Please note that the cars or exhibit items shown in this database are part of our collection but may not be on display when you visit.
Matra’s 530 was the first all-Matra road car design, carrying over the mid-engine architecture of its predecessor, the Jet (neé D’jet) series. The polarizing design was led by Philippe Guédon (later, best known for the Renault Espace) and styling was by a Simca stylist on loan, Jacques Nocher. While the basic layout echoed the Jet, the use of the very compact Ford “Cologne” V4 engine and transaxle left room for +2 seating in the rear, along with a reasonable trunk.
The earliest A-Series 530s had a simple front grille opening, a two-piece Targa roof, and a removable Perspex rear window, providing the only access to the engine for service. These were contract-built by railcar manufacturer Brissonneau & Lotz. Later A-series and the Michelotti-facelifted mid-series cars such as the LX seen here were built in-house by Matra. The LX was differentiated by more practical bumpers, a hinged rear glass hatch over the engine, and a freshened interior. As prices rose, a de-contented SX variant, known by the public as “The Pirate”, was released, with 2 or 4 headlights mounted on pods and flat black trim being the most notable differences. The now-optional Targa roof was also eliminated, now fixed in place.
Critics of the period were never sure what the 530 was supposed to be. It cost about the same as a Lotus Elan +2, but with nowhere near the performance. (Both were eclipsed by the MGB GT in cost (cheaper) and performance (quicker, better MPG), however.) Matra never intended it to be an all-out sports car, instead marketing it to 20-30 year-olds as a car for friends – "La Voiture de la Joie de Vivre!", (“The Car For the Joy of Living!”) The twenty piece polyester body and dependable Ford engine were both tremendous positives, but the rust-prone non-galvanized frame, made up of 274 welded members, later proved problematic for long-term owners. Production ended in 1973 after six years, replaced by the equally unusual Bagheera.
Manufacturer: S.A. Engins Matra
Country of Origin: France
Drivetrain Configuration: Mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: Ford-sourced 1699cc water-cooled OHV V4, 75hp
Transmission: Ford-sourced 4-speed manual
Top Speed: 108mph
Years Produced: 1967-73
Number Produced: 9609 all models; 4731 LX
Cost: Approximately 20,000 French francs (around $3900 USD)