Formula 1

Why F1’s best-sounding car flattered to deceive

Matra’s MS120 married rocket technology to an engine which sputtered out far too often. STUART CODLING examines how the championship-winning constructor’s ambitious project to build car and engine under one roof came to fail

If you know, you know. To readers of a certain age – or those who have made the pilgrimage to historic festivals in recent years – the Matra name is synonymous with the fleeting appearance of a missile in French racing blue, accompanied by the cochlea-rattling symphony of its otherworldly V12.

It’s easy to forget Matra’s only F1 constructors’ title came courtesy of Cosworth’s V8, with Jackie Stewart at the wheel, and that the V12 achieved its only world championship race victories attached to Ligier chassis.

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