Simca Matra Rancho
If you are familiar with the Simca Matra Rancho, you are one of the few who remembers this brave model and the innovative concept it presented. The Rancho was ahead of its time and today, people regard it as one of the first true SUVs. It had a rough appearance with car-like technology and updated interior features.
Matra, a French car company famous for developing concepts and producing cars for Renault, Simca and Talbot unveiled the Rancho in 1977. The idea behind this model was to use the existing Simca 1100 pickup version. But they equipped it with the basic mechanics and a 1.4-liter straight four engine. This transformed it into a modern people carrier with some off-road capabilities.
Despite working with an old design, the Matra designers managed to present a contemporary shape with some interesting features. The Rancho was a three-door wagon, but with a wide opening tailgate for easier access. It also had third-row seating that could accommodate two more passengers.
Thanks to the auxiliary lights, the bull bar at the front, higher body clearance and off-road tires, the Rancho looked like it meant business. With front-wheel drive and a 1.4-liter engine, it didn`t have significant off-road capabilities. But it was good enough to serve as a camping or leisure vehicle.
After its release, the Rancho proved to be popular, selling over 50,000 of them during the eight years of production. Unfortunately, the Simca car company started experiencing financial difficulties, so they didn’t want to keep producing the Rancho, even though it was profitable.
By late 1984, the Rancho was gone, but fans remember it as a cool-looking, utilitarian and influential vehicle. Although Simca is no more, the Matra is still around. So, today, more than ever, a similar model could be quite popular.