Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Matra Murena has three-across seating and a freaking Panther on the hood. No, seriously. I’m about ready to pass out from all that awesomeness so I’ll just leave it up to you to say if its price proves all that Matras.

Everybody likes it when someone brings da’ funk, but absolutely no one enjoys being defunct. The company that built yesterday’s custom 2003 Nissan350Z– Momentum Performance – just so happens to be defunct, and 64% of you felt there was nothing funky about the custom car’s thirteen-grand asking price.

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Hey, speaking of funky, do you remember that weird RHDMatra-Simca Bagheera we had back in July? I know I do. That one was a fright pig for many reasons, but I must say I love those cars mostly for the name – Bagheera is just so cool. I also admire them for the audacity of three-across seating in a mid-engine sports car. I mean who does that? Oh yeah, McLaren. good company to keep, no?

The Bagheera had a big problem however that McLaren didn’t and that was rust. The cars were plastic on top (just like that stripper last Saturday night!) but unprotected steel underneath. That steel liked to turn into red powder like it was working overtime at the Kool Aid factory.

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That was rectified in the follow up car – the Murena – as, while it was still fiberglass and steel, the frame was fully galvanized from the factory. Go, French People!

That means that this 1983 Matra Murena likely is a solid citizen. That of course isn’t this particular car’s most notable attribute however. No, that would be the aggressively testosterone-ic panther pic airbrushed onto its hood, er… trunklid.

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Who would do such a thing? I don’t know but I’d like to shake his hand. The black panther is set off against medium blue metallic paint which the seller says still holds a shine. Factory turbine wheels are a nice touch here, and the car seems to be stock aside from the cat on the nose and an extended front air dam.

Mechanically, it’s it’s got it going on too, as this is the 2.2-litre edition which shared its 117-bhp sidewinder four with the Talbot Tagora. Sadly it’s not the 142-bhp twin-choke S model. Weirdly the engine bay looks like it’s filled with the water from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in the pic. That may just be a trick of the light, though. It otherwise looks complete in there, which is more important than the pirate thing.

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Inside looks to also be in usable condition and, yes, it rocks three-wide seats. The middle one can be folded down when not in use, like a big-ass armrest. When up, it looks like a tufted life-sized art project rendition of Gene Simmons’ tongue. There’s some delaminating of the passenger side door card here, and overall it’s kind of grimy, but that’s nothing you wouldn’t experience with Gene as well.

Matras were never officially imported to the U.S., and how this car ended up in, of all places Cleveland, is anybody’s guess. Still, it’s old enough to get a pass from Uncle Sam so letting it stay here shouldn’t be a problem.

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The seller recommends a full inspection and some ‘reconditioning’ as the car has been sitting inside for some time. And yes, that’s a green Porsche tractor sitting behind it so the seller’s claim of eclectic tastes is well validated. He also claims to have owned one of every Matra street model ever built which must be an interesting conversation starter/killer at parties.

If you’d like to start your Matra experience with this Murena then you’ll probably need to come up with the $9,500 the seller is asking for the opportunity. That’s a lot cheaper than that rattle trap Bagheera of a month ago, and this car is in vastly better shape.

What’s your take on this funky French sports car and that $9,500 price? Is that a deal considering the rarity and awesome artwork? Or, is this just another example of French inaction?

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You decide!

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