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One-Of-A-Kind: 1971 Matra Laser

The Marta Laser was a one-off, French-built concept car that didn’t result in a production automobile. It was built by Matra, a company whose reputation came from its work in the aeronautics and weaponry industries. Thought to be lost for many years, the car made its way to Tokyo, Japan in the early years of the 21st Century. Which is where it resides today and is available here on tpejapan for approximately USD 281,500. Thanks to Kyle K for this terrific tip!

Matra got involved in Formula 1 racing in 1968. Through their collaboration, Matra and Ford won the 1969 Constructors’ Championship with driver Jackie Stewart. This success led to Matra getting into the production of sports cars for road use, the first of which was the M530 (named after a surface-to-air missile), and updated in design by Giovanni Michelotti in 1970. Michelotti would later become known for his work in the styling of the 700 and 2002 cars built by BMW.

The Laser was based on the M530’s chassis and used a mid-engine layout, Its bodywork had the wedge-shaped profile that became popular with 1970s concept cars and used gullwing doors for entry and exit to the auto. Only about 42 inches tall, the Laser’s odd door sills were designed to increase structural rigidity and channel cool air for the 1700-cc Ford V4 engine that was borrowed to power the machine.

In 1971, the prototype made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show wearing yellow paint, much louder than the silver that it switched to for presentation at the 1972 Montreal Auto Salon. After that, it took up residence in an auto museum and went off the radar screen until the turn of the century. Fast forward to 2009 and the Laser resurfaced at the Tokyo Concours d’Elegance. We don’t know what the car has been up to in the decade or more since then, but someone with deep pockets has the opportunity to own a piece of lesser-known automotive history.

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Interesting looking car.I’ve never seen one before.

    Like 7
    • Euromoto Member

      Maybe because this is the only one in existence?

      Like 17
      • angliagt angliagt Member

        No – that’s not it.

        Like 17
    • Martin Horrocks

      All mystique gets lost with the V4 Ford engine. OK in a Transit van but…

      Like 8
      • scottymac

        Depends, we talking about the 2.0 Essex, or the 1.5/1.7 Cologne?

        Like 0
  2. Gary

    A better looking DMC

    Like 6
    • Dave

      Or is the DMC a worse looking Matra Laser…

      Like 2
  3. Howie

    Killer car, some of the photos are not great, but i think it is a fair price for what it is.

    Like 9
  4. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    1700cc V4?
    No wonder no one was interested in a production model. Supercar looks, with a bean-counter drivetrain.
    When I think of Matra, I think of the V12 F1 engines: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/9f/ca/ea/9fcaead8e2161a027e1af6a309e1ed61–v-engine-formula–car.jpg

    Like 1
  5. ItalianAmerican

    Wheels appear to be Campagnolos, same as a DeTomaso Mangusta.
    V4?

    Like 1
  6. Vlrd56

    Too expensive, a Matra Bagherra costs ten time less on running condition.

    Like 2
  7. Bullethead

    Much more information and a bunch of photos can be found here:

    http://www.speedhunters.com/2019/03/two-michelotti-concept-cars-in-japan/

    Bagherra’s are cool… and seat three across!

    Like 1
    • PeterJ

      Thanks. great photos… and Bagheeras are wonderful.. who needs a gut busting fuel hungry engine with looks this good..not to mention the joy of the three seats..

      Like 0
  8. Raymond B Clark

    We had a Matra show up race day, did some early track testing, looked great but when they pulled into the pits they found the Renault engine was only running on 3. Looked impressive for a car that was limping :)
    Wanted one but not at this price :(

    Like 0
  9. Lance

    I’ll take the one next to it.

    Like 4
  10. Jasper

    Cool. Reminds me of the Dome 0 prototype. Never made it as an actual car but was immortalized in small scale.

    Like 1
  11. Geoff C

    Ford v4’s are for old, Saa-aa-aabs. And air compressors.

    Like 3
  12. Paul N

    i wonder if delorean saw this, and got the inspiration for the DMC

    Like 2
    • SubGothius

      DeLorean was never a designer, just a management executive, albeit a rather daring and forward-thinking one. His DMC-12 was styled by famed Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, one of the most prolific and influential in the industry.

      That said, I don’t see much influence/inspiration here; before the DMC-12 there had been many others with gullwing doors and a general wedge-fastback shape before and since this concept, including Giugiaro’s own Porsche Tapiro and Maserati Boomerang concepts from around this time.

      Like 3
  13. Big C

    I wouldn’t buy it unless you could see it in person and give it a once over. Take a day off, wander over to Tokyo, kick the tires, etc.

    Like 1
  14. douglas hunt

    a new one for me, though I have heard of the Bagherra …..

    Like 0
  15. GOM

    Don’t quickly dismiss the Ford V4. The SAAB Sonnets had them and they were fairly frisky, and the SAAB 96 was well regarded in ice racing and rallying circles. Unlike high-strung sports car engines, you can beat on a V4 endlessly and it’ll keep on ticking. I think this car would have been a hoot if it had hit production.

    Like 1
  16. Chris Dalitz

    What is the black car behind it?

    Like 0
  17. Steve G

    The “eyelashes” are Muira like. Wierd that a French designer would utilize an Italian design element.

    Wonder which car would do better in a head to head. This car or a Saab Sonnet v-4.

    Like 0
    • SubGothius

      Matra is a French company, but this concept was styled by Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti.

      Like 0
  18. chrlsful

    I like the long line of French/Italian collaboration. Much better than the centuries of war! (mechanical OR style)

    Not sure the german cologne/brit Essex on this 1 but have the 3.8L in my parts runner (same as the SAAB). Would not matter to me, been wishin to get my hands on the bent4 a long time (dont think the cologne ever wuz that small but they definatly had more variations than the essex). I think itsa hoot. A lill bigger than the 15/1600 cc Italians I messed w/so often in the 50’s/’60s models. Probably the essex. Lub a mid engine (916/6; X 1/9, hada MR2, ferro, etc). This might B just right (so sm as to B able to quiet down in cabin)?

    Finally, BF is early this year. I watch and count for each “I never saw THAT before” on the opening page. Got 3 or 4 tops one yr. Never this early in the yr tho (lived in 2 “car guy” places – Boston and LA & am close to 3/4 century old)… So I say – “here’s one I never saw B4”. Hope U break ur record w/me THIS yr !!

    Thnx to Russ’n Kyle !

    Like 1

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