MAR 01st 2017

Doug Nye: The golden era of Matra Sports

The late French journalist driver Jose Rosinski was standing in the old Cathedral Paddock at the Festival of Speed hillclimb, surrounded by a breath-taking array of wonderful Matra sports-prototype cars. I used to adore those things. They were the most shapely of long-distance racing machines surviving into an era in which the florid curvaceousness of classical Ferrari, for example, had long gone. While the flat-12 312 PB cars were supremely functional – and hugely successful – their looks did not equate to the grubby-mac sensuousness of such forerunners as the Ferrari P2s, P3s and P4s and – especially – of the 1969 3-litre Ferrari 312 P – particularly in its Le Mans Berlinetta roofed-in form. No – the PBs had instead caught Chevron or Lola disease, and were square-cut, essentially flat-topped, and actually flat-sided.


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