Common 50s French Sedan, Rarely Seen in the US

The Simca Aronde  was a big seller in its home country of France in the 50s and early 60s, but is very rarely seen here.  This is not quite a microcar by conventional definitions, but it is a very small sedan and was designed to provide economical family transportation.

This is a non-running project car without a big parts supply around these parts.  Hopefully, one can find parts with the right connections to France, but shipping might add up.  Given all this, this car is something of a blank canvas.  Worried that the 1.3L four cylinder won’t motivate this to your liking?  Drop in something else!

Bad news is the seller has provided precisely zero interior shots and no related information, so condition is anyone’s guess.

From my perspective, this one is too strange to ignore and likely too much of a pain in the ass to take on as a project.

Click for Craigslist ad
Beaumont, CA
$1,600

Ad text:

French built car, sold thru Plymouth dealers to compete with the VW back in the day! Small car like a Hillman Manxs or a ford Anglia. 4cyl./stick on the column. 4dr. Sedan as most common imported. A very rare car to find in states! Only missing hubcaps/1 tail light ! Other than that all there and not in running order. Rat rod this or micro hotrod or simply restore to your liking! To many projects on my plate, my loss your gain as I will not ever find another. Great patina paint with 50’s style scallops! Cash only please and no scams. Call

Living the Dream: A Matra and a Cheap Hotel Stay!

Matra cars don’t exactly come along often, especially in the US.  While I had the unique pleasure of entering the former Matra HQ outside Paris, as my former employer occupied part of the building, I’ve never seen one of their cars stateside.  I did, however, sometimes see Renault Avantimes – designed and assembled by Matra – around Paris.  Arguably, that vehicle program killed Matra, but let’s not talk about that.  Let’s talk about the delightfully bizarre, mid-engined, Ford V4-powered sports car from France.

As Matra never had much of a dealer network, Simca lent a hand in distribution at some point in the lifecycle.  When Simca is the mainstream network you choose, it’s safe to say you’re fairly obscure!

This car certainly appears to be in good shape, but it does have needs.  It seems none of the gauges work.  The seller thinks the speedo and tach might just be disconnected – possible true if they are both fully mechanical, but if either is electric, I have to wonder about the harness.  The brakes also need work and the upholstery and rubber seals are described as worn.  Still, if a Saab Sonnet intrigues you, yet seems a bit pedestrian, this might be your chariot.

The best part of this ad is that the seller claims to have lost the spare tire/wheel.  I’m a fan of any place that houses a Matra and enough crap to cause someone to lose track of a wheel and tire.  What lies beyond those garage doors???

Notably, the seller owns an Inn and offers tire kickers an $89 rate!

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Franconia, NH
$12,000

This is certainly not an ugly car, but it’s weird enough to be French.

Apparently, the engine is accessed by lifting the glass and there’s trunk space aft of that.

Front end is…unique.  I see bits of E-Type, Opel GT and some other cars, but the end result is pure French.

Mid-engine design shows through  a bit here – notice the hump under the glass, as well as the air extractor vents.  I have to wonder how well this engine cools and where the intake air comes from.  It must all be under the car.

Interior is simple, yet damn cool.

Ad text:

FAQ’s
All parts and functions of my Matra M530LX are in working order, except the following, speedometer and odometer, (I believe they are just detached), the gas gauge recently stopped. The oil gauge pegs out which I believe is just attached backwards. Everything else works as they are supposed to.
The headlights open and close correctly.
There is no appreciable rust on the frame; this car has never seen snow, or hardly any rain.
The upholstery is worn and old. I put slip covers on the front seats. 
All of the soft rubber gasket material is ready for replacement.
The original manual comes with the car.
There is no spare tire, I took it out for more trunk space, now I can’t find it.
aThe brakes need replacement, I was in the process of doing that but ordered the wrong ones.
I own an Inn, the Franconia Inn. For those of you who are nearby and would like to inspect my car, you may stay overnight for $89.
I have been researching the market price for my car, the European price seems to be 12,000 euros, which translates to just under $16,000.