Matra made (and still make) a variety of things, most of which weren’t cars.

Meet one that was, the 530. Made from 1965 to 1973, the 530 was mid engined and a 2 + 2, something not often attempted with this configuration and with good reason as putting an engine ahead of the rear wheels doesn’t leave a lot of room for the rear passengers who should ideally be under about five to have any hope of inserting themselves.

Matra used the V4 engine and matching gearbox from the Ford of Germany Taunus 15M, chosen because it was front wheel drive (in contrast to Ford of Britain’s Cortina) and so suitable for a mid engined design. This combination provided rather modest performance by our standards - the similarly sized Lotus Elan had a lot more go for a higher price while the MGB gave similar performance for half the price.

As we can see, it was a decidedly odd looking car from the side and not much better from the front. It was followed by the Bagheera, also mid engined but much more stylish and with three proper sized seats, achieved by seating three abreast.

In trivia news, the 530 was called after the Matra 530 missile.

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