Henri Julien was a driver who also built racing cars during the 60s. He founded the AGS opperation in 1968, moving up to F1 in 1986. He sold the company in 1988.
Henri Julien was a driver who also built racing cars during the 60s. He began working at the Garage de l'Avenir in Gonfaron, just northeast of Toulon in the south of France. In his spare time he built his own racing car powered by a modified 500cc Simca engine. He raced the car, know as JH1. He built other 500cc cars powered by BMW engines and in 1957 he built a front-engined Formula Junior with an 850cc Panhard engine, designated JH3.
He gave up building cars in 1960 and bought an Alpine Formula 3 car but after some dissapointing performances, quit driving in 1965.
The introduction of Formula France in 1968 brought Julien back into racing car construction. And, after running F3 Matras for a number of French drivers, he established Automobiles Gonfaronnaise Sportives, working with Christian Vanderpleyn, who had joined him as an apprentice in 1960. He built the JH4 which was driven in 1969 by Francois Rabbione and the following year he built two JH5 cars for Rabbione and Gerard Cerruti, the latter finishing third at Paul Ricard.
A number of cars were built for Formula France with limited success so eyebrows were raised when they moved up to Formula 2 in 1978. It was two more years before an AGS driver scored any points in the European F2 series although when they did it was with a win, Dallest taking the chequered flag at Pau.
The following three years saw AGS performing quite well in F2 until, in 1984, the formula was abandoned.
The move to F1 came in 1986 when the first AGS arrived for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Pascal Fabre drove the car for the first eleven races in 1987, which was reliable but not fast. He was replaced for the final two GP by Roberto Moreno, who secured the teams very first point by finishing sixth at the Australian GP in Adelaide.
The team moved into 1988 with confidence and produced another strong chassis and secured sponsorship from the "Bouygues Group" which would also bankroll a new factory. The car was driven by Philippe Streiff, who qualified well but the reliability and accidents saw him finished only four races. The promised financial backing from Bouygues never materialized and Henri Julien was forced to sell the team to at the end of the season to entrepreneur, Cyril de Rouvre - who would later have an interest in the Ligier team.
In 1988 most of the staff defected to Coloni and in 1990 AGS was restructured under the direction of Hughes de Chaunac and relocated from the original Gonfaron base to the Var circuit near Le Luc en Provence. June 1990 saw another change - Chaunac left the team and ownership passed to Cyril de Rouvre who in turn, sold the majority shareholdings to the Italians Gabriele Rafanelli and Patrizio Cantu in April 1991, only to see the team close before the end of that year.