Although officially a Matra, it was run by the non-works Matra International team of Ken Tyrrell. The MS80 was one of the first F1 racing cars to be designed with "wings" for downforce to increase high-speed tyre grip. These were originally introduced into F1 in 1968. Due to some serious racing accidents with the flimsy 1969-type high wing constructions early in the racing season, like all 1969 F1 cars the MS80 was altered to use more sturdy lowered wings, directly attached to the car's body, later on.
Only two MS80's were assembled in 1969, a third monocoque was built but remained un-assembled until the EPAF company made it a complete car in 2006. In a 2006 issue of Motor Sport magazine, Jackie Stewart referred to the MS80 as the nicest-handling F1 car he had ever driven.