Matra MS 80 – The World Champion Of 1969

The Matra MS 80 was the fourth Formula One car produced by Matra. The previous cars were named MS 9, MS10 and MS11. The car was powered by the famous Ford Cosworth DFV engine, the state-of-the-art engine at this time of Formula One racing.

Matra MS 80 - The World Champion Of 1969

The car, designed under the direction of Gerard Ducarouge and Bernard Boyer, was built at Matra’s Formula One base at Vélizy-Villacoublay in the southwestern suburbs of Paris. The final completion with the Ford-Cosworth engine was done in the Tyrrell workshop at East Horsely near Ripley, in the United Kingdom.

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The major change from the MS10 was the location of the fuel cell, which was moved from behind the pilot and placed in the side pods by the driver’s hips, giving the car a slight „Coke bottle“ appearance.

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The rocker-arm front suspension of the Matra MS10 was replaced by outboard springs, with a parallel link set up on the rear suspension. Apart from Ferrari Formula One cars, the Matra MS80 is the only non-Brits built car to win the Formula One World Constructors’ Championship (the French constructor Renault, the Austrian constructor Red Bull and the German Constructor Mercedes Benz built their winning cars in the UK) as well as the only Formula One car built in France to help a driver to win the World Championship.

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Although officially a Matra, it was run by the privateer Matra International Team of Ken Tyrrell, and, as such, remains the only car not entered by a works team to win the Formula One World Constructors’ Championship as well as to help a driver win the World Drivers’ Championship.

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The MS80 was one of the first F1 racing cars to be designed with “wings” for downforce to increase high-speed tyre grip. These were originally introduced into F1 in 1968. Due to some serious racing accidents in Montjuich at the Lotus cars of Jochen Rindt and Graham Hill with the flimsy 1968-type high wing constructions early in the racing season, like all 1969 F1 cars the MS80 was altered to use more sturdy lowered wings, directly attached to the car’s body, later on.

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Only two MS80’s were assembled in 1969, a third monocoque was built but remained un-assembled until the EPAF company made it a complete car in 2006. In a 2006 issue of Motor Sport magazine, Jackie Stewart referred to the MS80 as the nicest-handling F1 car he had ever driven. But not only the nicest-handling as Sir Stewart once said, for me it is one of the most beautiful Formula One cars of the 1969 season.

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And a very successful too. Jackie Stewart scored 5 victories and 1 second place and won the World Championship for the first of three times by scoring 66 points. I saw this car a several times at the Nürburgring and at Spa Francorchamps at historic race events. It was driven very fast and for me it was the most interesting Formula One car on the grid. Find out more about our photographer Ralph Lüker.


MODEL Matra MS80
TYPE Grand Prix car
CONSTRUTORS Gerard Ducarouge , Bernard Boyer
NUMBER OF TOTAL BUILD CARS Two and one spare tube
ENGINE Ford-Cosworth DFV, mid-mounted longitudinally 90˚ V8
WEIGHT 168 kilo
CONSTRUCTION aluminium block and head
BORE AND STROKE 85.7 mm x 64.8 mm
VALVE TRAIN DOHC, 4 Valves per cylinder
ASPIRATION naturally aspirated
TRANSMISSION Hewland 5 speed Manual
HORSEPOWER 430 bhp / 321 kW @ 10,000 rpm
FUEL FEED Lucas Fuel Injection
CLUTCH multi plate
CHASSIS aluminium monocoque with fully stressed engine
BRAKES Girling ventilated discs, at the rear inboard
SUSPENSION FRONT double wishbones, coil springs over dampers
SUSPENSION REAR upper and lower rocker arms, twin radius arms, coil springs over dampers

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