chrysler France in December 1969 and the Matra racing cars became known as Matra Simca’s powered by 3 litre /183 cui V12 Matra motors that had been first seen in Formula One and Sports cars in 1968.
The Matra V12 powered Matra Simca MS670 cars won the Le Mans 24 hours in 1972, driven by Henri Pescarolo and Graham Hill, ’73 and ’74 with Gérard Larrousse joining Pescarolo at the wheel. For 1972 Le Mans was the sole focus of the sportscar teams activities while Ferrari missed the Le Mans 24 hours to focus on winning the 1972 World Championship for Makes. In 1973 Matra Simca withdrew from Formula One and contested and won the World Championship for Makes with the upgraded MS670B beating strong competition from the Ferrari 312 P, a car that had also unsuccessfully appeared at Le Mans.
Thanks in part to Niki Lauda persuading Enzo Ferrari to focus on winning the Formula One championships for the 1974 season Matra Simca easily won both the Le Mans 24 hours and the World Championship for makes in 1974 with it’s further upgraded MS670C, after which the team was disbanded although Matra V12 motors were supplied to Shadow for a limited program in 1975 and to Ligier for full programmes from 1976 to 1978 and again from 1981 to 1982 .
I’m not sure of the exact identity of today’s featured car it carries the MS670B body work of the 1973 Le Mans winning entry driven by Pescarolo/Larrouse, that car chassis #MS670B-02 belonged to Matra driver Jean-Pierre Beltoise until it was sold at auction for over a million dollars in 2005 carrying 1974 MS670C bodywork. It has been documented that the 1972 Le Mans winning chassis MS670 – 01 driven by Pescarolo/Hill was fitted with the 1973 Le Mans wining MS670B body work when it was seen at the Lohéac Museum halfway between Brest and Le Mans.
If you know the identity of this car seen at Goodwood last year with Omni Ventures listed as the owners please do not hesitate to chime in below.
Thanks for joining me on this “La Gloire de Legardére” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !