M530 Design & Specs
The 530 body consisted of a steel platform chassis, clad with GRP panels. The engine chosen was the 1699cc V4 Ford Taunus engine, developing 73 bhp. The engine was mid mounted and the low gearbox situated to the rear of it allowed space for a luggage compartment above. The short length of the engine gave sufficient space for "+2" rear seats. The car featured a two-piece removeable targa top that could be stored in the front compartment above the spare wheel in special bags. The perspex rear screen could be completely removed to create a truly "open-air" feel. The initial design incorporated pop-up rectangular headlamps and a chromium structure round the air intake, intended to protect the bonnet.
The 530 was the first model to be designed wholly by Matra. The company had decided that, in order to develop the automobile business, they needed a new sports car that would appeal to the aspirations of young families. The new model would have four seats and a removeable roof. The design work was carried out by Jacques Nocher, a talented designer at Simca, who had been allowed by his employers to take on outside work.
The first models, designated M530A, were built by Brissonneau and Lotz, a constructor of railway rolling stock who had recently diversified into low volume cars. They had an interior trimmed in black vinyl, with eyelet ventilation, and a brushed aluminium finish to the instrument binnacle. From 1969, chassis 4001, production was transferred to the Romorantin factory following quality problems with the B & L cars, the power output was increased by the fitment of a twin-choke carburettor, and alloy wheels were offered as an option.
In 1970, the M530LX was introduced. The front and rear ends were face-lifted, including the fitment of rubber faced overriders and other changes to the chrome trim. The perspex rear screen was replaced by a non-demountable glass screen and a fixed roof was offered as an option. Inside, the ventilation eyelets were deleted and a clock and cigar lighter added to the fascia.
By 1972, the cost of the M530LX had risen to over 20,000 francs and it was felt necessary to introduce a lower-cost variant to bring the price below this psychologically important barrier and thus the M530SX came into being. Externally the pop-up lights were replaced by four pods on the wings and the front panel, although Italian market models only had the wing mounted lights, due to local regulations. The roof was fixed and the bumpers were matt black instead of chrome. Wheel arch extensions were moulded into the front and rear wings. Internally, the reclining seats were replaced by fixed rake bucket seats, with only the passenger side folding to allow access to the rear, and the rear seats were replaced by a shelf.In 1970, Matra had entered into a partnership with Simca and the cars were sold through the Simca dealer network. Matra had been working with Simca to produce a car with Simca components to enable easier servicing within the Simca network and so in 1973 production of the M530 ceased after 9609 had been built in order to make way for the Bagheera.