Matra P29

Car of the Day #133: Matra P29 — A French tour de force

Matra P29
Matra P29 concept car

What’s going on here? Quelle dafuq?

This forgotten freewheelin’ French fantasy sports car looks like the love child between a Renault 5 Turbo II, Gillet Vertigo, and Ford Indigo. Today’s entry, the Matra P29, will sadly be a shorter one simply because it’s been difficult to find much information on this quirky concept from 1986.

Introduced at the Paris Motor Show that year, it was a blend of advanced technology and construction methods, methods that would later be seen on the production RenaultSport Spider. Matra’s 29th prototype, the so-named P29, had a reinforced aluminum honeycomb chassis, polycarbonate body panels, with composite spoilers.

“The car’s aero is active in that the rear aileron is coupled to measure suspension angle of incidence and the difference of adhesion between the front and rear axles, and adjusts to maintain a balance. The bodywork at the rear is enclosed with the wheel arches protruding out in an aerodynamic clubman’s form, with scoops taking air flowing off the sill into the rear brakes. Behind the intake scoop and below the leading edge of the wheel arch is a spat-deflector, fitted to reduce drag and lift-inducing-airflow onto the tyres and under the car.” – Richard at (.pdf)

Composites were also said to have been used for the suspension parts both front and rear. Other weight-saving measures included magnesium wheel hubs with aluminum rims — this is quite a lot of hot sauce for 1986.

A mid-mounted, supercharged, all-aluminum 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine with 255 horsepower provided motive force, with a five-speed transmission and all-wheel-drive.