When I first got involved with Matra cars, I assumed that many parts would be common with other vehicles. If you are new to Matra please do not make that mistake. The parts that are common are relatively few, and many of the donor cars are rarer than Matras.
While some parts such as engines and gearboxes are common, others such as brakes are not.
Matra worked closely with Allied Signal, the artists formerly known as Bendix, on all their projects. Allied had their own unit at Matra’s CERAM test track at Mortefontaine.
When Matra went to Bendix and said. ‘Hey guys, we’re gonna build us 10,000 sports cars and we’re gonna do it right here’, Bendix’s reaction would not have been
‘OK, we’ll look in the bin, see what we’ve got’
It would have been: ‘Zoot alors! We’ll work closely with your engineers and produce components of the exact specification you require.’ After all, 10,000 is a lot of components unless your name is Ford in which case the bin, any bin, will do.
The commonality of the Tagora engine is not a great help. The Tagora was not a popular car – perhaps rarer than the Murena – and many were either diesel or V6.
Murena 2.2 engine parts are becoming rare, but some 1.6 engine parts may be rarer. However we have yet to have a serious problem with either.
The murena gearbox belongs to a family of units built by Citroen for vehicles ranging from the Talbot Solara to the Talbot Express van, by way of the Citroen CX. The ratios are definitely van-like in the murena, but later CX turbo diesels had very high 5th gears which can be retro-fitted to the murena 2.2.. Many gearbox parts are now unavailable, although we have found suitable substitutes from the same family.
Perhaps the most common element in the Murena is the steering and front suspension, some of the components and bushes being common with the Horizon etc. But the steering rack is special, being higher geared than other versions. One theory is that it could be Simca 1100Ti.
The Murena radiator is similar to the Citroen Visa – except that its fitted upside down and has the core of from another car.
The door mirrors are from one version of the Lancia Delta. But have you ever tried buying anything from a Fiat/Lancia dealer? For every query they have to refer to a book, a screen, a microfiche and a CD-rom and then they can’t obtain the parts because all the cars rusted away years ago.
We’ve spent 25 years sourcing parts for Matras and generally either have the parts or know where to get them.