Matra-Simca: Rescue of the White Panthers

Even the normal version of that Matra-Simca with the name of Jungle Book Bagheera Panthers was original. Still oblique and very rare which is decorated in white special edition Courrèges. Two Matra Bagheera fans from the Karlsruhe region fought for the survival of a former Courrèges.

07/16/2011 Bernd Woytal Powered by

"To drive a dream," Lars Fichtner from Karlsruhe called one of the reasons why it the Matra Bagheera so fascinated. The extravagant three-seater 70s, often ridiculed for its extremely sloppy processing and short in some specimens spread between production and expiry date, applies all his enthusiasm. This was so to speak, put him in the cradle. His father was one of the select group of Bagheera pilots.


With a beauty in Bagheera all began

Who had become aware of the car through an attractive Matra Bagheera- owner, and soon after, he was driving her Matra Bagheera. The upgraded to LPG vehicle put then in the care of professional itinerant throughout Germany Mr. incredible 400,000 km back - a distance that places itself Matra Bagheera opponents in amazement. This exact Bagheera, which, however, was good for only as parts of the carrier, and another drivable copy, which also came from the hand of the Father, formed the basis for the collection of Lars Fichtner.

With the second he went the way even to school and was, of course, the uncrowned king among his classmates. Apart from a small time out in today's computer software developers dealt with the Porsche brand, now turns over 20 years all around the Matra Bagheera. This type its full keeps faith. "Currently I have four Matra Bagheera," he says. And reports with justifiable pride also from its extensive literature and parts warehouse, which up to the windows, of a now long rare complete series-1 exhaust system up to the new engine ranges from the floor carpet.

"I started years ago to bring together all as if the things were still favorable to have." Sources formed, for example, French traders, and much he discovered on Ebay. Since he had undergone training as a car mechanic in the computer sector before his Matra Bagheera commitment, he explained almost all necessary repairs to his Matra Bagheera itself.

When he asked one day at the company Red Mountain for spare parts, he accidentally learned that there was another Bagheera enthusiasts in close proximity to his hometown. He immediately got in touch about this. The man's name is Thomas Stenger, worked at the Zurich Insurance and drove for some time with great enthusiasm a red Matra Bagheera Series 2. It took only a few words - has made the two one team that is of the care and preservation Matra Bagheera care. Even with Stenger a childhood experience was decisive for the Bagheera soft spot. "My father wanted to buy a time, but unfortunately it was only during the trial sitting," he says and is pleased that he has many years later implemented his father's former plan into action.

Courrèges waiting for the resurrection

Meanwhile, he allowed himself one more Matra Bagheera, who still awaits his resurrection. To such projects into action, the Bagheera friends have rented a small workshop, which was equipped with all necessities up to the lift. There is also the restoration of the red Matra Bagheera played from the Fichtner had bought from a Canadian long time ago. This is a very rare version, which once decorated the fashion Pope André Courrèges.

The Frenchman, who staggered back in the sixties with very unusual creations such as space look the fashion industry in turmoil, initially banned all black in appearance of the Matra Bagheera, aside from the tire. For the body and the pews he chose the color white, instrument panel, steering wheel and door panels he designed in a delicate brown. As this model should be addressed to the female clientele, Courrèges envisaged a large vanity mirror in the sun visor on the driver's side.

However, the highlight was the abknöpfbaren handbags with AC lettering on the door panel of the Matra Bagheera. These various Courrèges accessories, which include a logo on the right-hand flank and emblems on the doors are almost impossible to get, which is why the restoration dragged on and is strictly speaking not yet ended. The next step is to obtain the seats with white leatherette is imminent. At work there was no lack so far of course. Even during the separation, the two pals did more work than others, because they took the body completely.

Corrosion despite plastic

"Almost all of them, the roof on it," says Fichtner, because that is glued to the Matra Bagheera and can be solved only with great difficulty. Experiments with a heat gun failed miserably. Ultimately succeeded in solving the bonding only by the metal braces were heated from inside gently with a torch until the glue started to crackle and then let stand the roof cautious. Anyone who thinks the way, was the Matra Bagheera because of the plastic body rust not an issue better of it looks instructed quickly.

The base is an easy victim of corrosion, and which arises even under the roof, which is why this has been removed. After sandblasting the steel skeleton of the Matra Bagheera offered a pity exciting image. After all, there were replacement parts for the chassis, which are even galvanized. Simply shaped sheet metal parts such as rocker panels produced both hobbyists to himself. The A-pillars and the floor of the passenger compartment required extensive sheet metal and welding work.

Much time passed in dealing with the plastic body of the Matra Bagheera, which was completely rebuilt. With the help of a hair dryer Fichtner removed the paint and putty layers divided the plastic dress, filled cracks in the material, combining good parts from his trove with the still usable parts of the original body. he had gained over the years even The necessary know-how. The painter, the Matra Bagheera then füllerte and painted was certainly very pleased with the work of amateur coachbuilders.

A new engine is still missing

the necessary attention, of course, the art of the Matra Bagheera was given. The Schrauberduo renewed wearing parts of the suspension replaced the shock absorber and passed the brake system. Currently, the Matra Bagheera rolled still on the rim of a Series 2 copy, but as mentioned, there are still some working out. This includes the installation of a completely rebuilt engine, which is currently mounted engine is only a temporary solution.

Under time pressure, the two are not, because each is indeed a running prototype of Matra Bagheera available. And when it comes time to Matra meeting, to make everyone in his own guy on the way. First, because thus increase the usually very low density Bagheera, and second, not willing to give up the dream driving experience.