GUY LIGIER WAS A SUCCESSFUL FRENCH racing drive and later owner of a F1 team, he was also a good businessman.
He went into sports car building with the Ligier JS, the initials standing for his great late friend Jo Schlesser. In 1980 he changed direction and produced the JSR, a squarish 2-seater micro car powered by a 50cc Motobecane engine with automatic transmission.
It quickly became the best selling microcar in France. They also produced an electric version.
John Cave Chairman of the Battery Vehicle Club heard about thirteen Ligier JSR’s that were being offered for sale near Cambridge. He went to see them, they had been standing for many years in a very leaky barn. In the end he decided not to purchase because he already had too many commitments. However he worked out the story behind them. In 1985 a company was formed called “City Wheels”.
Their coloured brochure says “The City Wheels Transport system is designed for moving around city centres, large factories, exhibition sites, leisure parks, air ports – in fact anywhere that that demands low cost, short distance transportation”. John was told that to launch the scheme some 13 electric Ligiers JSR were bought from France and converted by a firm in the Midlands to use swipe cards for access and for starting. It would appear that City Wheels did not receive the expected finance they needed and failed.
Some 20 years later the white and red cars were lying very neglected in a farmers barn.
C376 SBL that is featured on the City Wheels brochure is one of these cars.
Coventry were one city interested in the scheme and have a City Wheels Electric Car in the collection of the Transport Museum.
from p. 11 of issue April 2017
Subscribe now - http://classicmotor.co.uk/classic-motor-monthly-subscriptions