My Car Quest

November 11, 2019

The Matra M530 Sports Car

by Mike Gulett –

At the Carmel Concours on the Avenue in August 2019 I saw this unusual yellow car. I also saw this car on the road earlier in the week and did not know what it was then either. Now I know it is a Matra M530.

Matra M530

Matra M530

Here is what the owner, Rodney Grabinski, wrote,

MATRA (Mechanique Aviation Traction) was a French company known for the design and manufacturing of automobiles, bicycles, aeronautics and weaponry. The M530 was Matra’s first fully in house engineered and designed road going sports car and was introduced at the Geneva motor show in 1967. By that time Matra was already well involved in Motorsports and would go on to win the Formula 1 world championship in 1969, delivering Jackie Stewart his maiden driver championship that year. Matra would also claim victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1972, 1973 and 1974 with their renowned V12 powering the mighty MS670.

Matra M530

The M530 was made from March 1967 to April 1969 – all of 2,063 units – with steel frame and targa top polyester body, its mid-mounted V4 1.699 cc high compression 70 hp engine and 4-speed gearbox bought from Ford of Germany off their Taunus 15M TS sedan production line. It had superceded the more romantically named Matra Djet, a car designed by Rene Bonnet, but as Matra’s first in-house design…this time named after a missile!

The Matra M530 has the unusual looks we expect from a French car.

Matra M530

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

 

 

Matra M530 interior

Matra M530

Summary
The Matra M530 Sports Car
Article Name
The Matra M530 Sports Car
Description
The Matra M530 was made from 1967 to 1969 with a steel frame and targa top polyester body, its mid-mounted V4 high compression 70 hp engine and 4-speed gearbox were bought from Ford of Germany.
Author

Comments

  1. Mike Stellato says

    The Matra Sport by Vignale was a Much prettier, more functional design.
    This M530 is just Fugly

  2. These are amazingly interesting and fun cars to drive, the styling actually grows on you… Unless I am mistaken this is a car I restored about 25 years ago… the complexity of the chassis is amazing as is the fact that the fiberglass body panels all are bolted to the chassis and have steel attachment strips bonded to the fiberglass… The little V-4 Ford engine is interesting and quite delightful, the Matra’s had the added benefit of 2bbl intake manifolds unlike their Saab counterparts which used single throat carbs. The Ford Taunus transaxle is interesting and is a cast iron case unlike the more compact unit used in the Saab’s from the period, and the linkage from the shifter is a bit convoluted… all in all a neat car not a power house but fun to drive none the less and worth owning. the 4 wheel disc brakes work well. and the interior is very comfortable and visibility is excellent, my only major complaint is the engine access is through a hatch below the rear window, and is a bit cramped… particularly like the cars in this bold yellow and even like the silly Renault wheels and hub caps with the center bolt… I was so taken with the over all shape I had to scratch carve in urethane a 1/24 scale model of the car…

  3. SKIP HINOJOS says

    WHEN I LIVED IN SPAIN, IN THE 70s, I TRIED TO BRING A MATRA BACK TO THE U. S. WITH ME. BUT TOO MUCH TROUBLE TO GET IT REGISTERED HERE. IT WAS MUCH MORE ATTRACTIVE AND HAD THREE SEATS ACROSS.

  4. Hi all! this is my car. Jim, I acquired it from Bruce’s collection in the LA area. yes, might be your work. I always enjoy the dramatic reactions the Matra M530 has with everyone from WTF? to WTF!!! love it, hate it. dont know what to think, and everything in between. its beautifully executed design with Direct linage to the Leman prototype cars that beat the pant of Porsche. I think the fact the car is so unknown is what causes such strong reactions. more “popular but less well styled” cars may be regarded as ‘great looking’ just because they are known in their respective position. anyways – even though it isn’t a powerful car by any stretch – its a very quick car, i don’t slow down in the corners and just cranks over and hangs on! love it. but i’ve always liked Avant Garde.

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