Matra (Mécanique Aviation TRAction) was a French company that has a history of building oddball classics, Grand Prix winning F1 cars, and a few minivans. But, if you like vehicles with three abreast bucket seats and unpronounceable names from a Rudyard Kipling novel it doesn’t get much better than a Matra Bagheera. Find this 1977 Matra Bagheera S offered for $10,000 in Wheat Ridge, CO via craigslist. Tip from George.
This Antonis Volanis (Greek born designer of the Renault Espace, Citroen Xsara, plus other industrial design work) penned misfit is named after the black panther who finds the orphan Mowgli in Kipling’s first short story in his 1894 The Jungle Book collection. Actually the car was made after the 1967 Disney film adaptation of that story, so it may have been inspired by the cartoon, but the polyester body mounted on top of a steel subframe is pure 70s sweet.
Things get strange when you start popping the hood, trunk, or side panels in a classic French car, so I’ve got to check…yes…this is the engine, located under a false floor in the cargo area under the hatchback. It is a 1.5 liter Simca “Poissy” inline-4 that puts out 89 horsepower and 88 ft-lbs of torque into the rear wheels.
Seating in the Bagheera is limited to you and two of your best buds, the single row of seating consists of a driver’s seat and a twin-bucket setup for two passengers.
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