Matra Rancho, the poor Range Rover

Matra Rancho
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Times were turbulent. Simca became Talbot. Mother company Chrysler Europe was not a success and if you enter the collective memory as 'the car of Bassie & Adriaan', then you do not have to be undividedly proud of it. The Matra Rancho was sold as Matra-Simca Rancho and Talbot-Matra Rancho.

Matra's first quiet car

We know Matra from his sports cars. The Matra Rancho had a much more civil basis. But it was a 'fun vehicle'. Originally, the 4,31 meter long Rancho would get four-wheel drive, but due to the excessive production costs, this plan was referred to the trash. However, the Rancho got an appearance that unsuspecting passers-by had to give the impression that the car could conquer the whole world effortlessly. The Matra Rancho is built on the basis of the Simca 1100 Fourgonette pick-up, with a plastic-modified body.


The production of the Matra Rancho took quite some effort. In Poissy, Simca built the 1100 Fourgonnette pickup and sent it to the Matra factory in Romorantin-Lanthenay, 230 kilometers to the south. There they mounted a steel frame with plastic add-on parts. That wonderful combination of steel and plastic panels made the Rancho extremely sensitive to rust. Despite the fact that more than 56.000 copies have been made, the Rancho is a rarity on the road. The experiences of the experiences gained with plastic panels at the Matra Rancho were later proven at the Renault Espace.

Types and flavors

The Matra Rancho was delivered in one version at first, and had the Simca 80's 1442 hp 1308cc engine. From 1979, a lower compression engine was available on request, which could run on gasoline with a lower octane rating. For the 1980 model year, the more luxurious version Matra Rancho X was added, which included alloy wheels and tinted glass. In addition, in the same model year, the Rancho Grand Raid was presented, which included additional underbody protection, an electric winch, directional lights, and Bab-Terre all-terrain tires. And that was the time when the term 'Armeluis Range Rover' really took off.


Also, because Chrysler Europe was sold to PSA, the name changed from Matra-Simca Rancho to Talbot-Matra Rancho in model year 1980. The name in Italy also changed, due to bad associations with the word Rancho in Italian, to 'Talbot-Matra Ranch'. Name things like that were more common. For example, Rolls-Royce decided to abandon the model name 'Silver Mist' because 'Mist' in German means 'shit' or 'dung'. And 'Pajero' stands for 'rukker' in various South American countries.

In 1981 there was a convertible version of the Rancho on the market: the Rancho Découvrable. Instead of the roof and windows behind the doors, it had a linen cloth construction and the seat upholstery was made of vinyl. Only a few hundred of this special version have been built. Their advantage was that canvas could not rust. It did rip.

Tivan has one

The Rancho is not exactly sophisticated on its high 14-inch tires with a coarse profile. The car drives seeker and leans sharply when cornering. Auto Motor Klassiek reader Tivan Cremers - he vouched for it Auto Motor Klassiek with his BX and his Solex - has found his dream car in it. When Tivan's Rancho is ready we will visit Tivan again. And at the Fischer PGH group you can rent a Rancho in Bassie and Adriane colors. 'Sapperdeflap! ” Oh no, that was Pipo.

Also interesting to read:
- The Matra Rancho has been around for forty years
- Renaults world wonder: The Renault Espace 1 (1984-1991)
- Renault Espace had almost been a Peugeot
- Matra Murena. A wonderful mix
- 1967: The fascinating car year. A selection. Part One.

Matra Rancho
Talbot Matra Rancho
Matra Simca Rancho


Give a reaction
  1. Nice piece of prose, a lot of “show” but little “go” because the engine had a big bone to the Rancho and its increased weight compared to the 1308. Peugeot had more financial freedom at the time, perhaps a 4WD edited by Dangel with a nice XUD engine was a possibility. The technology was there.

    • That bone of that increased weight to the 1308 was not too bad, 55 KG.
      Leaving a wife or mother-in-law at home is already a perfect solution to that problem.
      They didn't want to come along when you went hunting or fishing.
      In that regard, a deer on the roof wants to tie a rack, as can be read below, is also a sought-after problem if you easily slide in three or four of those beasts through the tailgate.

  2. For this car, the Chrysler boys coined the slightly idiotic term “all-road-vehicle”: vehicle for all roads. You just have to come to it.

    The Rancho aimed at buyers who could not afford a Range Rover but who wanted to show off on the boulevard with something cool. Of course, no one went into the mountains or through swamps.

    The impressive looking roof rack seemed to be meant to tie up a shot moose or deer, as long as the beast weighed no more than 30 pounds because that was the roof load. Also, the high build was not really windless at speed and the tires sang a song. Nevertheless, the car was just a lot of fun and spacious and for those who were planning to get stuck in forest or sand drift, there was a real electric winch available that was also useful against parking damage.

  3. How nice that I now know what a “Pajero” is. Wonderful pastime by the way.
    There used to be a Buick-Lacrosse here, and that meant the same thing as Pajero.
    The "snake" was only known in Quebec, but Buick has changed its name for the Canadian Market. I am not so concerned with modern Buicks, the last series was sold as a Lacrosse. Well, sold, you could not lose them on the pavers. There is very little left of Buick, some ugly expensive SUVs and it ends there.
    This was another “Dolf at his best” report, it could not rust but it could tear. Splendid

  4. Disagree, besides, no one has ever been able to tell from a louse whether it was rich or poor… ..hit?
    No, a crossover avant la lettre, it does him justice!

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