La Fiero Française
Lord knows I’ve been tempted to buy a project car from eBay Motors a time or two, but never have I been so inclined to hit that little “Buy It Now” button than I have with this: a beautiful 1980 Talbot-Matra Murena.; Sacre bleu…
Sam Smith’s not in the office this week, but I already hear him launching into a tirade about my love for odd French marques.; Certainly, that may be part of the appeal, but the mini Matra’s got a lot more going for it than simply its obscurity (10,680 examples were built between 1980 and 1983).
First, it’s actually (somewhat) attractive, what with some curved lines, raked roofline and flying buttresses.; In many ways, it actually previews what Pontiac did with the second-generation Fiero.; In fact, the Murena is much like the Fiero in its construction – it too sports a steel spaceframe with fiberglass body panels, albeit it did so four years before Pontiac tried it.
There are plenty of good ol’ French quirks inside to keep me amused.; Matra made sure to use an oblong steering wheel with a single spoke (á la Citroen), while controls are arranged in pods surrounding the instrument cluster. And how could you ever discount the three-abreast seating?; I know of no other sports cars with a trio of bucket seats other than a McLaren F1 – and it’s a reasonable bet I’ll never be able to afford one of those beauties, let alone get to ride in, drive, or touch one.
But perhaps my biggest joy would come from arguing my way into local Mopar meets.; Yes, Talbot was owned by Peugeot, but the brand was simply a new name for Simca as it changed hands from Chrysler to PSA.;
Although the Murena launched just after the sale was complete, the majority of engineering occurred just before the sale, meaning some of the Chrysler folks were certainly involved with its creation.; Chrysler Europe loaned the car a 1.6-liter four-banger (also found in the Dodge Omni) and a five-speed stick for powertrain.; That combo won’t scorch the earth, but it will zip around with ease while reportedly returning fuel economy figures up to 30 mpg.
Sporty looks, go-cart handling, good fuel economy – sounds like a winner.; Only I just don’t have the cash to pick it up.; Quelle dommage…
Source: eBay Motors