Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Matra Laser

The Matra Laser is the archetypal 1970s concept car: wedge-shaped styling, unorthodox door hinges, non-round steering wheel, improbable seats... the retro-futuristic Michelotti design is something that you could imagine the likes of Lamborghini might seriously have considered for production.
The Laser was mid-engined, although powered by Ford's 1700cc V4 unit (as found in the Corsair), which perhaps didn't back up the performance promises made by the silhouette. But ignore the uninspiring engine and out-of-place gauges on the dash - focus on the mad four-piece seats, the Quartic steering wheel that predated anything BL did, the wraparound rear lights, the vast glasshouse... this one-off 1971 prototype proved that the French were as capable as any of displaying flair and surprising design. Bear in mind that this was the era of the Renault 4 and the Citroën H-van: the Matra Laser must have looked like some kind of terrifying spaceship.
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