- Described in period as being a practical sports car
- Designed by Matra themselves with one of the lowest drag coefficients of the time
- Powered by a 2.2-litre, SOHC, 4-cyl. offering 116bhp, 0-60 in 9 seconds and 114mph
- A five-speed gearbox was a standard fitting
- Supplied by Sports Cars Unlimited, Newcastle finished in Mephisto Red
- One recorded keeper from first registration in April 1983 and a low indicated mileage of just 21,340
- In storage since 1992 so an element of recommissioning is to be expected
The Matra Murena (Project M551) is a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive hatchback that was produced from 1980 through 1983 by the French engineering group Matra located in the commune of Romorantin-Lanthenay in central France. An intriguing design by Greek stylist, Antonis Volanis, described in period as being a "practical sports car" with a distinctive style, three-across seating and intelligent use of space aimed at those individuals who enjoy driving.
Unlike Matras earlier cars whose frames were prone to rust, the Murena utilised an industry-first hot-dipped galvanized frame that was backed by an unprecedented six year rust-through warranty. The galvanizing process added protection and increased the torsional stiffness of the chassis by a measurable amount. After the process was completed, the body was riveted and bonded to it, producing a strong and long-lasting vehicle. The Murenas sleek wedge profile consisted of even fewer panels than the Bagheera, only 12 compared with 19, resulting in a drag-coefficient of just 0.32, pretty slippery.
This particular Murena was purchased by its one recorded keeper in 1983. He was looking for a sports car built to a high standard that would be rust free and provide a bit of fun. With that he mind, he made contact with Sports Cars Unlimited in Newcastle Upon Tyne and an order was placed directly with the manufacturer. He later collected the car directly from Matra driving home via Ostend to Dover, whereupon it was officially imported into the UK. Related paperwork accompanies the car together with two handbooks, one in French and the other in Dutch, sales brochures, specification sheets and original purchase invoices. Even the temporary number plate to allow travel to the UK remains within the history file. In 1992, due to a change in circumstances the Murena went into storage and has only recently seen the light of day. An interesting concept being mid-engined with three seats that will be a rarity on UK roads today or even in Europe come to that !!