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Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Three Across Not in a Pickup

Kamil Kaluski December 19, 2016 Encyclopedia Hoonatica 47 Comments


Regular cab pickup trucks aside (remember those?), three passenger cars are few and far between. I recently came up on a Matra Bagheera, which I never heard of before. It’s French, of course, mid-engined (!) sports car with three across seating. And a manual transmission!

But there’s more. Wikipedia says the following:

The Bagheera’s body was made of polyester.

Matra engineers believed the Bagheera could use more power, so they created a unique “U engine” out of two 1.3 L Simca straight-4 engines, joined side-by-side by a common pan unit, the two crankshafts being linked by chain. This resulted in a 2.6 L 8-cylinder unit, producing 168 bhp.

Very few Bagheeras survive today, as they suffered from poor build quality (the Bagheera won the ADAC Silberne Zitrone = “Silver Lemon” award in 1975 for the poorest quality car of that moment) and extensive body rot. Although the polyester body panels do not rust, the underlying steel chassis had almost no corrosion protection.

Holy smokes, so much French horrible awesomeness in one car! The Bagheera was able to go from 0 to 60mph in around 12 seconds, which sounds painful. But hey, how many other three across sports cars ever existed? And that is today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica question.

The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • McLaren F1 is excluded. The two passenger seats were set back.
  • Concept cars are allowed but no custom cars.
  • No aircraft or marine craft, unless it’s because they stole parts from existing cars.
  • No pickup trucks.
  • But SUVs are allowed.
  • Military vehicles are welcome and encouraged.

Difficulty: Climbing rope in seventh grade gym class.

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