Matra Simca Bagheera

Total Production: 47,802 1973 - 1980
The Matra Bagheera was in production from 1973 through 1980. The French engineering group Matra was taken over by Simca in 1969, which in turn became fully Chrysler-owned a year later.

The Bagheera was named after Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book panther and was powered by a Simca engine inclined and mounted transversely at the rear. They featured power-assisted disc brakes, an all-independent suspension, and a fiberglass coupe body on an ungalvanized steel spaceframe.

Simca stock components were used throughout the vehicle, including the engine, gearbox and suspension elements.

The Bagheera had a hatchback bodystyle, with a rear hatch that allowed access to the engine mounted behind the passenger compartment. There was room for three individuals on one row of seats, with an unusual three-abreast arrangement.

When introduced in 1973, power was from Simca's 1.3-liter straight-4 'Poissy engine.' A 1.5-liter version arrived in 1975.

In 1976, the Bagheera was given a major restyling with basically just the rear hatch unchanged. Another update occurred in 1978, when the dashboard was replaced. The following year, the Bagheera received conventional door handles in place of the previous 'hidden' ones.

During the production lifespan, a total of 47,802 examples were built. The Bagheera was Matra's highest volume production car.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2017