French manufacturer Matra’s main line of business was always missiles and other heavy armaments, but they had taken over car production back in the early 1960s, and in 1967 decided it was time for them to develop, build and market their own car. The result was the 1967 Matra M530. By all accounts, the M530 was a competent car, and one of the first mid-engine sports car to hit the markets. It distinguished itself by its superior handling, build quality and comfort. Its look and design really are “love it or hate it” case: the design is somewhat awkward, with the front and rear of the cars not really matching, as well as a detachable targa roof and a pair of tiny back seats.
The problem with the M530 was its engine. Matra bought their engines from Ford (Germany), a Taunus V4 engine with a 1.7-liter displacement, which produced an anemic 73 horsepower. This lack of actual power was the M530’s greatest flaw, as it really couldn’t deliver anywhere near the level of performance required to be considered a true sports car. That being said, the M530 was a pleasant car to drive, with its handling truly becoming the focal point of the experience in lieu of power.
The 1967 Matra M530 was Matra’s first go at producing their own car, and while it wasn’t entirely a success, it paved the way for some really fun cars later on.