Matra 530

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This article is about a sports car. For the air-to-air missile, see Matra R530.
Matra 530
MHV Matra 530.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Matra Automobiles
Also called Matra Sports M530A
Matra Simca M530LX/SX
Production 1967–1973
Assembly France
Designer Philippe Guédon (original design), Studio Michelotti (1970 facelift)
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 2-door targa top 2+2
Layout MR layout
Related Taunus 15M TS (running gear), Renault 16 (headlights)
Powertrain
Engine 1.7 L Taunus V4 OHV V4
Transmission 4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2.65 metres (104.3 in)
Length 4.197 metres (165.2 in)
Width 1.62 metres (63.8 in)
Height 1.20 metres (47.2 in)
Curb weight 935 kg (2,061 lb) (LX)
915 kg (2,017 lb) (SX)
Chronology
Predecessor Matra Djet
Successor Matra Bagheera

The Matra 530 is a sports car created and built by the French engineering group Matra.

Development[edit]

In 1965 Matra's CEO Jean-Luc Lagardère decided to develop a sports car that would be more accessible to the ordinary, non-racing public, a voiture des copains (car for chums), as a successor to the Matra Djet. The result was the first "true" Matra sports car, (the Djet had been a René Bonnet design) the Matra M530. The car was named after Matra's R.530 missile, and designed by a former Simca designer called Philippe Guédon.

Like its predecessor, the M530 was built on a steel frame with polyester body and had a mid-engine. To accommodate a 2+2, mid-engine layout and a reasonable boot, various engine options were considered. In the end, the running gear came from Ford in Germany: the "high compression" 1699 cc Ford Taunus V4 engine and gearbox from the Taunus 15M TS were chosen. This combination was compact enough to fit between the rear seats and the boot.

Other unusual features of the M530 were its targa top roof, pop-up headlights and, most notably, the outstanding avant-garde design.

M530A[edit]

M530A painted by Sonia Delaunay

The first 530 (badged Matra Sports M530A) was shown to the public on March 7, 1967 at the Geneva Motor Show. It had a 70 DIN hp Ford 1700 cc V4 engine, which gave the car a top speed of 175 km/h (109 mph). It entered production a month later, incorporating modifications that included the addition of a chrome bumper bar to provide for the front grill much needed protection from parking shunts, a modest reshaping of the dashboard to give the passenger a little more knee room, and the repositioning of the ignition key to facilitate access.[1] In its first two production years, the chassis was built by Carrier in Alençon and assembly was undertaken by French coachbuilder Brissonneau et Lotz at Creil.[2] The engine bay of the early model 530 was accessible by removing the acrylic glass rear window.

French artist Sonia Delaunay painted a 530A at special request of Matra's CEO Jean-Luc Lagardère in 1968.[3]

1969 saw many changes to the 530. First, the running gear followed the same evolution as the Ford model it was taken from and power increased to 75 DIN hp by using a different carburetor. Secondly, Matra closed a deal with Chrysler Europe, to sell their cars through the Simca dealer network from 1970 onwards and jointly develop the M530's successor. Finally, the cars were now constructed completely at the Matra Automobiles factory in Romorantin.

The British "Autocar" magazine tested a Matra M530A in March 1969.[4] The car had a top speed of 95 mph (153 km/h) and accelerated from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 15.6 seconds. An "overall" fuel consumption of 26.9 miles per imperial gallon (10.5 L/100 km; 22.4 mpg-US) was recorded.[4] This put it significantly behind the similarly priced Lotus Elan +2 on performance, but the two cars were closely matched on fuel economy.[4] The Ford engined Matra's £2,160 manufacturer's recommended price was a little lower than the £2,244 price on the Lotus, but both were massively undercut by the £1,217 then being asked for the MG MGB GT, based on an older simpler design and sold in greater numbers.[4] Also included in the price comparison was the Porsche 912 then being offered in the UK with a manufacturer's recommended retail price of £2,894.[4] The testers commended the Matra's refinement, handling and steering, soundness of construction and finish, while noting that its performance was 'not outstanding'.[4]

M530LX[edit]

Introduced at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show was the Matra Simca M530LX, which was a minor redesign of the 530A by Michelotti. The most notable changes were the rear hatch (now made of glass and opens with struts like a hatchback) and the front bumper.

M530SX[edit]

A budget version of the 530, the Matra Simca 530SX, was introduced in October 1971.[5] The SX lacks the targa top roof and pop-up headlights; instead, there were four fixed headlights mounted on top of the front. The only available colours were orange and white, and the SX featured black bumpers instead of the LX's chrome bumpers.

Production numbers[edit]

M530's production ceased in 1973, after a total of 9,609 cars (2,062 530A, 4,731 530LX and 1,146 530SX) were built.[6]

No right-hand drive M530s were built.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Automobilia". Toutes les voitures françaises 1968 (salon [Paris Oct] 1967) (Paris: Histoire & collections). Nr. 29: Pages 42–43. 2004. 
  2. ^ MATRA 530 (1967-1973)
  3. ^ L'Incroyable Collection; Matra 530 Sonia Delaunay
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Autotest - Matra M530A". Autocar. 130 (nbr 3813): pages 6–11. 13 March 1969. 
  5. ^ Simca & Matra Sports Club
  6. ^ The Matra M530