Matra had its hand in aeronautics, bicycles and weapons. Let's add cars to that portfolio and utilize our bicycle/munitions of death know-how to build a car to kill for...

Look, I'm not going to sugar coat it, but their cars are sex. They look so unconventional and cool that I want it. French cars have always been the cat's meow and this one is no exception. The 530 picture above was their first sports car. Mid-engined, polyester body with 2+2 seating and a usable trunk? Shut up and take my money. The car was never meant to be serious, but as they call it, "A car for friends." I just wish my real friends were as cool as this car.

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Skinny tires FTW!

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Matra also made the Djet. They technically bought the company that originally made this car as is was sinking faster than the Titanic and made it better. The result is a car that looks like an Alpine. Doesn't matter to me, add another awesome car to the Matra checklists. It only weighed 1455 pounds. I could probably punt this thing like a football if I wanted to.

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A Matra race car? Is there anything this magnificent company can't do? It had three different engines throughout its life. The BRM version murdered its driver during testing. The Ford engine pushed the car to lead the race in the rain during the 100 kilometers of Paris in '67 before being retired. Finally the Matra V-12 version raced at Le Mans in '68 with the GT40s. In was in 2nd at one point until a short-circuit/ fiery death put the car out of commission.

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Matra Bagheera. Once again, Matra is amazing, I mean they named the car after the panther in the Jungle Book for crying out loud! Bet you didn't know that this seductive hatchback is mid-engined? Matra just likes throwing the rule book out the window when it comes to making cars.

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Enter the Matra Murena. This car screams 80's! Matra loves their mid-engines and polyester bodies and this one is no exception. The icing on the cake is that this car's steel frame is galvanized to combat the automotive plague known as rust. Personally, this is my favorite Matra of them all.

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The Matra MS80 F1 car led Jackie Stewart to victory in 1969. For Matra, nothing is off limits.

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...Quite literally. Let's make a leisure off roading vehicle? Why the hell not. The Matra Rancho:

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Matra and Renault collaborated with the Espace and Avantime vans...err, the correlation between these vans and Matra's automobile division going out of business in 2003 could be a coincidence, right? I knew they should have been mid-engined!

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Fate is a cruel mistress. Whatever, Matra is still amazing and I for one will never forget their awesomeness to go boldly where others feared to tread!

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photo credits go to their respective owners