Looking for a unique vehicle, one that you’ll probably never see anywhere else? Look no further than this Talbot-Matra Murena. It is most likely the lowest mileage in existence. The factory was in Romorantin-Lanthenay in the state of Loire-et-Cher in central France. This car has been slumbering in a car museum in Arkansas most of it’s life. We purchased the car from the museum directly. The car has been recently brought back to life with a tune up and brake job.
Finished in Beige Gold (code FT), the car’s paint and trim are in very good order. The bodywork is straight and solid and the body-colored bumpers fit tightly to the body. The car’s 12 major body panels were made of fiberglass-epoxy. According to Matra’s general manager, Jean-Louis Caussin, these body panels were produced using a manufacturing process known as the “sheet molding compound” molding process.
‘Murena,’ which is Italian for moray and this automotive version has a hatchback body. Engineering of the car was done entirely by Matra. Greek industrial designer Antonis Volanis, who had contributed to the interior of the earlier Bagheera, and been principal designer for the Matra Rancho, headed up the design.
The Murena drew heavily from the corporate parts bin, using engines from the Talbot Solara and Talbot Tagora, a transaxle from the Citron CX and the taillights resemble a blend of Porsche 944 and third-generation Chevrolet Camaro, a steering rack and front suspension from the Talbot Horizon, front indicator and running lights from the Renault 12 and door handles from the Peugeot 505.
This Murena rolls on older Pirelli Cinturato radials, size 185/60HR14 in front and 195/60HR14 in back. Each one is mounted on factory finned alloy wheels. The wheels are in great shape while the tires are in very good order. The front suspension was similar to the Bagheera’s, while the rear suspension was a departure. At the front were upper and lower transverse A-arms with longitudinal torsion bars and telescopic hydraulic shock-absorbers. An anti-roll bar was also fitted. At the rear, the Bagheera’s torsion bar suspension was replaced by MacPherson struts and coil springs with trailing arms and an anti-roll bar.
Under the rear hatch and cover is a 2.2L SOHC transversely-mounted engine with a single Solex two-barrel carburetor. Backing it is a five-speed manual transmission derived from the Citron CX. The car was recently inspected, tuned and received a complete brake service.
The Murena’s chassis was like the Bagheera, although it was a new design. In appearance, it was very close to a full unibody. The differed from the Bagheera’s in that the rear cradle was reconfigured to accommodate a new rear suspension system. The Murena was the first production car to use galvanized steel for all chassis parts. The car is in astounding original condition and has had a comprehensive cleaning and dry ice blasting of the underside to show how well the car has been preserved.
Even though it used a chassis very similar in principle to the Bagheera and the same basic body-style, the Murena’s styling was all-new. The final shape was extremely aerodynamic for the time, with a reported drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.328. The rear hatch opened to provide access to the engine mounted behind the passenger compartment and a rear luggage area.
Inside, the seats are upholstered in a dark bronze velour. The seats look great. A signature feature carried over from the previous model was the seating arrangement – in the Murena, the three seats were separate, in contrast to the 2+1 arrangement in the Bagheera. The center seat folds down when not in use. The brown carpet is in similar order, as does the brown headliner. There’s a two-spoke steering wheel that looks like it came from a Citron. The brown instrument panel features a full array of gauges and the inner door panels look good. A floor-mounted shift lever completes the interior.
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Location: Fenton, Missouri, United States