The Matra M530 Was France's Version of the Porsche 914

The cars built by Matra are just fascinating, and it's a shame that they're so obscure now. Jackie Stewart won his first Formula One World Championship in a Matra. Matra prototypes with screaming V12s won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three years straight from 1972-74. Matra even built some neat little sports cars for the road. Many, like the Djet, were very attractive, but the quirky M530 was a bit of an ugly duckling. Matra (derived from Mécanique Avation Traction) was a French arms and aeronautics manufacturer that took over the car manufacturing business of Deutsch-Bonnet. They remained focused on racing for the most part, but they did resume production of the Renault-powered Bonnet Djet, which in turn became the Matra Djet. This gorgeous two-seater was replaced by the M530, a mid-engined, rear-drive coupe with removable targa roof that would compete with Porsche's own ugly duckling, the 914. RELATED: eBay French Connection - 1981 Matra Murena A 1.7-liter Ford four-cylinder pushrod engine gave the M530 around 75 horsepower and was coupled to a Renault 4-speed. The body was plastic and there were pop-up headlights, just like on a Corvette. But performance was a different story. 0-60 mph came at around 16 seconds, and top speed was around 100 mph if you were patient enough. The car therefore had similar performance, similar layout, and even similar looks to the four-cylinder Porsche 914. The problem was that Porsche was a more established brand, and with the 914 had a partnership with auto giant VW. The Matra was also priced at around the same level as a Lotus Elan, which was an immensely quicker car. Only a few thousand were ever made in the end, and most of those stayed in Europe. RELATED: Alpine Racecar Roars to Life in Gran Turismo 6 For a company that built successful formula cars and prototypes for the track, Matra built some pretty pokey cars for the road. They did go on to build some quick, attractive hatchbacks like the Bagheera later in the '70s, but for a time, the oddball and admittedly kind of charming M530 was all they offered. RELATED: Sports Car Face Plant - Porsche 914 _____________________________________ Click Here to Read the Original Article on BoldRide