RANCHO HITS 40
More than 50 cars join two-day birthday bash in France
The Matra Rancho, grandfather of the modern ‘soft roader’, turned 40 this year. And to mark the occasion, French club Matra Passion held a two-day birthday party in the Rancho’s home town of Romorantin.
It started with a mass gathering at the Espace Automobiles Matra in Romorantin (now fully reopened after last year’s floods – CCW, 20 July 2016) on 12-13 May.
Contingents from several European Matra clubs, including a 12-strong group from the Matra Enthusiasts Club UK, were present.
Clive Nelson, president of the Matra Enthusiasts Club UK says: ‘The turnout was very healthy. About 50 Ranchos attended, which is more than attended the 25th and 30th anniversary meetings, and around the same number again of other Matra models also turned up.’
Highlights of the weekend included organised visits to an underground mushroom farm and a biscuit factory and a poignant trip to the site of Matra’s first factory, where the Rancho was assembled. Much of the site, originally home to a textile mill and then to a car plant from the 1960s until its final closure in 2003, has been turned into social housing. Several key buildings have, however, been retained and are being sympathetically redeveloped.
Strong bonds have been formed between European Matra enthusiasts over the years, and Clive Nelson is already looking forward to Rancho’s 45th anniversary meeting and beyond. He says: ‘The event more than lived up to our expectations and the strong turn-out of cars and people bodes very well for the future.’
party. seater Murenas joined the Rancho This colourful quartet of three- Just a few of the 50 or so Ranchos that journeyed from all across Europe to attend the event outside the grounds of the Château de Villesavin in France.