Ligier Preparing Hardcore Sports Car for 50th Anniversary

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ligier preparing hardcore sports car for 50th anniversary

Good golly. It sure seems like there’s a bunch of unnecessary high performance cars under development that pass well beyond the limits of most normal people’s purchasing power. Maybe it’s our imagination, but there appears to be some sort of performance car renaissance taking place at the moment.

Throw another one onto the pile. Ligier, a company you’ve probably never heard of unless you’re seriously into vintage Formula One, present-day Le Mans 24 Hours, or French mini cars, is developing a road-going sports car. While it should have an almost semi-reasonable price tag for a boutique model, it’s still going to be more expensive than most people want to pay. Also, like so many of these specialty cars, we’re not going to bet on it spending much time outside of Europe — which would be a tragedy, since this thing sounds absolutely incredible on paper.

According to Motor1, the unnamed model will be revealed in September as a tribute to the founder of the brand, former racing driver and rugby player Guy Ligier. Sales are expected to commence a couple of months later. Details are scarce leading up to the reveal, but Motor1 claims the vehicle will employ a 3.7-liter V6 engine delivering around 330 horsepower mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox with paddle shifters, which is both fantastic and ridiculous for a claimed street-legal car.

That’s the same displacement and output as the Nissan 370Z. Considering the Japanese brand’s current relationship with Ligier, it wouldn’t surprise us to learn the vehicle is actually using the VQ37VHR. While that unit’s output is respectable, it’s not a fire-breathing dragon. However, the forthcoming Ligier is supposed to adhere to the FIA’s Group E2-SH regulations, which would necessitate four seats and and a curb weight of no more than 1,720 pounds (based on the engine displacement).

A curb weight like that makes the Mitsubishi Mirage look like a glutinous pig by comparison. Hell, a Lotus Exige weighs more than that. With such a trim waistline, we estimate a 1/4 mile time in the 10-second range — depending on gearing. Still, we doubt a vehicle like this would spend much time on any track that lacked turns, especially since it’ll probably lack a bunch of safety features that will help keep it out of American garages. Maybe Ligier can enact some Caterham shenanigans and ship it over as a kit car.

Fully assembled, the model is rumored to cost approximately $103,400. Not a bargain, but we’ve seen less impressive sounding track-day darlings going for far more lately. We’ll see what it looks like next month; all the teaser images show us is that it’ll come from the factory with a sizable spoiler, Mustang-esque LED taillights, and a rather impressive footprint. The Group E regulations the model is claimed to adhere to also mandate the “appearance of a large production car,” so don’t expect something the size of a Toyota 86. The Ligier should seat a family of four without much trouble and be so stripped-down that riding in anything but the driver’s seat will feel like a punishment.

[Image: Ligier]

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3 of 5 comments
  • Peeryog Peeryog on Aug 10, 2018

    Those tail lights look straight off a Nissan Pulsar

  • Cpthaddock Cpthaddock on Aug 10, 2018

    Hey, borrowing 2 trillion from China to give to rich people (aka tax cuts) has to go somewhere, right?

    • Dejal1 Dejal1 on Aug 12, 2018

      Huh? 2 trillion what? If US dollars, None of the players are from the US and I doubt this car will be sold in the US.

  • Bobbysirhan The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.
  • Bobbysirhan Engines are important.
  • Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
  • FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.
  • Kwik_Shift Thank you for this. I always wanted get involved with racing, but nothing happening locally.