Matra Rancho (1977 – 1984) Review

Matra Rancho (1977 – 1984) At A Glance


+Funky to look at, useful and huge inside

-Rattly engines, corrosion of anything that isn't glass fibre

The Matra Rancho was another of those innovative products that might have initially looked like the answer to a question that no-one had asked - but actually worked very well, and ended up selling in substantial numbers. The Simca 1100 VF3 van was the unlikely starting point for Matra’s pioneering Rancho - a brilliant idea that has since gone on to become a popular sector of the market: the 'urban on-roader'.

The faux off-roader was sneered at by the press at the time, but customers loved them, and the Rancho became established street furniture. Rough and tough, with big plastic bumpers, it was perfect for mean city streets, but the 1.4-litre Simca engine struggled to haul the large body on the motorway. Engines became rattly almost the moment it left the factory, and rust set-in soon after – the rear section was glassfibre, so at least some of it would survive unscathed.