(first posted 3/9/2012) Mid-engined sports cars really exploded in the mid-late sixties, imitating the format that had suddenly swept all aspects of the racing world. Matra was one of the first, with their 1962 Djet (spelled that way because its designer René Bonnet doubted the French could pronounce “Jet” correctly). That very ovoid little buzz-bomb gave way to this more civilized M530 of 1967, noted for its odd design.
Hey; it is French! The Matra had room for both 2+2 seating and a mid-rear engine by using the extremely short Ford Cologne V4, as also used by the Saab 96. With 70 hp, the M530 was hardly a jet; in fact its 0 – 60 time of 15.6 seconds was slower than a 1968 Kadett 1700 station wagon.
Here’s the Djet:
The Ford V4 engine was built with thinwall casting technology and weight was pretty close to VW engines, ~250 pounds. It was used as an industrial engine and sold against VW industrial engines. It was something of a gem, except for the wooden/plastic gear for the balance shaft. Balance shaft bearings also got oil pressure after everything else and would wear out before other engine bearings. It was a 60° engine, in common with the related Ford 60° V6 and had the balance shaft. I never understood why the balance shaft was used for the drive belt, making the fan, water pump & alternator run counter-clockwise; the engine would run with the balance shaft not turning.
Yes, the same Ford V4 was used in the German Ford Taunus throughout the 1960’s too.
awesome! didn’t know about these, the matra reminds me of the brazilian puma
The coupe reminds me of an Alpine-Renault A110.
Now that’s a car I’d like to read a CC on. Followed by its Malaise sibling, the A310.
I was just thinking that the Djet bears a resemblance to the A110.
A310 is a favorite too, despite never having been sold here (I don’t think?) Saw a couple at a car show back in ’10, very dramatic machines.
Nice looking little coupe shame about the Transit engine very compact but very rough.
The coupe kinda looks like a baby 246 Dino, the targa though….is horrible, that is an awkward looking car. Ugh. It’s like someone made a 4 seat 914, I’ve seen home made cars with better looks.
I guess that is the same German V4 that was used in Saab Models 95 and 96.
Pretty much- the Ford engine was tested early-on in SAAB 93/96 before it was in a Ford. SAAB tuned the engine to run pretty much like a SAAB 2-stroke, with 40# valve springs, so it could be wound up until it would not go any faster. The early engines were 1500cc & with a Solex carb, would get ~40mpg on the road. I spoze to save on cost, the engines in the SAABs had “soft” valves &, in a very SAAB way, had stickers on the gas filler stating “leaded fuel only”.
Very sensitive to angle and colour, this car. In white, it looks almost pretty, if still gangly.
I remember seeing what had to be a Djet in Nashville, of all places, when I was a kid. I have no idea where it came from or who owned it–maybe the same guy who owned the Citroen SM? The only one I’ve ever seen in the wild.
I think the Matra 530 ought to be looked upon as a piece of the epoch. The design is considered “avant garde”. Braking with tradition is part of being avant garde. At that time they were shocking and interesting. I liked it then and I still like it now for exactly that reason. Also, the bodies were out of polyester resin; there, just like a dune buggy, or a Corvette.
from the Le Mans drivers’ parade 2012
That car looks like a Fiat X19 gets pregnant by a Lotus Élan.
The Matra Djet was originally the Bonnet Djet, with a Renault engine, before Matra took over Bonnet.
Never liked the V4 motor – I presume it was related to the British Ford V4 engine, designed for the Transit van, which was a dog.( The motor, not the van ).
The British (Essex) and German (Cologne) Ford vee engines were not the same. They were both designed to the same purpose — to fit in the jointly developed Mk1 Transit — but they had distinct architectures and were offered in different displacements and configurations. Matra and Saab used German V-4s from the Taunus line (15M for the Saab, 17M for the Matra 530).
I know the V-6 Essex ended up in a bunch of small-volume British makes (notably the Reliant Scimitar), but I don’t remember if there were outside users of the Essex V-4. (There might have been; keeping track of British cottage industry automakers of the ’60s and ’70s is no easy thing.)
I think the only other use of the Transit V4 was in the Corsair ( an enlarged up-market Cortina with an exotic Bullet-Bird nose).It replaced the in-line Kent engine, not because it was better but because Ford had lots of them to find homes for. The regular Corsair got a 1700 V4 and the posh Corsair 2000E got a 2 litre V4 and a vinyl roof. A few more V4s found homes in NSU Ro 80s to replace the wankel – not much else would fit….
I know the Essex V-4 ended up in the Corsair — I’m just wondering if it was used in any non-Ford makes the way the V-6 was (other than a few unfortunate Ro 80s, which obviously wasn’t quite the same thing as a Scimitar GTE or the like!).
This is my Matra M530 LX 1971.
It is complete rebuild. Allmost original. Only the wheels are different.
Nice car ;o)
What is the reference for your rim aluminium wheel ?
Is that your engine is a Ford V4?
Have modify your engine ?
Thank for your answers :o)