In the early 1980s Formula 1 cars, like open-wheel racers at Indianapolis, were quickly progressing through a series of aerodynamic changes to give them more downforce for faster cornering speeds.
The drivers sat nearer the car’s nose while the engine and tunnels and wings were alongside and behind them. The Ligier team, a French-based and sponsored F1 team had top-shelf drivers and plopped them into these flying wedges with some success.
One of the more interesting looking F1 cars at the time was the Ligier JS19 with its boxy tunnels that extended from the driver rearward to a big boxy wing on the tail. That’s what Spark creates in 1/43 scale and with handsome results.
The JS19 followed the relatively successful JS17 in which French driver Jacques Laffite won two races in 1981 and finished fourth in the F1 standings. As with the 17, the new JS19 was powered by a Talbot-badged Matra V12. Laffite and American Eddie Cheever were the drivers.
To minimize air flow disturbance, the car featured side pods that enclosed the rear suspension linkage. Plus it used skirts running the length of the chassis to better suck the car down for better traction and cornering. But F1 officials banned the skirts at Monte Carlo (the car reproduced here) and cut the racer’s downforce, making it less of a force to be reckoned with for the 1982 season
Still, Laffite took third at the Austrian Grand Prix to score the car’s first points and Cheever later earned a sixth in Italy and third at the Las Vegas GP
This model is of Laffite’s car. Laffite was a successful F1 driver with a long career, starting in 1974 and ending with an accident at the British GP in 1986 where he broke both legs. But he won his first GP in 1977 in Sweden and his last in 1981 in Canada. He was Ligier’s most successful driver, posting 6 of the team’s 9 overall wins. Laffite recovered from his injuries and competed in European sedan racing for several years after his 1986 accident.
Spark delivers a smooth sleek finish in predominantly light and dark blue with white trim and all the sponsorship logos you’d expect on an F1 car of this era. Talbot and Gitanes (a cigarette brand) get the major sponsor logos that predominate, but there are plenty more on the car’s considerable tail. Also note the Gitanes logo is missing the E, so reads GITAN S. This allows Spark to sell the car and avoid the cigarette advertising ban. But an E decal is included under the car’s case, so you can make it look accurate, if you so desire.
The exposed front suspension and small wings up front are a flat black, but the wings carry small metal-look strips along their back edges.
On the car’s lower edge is a metal strip and matte metallic silver on the underside of the nose into the giant side pods.
There’s mesh screen over the big V12’s stacks and a bright silver finish around the refueling opening right behind the driver’s matte silver headrest. Two white mirrors extend from the cockpit’s sides and the model has a well-detailed driver figure of Lafitte with proper sponsorship labels on his helmet and dark blue driver’s suit. The full-face helmet also features an Elf logo dead center over the eye opening.
Spark has created many historic F1 racers, along with LeMans and even some Indycars. The new Ligier is another fine example of its work. Our review model came from Replicarz, who also makes its own exclusive line of Indianapolis 500 racers in 1/43 and 1/18 scale.
Vital Stats: 1982 Ligier JS19 Monaco GP
Stock No.: SP4817