The story started in 1968 in a small Quebec, Canada, town. Jean-Pierre St-Jacques, an avid race car enthusiast and professional machinist, set out to build a race car in his father’s wood working shed. When the build was complete, Jean-Pierre entered to race the little Formula Vee car in the 1968 and 1969 seasons. Proving his home-built race car was successful, he set his sights on building a faster and stronger car to race in the following year’s Formula Ford championship.
That 1970 season is when the Magnum Cars legacy really started. Early in the season, Jean-Pierre St-Jacques proudly unveiled the Magnum Mk1, the first of a series of Formula Ford cars he would hand build. St-Jacques, along with his two teammates, raced their Magnum formula cars in this inaugural season with much success. With a strong showing in its very first season, Magnum Cars produced the MkII and MkIII cars, continuing to amass many more podium finishes and titles in the following seasons championships.
In 1973, a soon to become famous driver from Berthierville, Gilles Villeneuve, was eyeing a jump into auto racing. Already an extremely fast snowmobile racer, Villeneuve approached St-Jacques to help him start his formula car racing career. St-Jacques and Villeneuve quickly became very close friends and Gilles went on to race a Magnum Formula Ford to a championship title that very same year. Magnum formula cars were not only very fast, but they proved to be indestructible when subjected to Villeneuve’s very aggressive driving style, which says a lot about the build-quality of St-Jacques’ Magnum race cars.
Magnum Cars built about a dozen race cars in the 70’s and 80’s. The last Magnum, the MkIV which contained more modern technology, was built in 1988.
Besides building and racing Magnum formula cars, Jean-Pierre St-Jacques worked on the preparation of many race cars. His meticulous attention to detail was successfully applied to Formula Ford, Formula Renault, Formula Atlantic, and Rolex Grand-Am SRP2 Series cars.
For more than four decades, Magnum's expertise has also been applied to developing and fabricating specialized parts for many kinds of vehicles from all levels of racing, ranging from karts to Formula 1, as well as endurance, vintage, drag, and even snowmobile racing. With an impeccable reputation for precision work, original founder Jean-Pierre St-Jacques and the Magnum team were highly regarded even by numerous Formula 1 teams, working with the likes of Lotus, AGS, Larousse, Williams, and Renault, to name a few, during the Canadian F1 GP weekends over the years.
During those years travelling to races or working on race cars, Jean-Pierre St-Jacques was able to share his passion for car racing with his son Bruno, who has also been racing successfully for more than 20 years. Throughout his career, while honing his skills as a driver, Bruno has built a strong foundation of great knowledge and understanding of car dynamics and mechanical workings as he helped teams and race engineers developed racing cars. He also learned the ropes of working on race cars the “St-Jacques way”, devoting the greatest attention to detail and striving for the highest-quality workmanship.
Still today, both father and son are keeping the Magnum Cars spirit alive as they continue working on automotive projects with the same passion and commitment to perfection.