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The Matra-Simca Bagheera: Three Seats of Fun

The Matra-Simca Bagheera is a unique and iconic car that was produced by the French automaker Matra-Simca from 1973 to 1980. With its distinctive three-seat layout and sleek design, the Bagheera quickly gained a reputation as a fun and exciting sports car. In this article, we will explore the history of the Matra-Simca Bagheera, its design and features, its performance on the road, and its lasting impact on the automotive industry.

The History of the Matra-Simca Bagheera

The Matra-Simca Bagheera was first introduced in 1973 as a successor to the Matra Djet. The Djet was a small, two-seat sports car that was produced by Matra from 1962 to 1967. While the Djet was well-received, Matra wanted to create a car that offered more seating capacity and a more comfortable driving experience.

Matra teamed up with Simca, a French automaker, to develop the Bagheera. Simca provided the engine and transmission for the car, while Matra handled the design and production. The collaboration between the two companies resulted in a unique and innovative sports car that stood out from its competitors.

Design and Features

One of the most distinctive features of the Matra-Simca Bagheera is its three-seat layout. Unlike traditional sports cars that only have two seats, the Bagheera has a third seat located in the middle of the car, between the two front seats. This configuration allows for a more social driving experience, as the driver and passengers can easily interact with each other.

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In addition to its unique seating arrangement, the Bagheera also features a sleek and aerodynamic design. The car has a low, wide stance and a curved roofline that gives it a sporty and aggressive look. The front end of the car is characterized by its large, rectangular headlights and a prominent grille, while the rear end features a distinctive wraparound taillight design.

Inside the car, the Bagheera offers a comfortable and well-appointed cabin. The seats are upholstered in high-quality materials and provide ample support for both the driver and passengers. The dashboard is simple and uncluttered, with easy-to-read gauges and controls.

Performance on the Road

The Matra-Simca Bagheera is powered by a range of engines, depending on the model year and trim level. The most common engine option is a 1.4-liter inline-four engine that produces around 84 horsepower. While this may not seem like a lot of power by today’s standards, it was more than enough to provide the Bagheera with lively and engaging performance.

Thanks to its lightweight construction and responsive handling, the Bagheera is a joy to drive on twisty roads. The car’s low center of gravity and balanced weight distribution contribute to its excellent handling characteristics, allowing it to corner with precision and confidence.

Acceleration is brisk, with the Bagheera able to go from 0 to 60 mph in around 11 seconds. The car’s top speed is around 110 mph, which is impressive for a car of its era.

Impact on the Automotive Industry

The Matra-Simca Bagheera had a significant impact on the automotive industry, both in France and internationally. The car’s unique three-seat layout and innovative design set it apart from its competitors and made it a standout in the sports car market.

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The Bagheera’s success also helped to solidify Matra’s reputation as a manufacturer of high-quality and innovative cars. Prior to the Bagheera, Matra was primarily known for its involvement in motorsports, particularly in Formula One racing. The Bagheera allowed Matra to showcase its engineering expertise and design capabilities to a wider audience.

Furthermore, the Bagheera’s three-seat layout influenced the design of future sports cars. While the three-seat configuration did not become mainstream, it inspired other automakers to think outside the box and explore new seating arrangements and interior layouts.


The Matra-Simca Bagheera is a truly unique and iconic sports car that left a lasting impact on the automotive industry. With its distinctive three-seat layout, sleek design, and engaging performance, the Bagheera offered a driving experience like no other.

While the Bagheera may not have achieved the same level of fame as some of its contemporaries, it remains a beloved and sought-after classic car among enthusiasts. Its innovative design and forward-thinking features continue to inspire and influence the automotive industry to this day.

Whether you’re a fan of classic cars or simply appreciate innovative design, the Matra-Simca Bagheera is a car that deserves recognition and admiration. Its three seats of fun are sure to provide a memorable and enjoyable driving experience for anyone lucky enough to get behind the wheel.

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