Monday, May 25, 2015

10k: A Whattra Bagwhatras? 1977 Matra Bagheera S

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. 

See a better car for driving something rare and lightweight? Send it here:


  1. So much to comment on.... First, anyone who was in Cub Scouts would know how to pronounce Bagheera. On the other hand, I am still struggling with "Xsara", and I am a Citroen guy.

    Next, being French, the seating in this gem was designed to accommodate both the wife AND the mistress, at the same time. Vive la difference!

    I remember these when they were new in France. They had a real presence, and they have aged well (so has Catherine Deneuve - coincidence? I think not!).

    How did I not know that these were rear/mid-engined? Very cool.

    Lastly, how did DT resist the urge to point out that this car is a "right hooker", which adds a massive extra dose of exclusivity to things? Oh, and simply by using the term "right hooker" I probably have boosted DT's search result hits by a factor of 10. You're welcome.

    1. I would think the McLaren F1 is a better approach for the wife-and-mistress seating.

      You're also more likely able to afford both if you can afford the F1.

    2. Good point about the McLaren F1. You don't want them talking to each other!

  2. I am impressed with the dash covering! looks like nice work!

    The fit of the hood and the fact that a welder is suggested as the optimal buyer is worrisome. Not running right now either.

  3. Both the Bagheera and the Murena are on my bucket list. I was under the impression that the Bagheera was designed by the head of Matra Automotive, Philippe Guedon, despite what the English version of Wikipedia claims. I believe it's correct in the French version of Wikipedia but I don't read French. I could be wrong but I've got to go to the bathroom for a oui.

    Talbot-Matra Murena S


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