- Real hand-built prototype
- Gordini 2000 cc engine
- Inimitable appearance
Initially developed and produced by the French car-maker René Bonnet, the Matra Djet was then built by Matra Sports from 1964 until 1968. In fact, René Bonnet was made bankrupt in 1964 by the commercial failure of the Djet. So Matra Sports, which was already the principal partner and shareholder, bought out the little company. The first 4 versions were developed by René Bonnet and then Matra produced the versions 5 and 6. From July 1966 onwards, the Matra-Bonnet Djet 5 and Djet 5 S became the Matra-Sports Jet 5 and Jet 6. The Bonnet name was dropped and the D removed from Djet after the winding up of the Automobiles Bonnet company and the end of its agreements with Matra Sports. The Matra logo was then placed on the bonnet (no pun intended !) and the rear of the car. The final version of the model, the Matra Sports Jet 6, was brought out in 1967. It had the new 105 bhp, 1255 cc engine of the R8 Gordini 1300.
For a long time, the Djet/Jet were to suffer from being prematurely worn out, due to intensive competition use, bodged modifications and sloppy maintenance, to such an extent that it is now very difficult to know precisely how many of them have survived in functional condition. Although the mechanical components are robust and durable and the composite bodywork is rust-proof, the steel girder chassis and the electrics are quite another kettle of fish !
The car which we have on offer is in fact a prototype developed from the Matra Jet 6 and intended purely for competition use. The car-body maker Marcel Moissonnier was the originator of this racing machine and he used it for several years to compete in slaloms and local hill-climbs. If the modifications to the bodywork are easy to spot, the mechanical modifications made to this prototype are absolutely astounding. The 1600 cc cylinder block came from an Alpine Berlinette and it was then bored out to increase the engine capacity to 2000 cc. The gearbox comes from an R12 Gordini and the FIA fuel tank has been fitted inside the car in the place of the passenger seat ! Marcel Moissonnier took the wrench and sold his Jet in 2015, much to the delight of the current owner who very recently had an outing on the La Chatre racing circuit. She accelerates hard and even if she runs out of steam on the straights because of her low gearing, she is glued to the road in the bends thanks to the 300 mm wide slick Avon tyres mounted at the rear. This is a real prototype, in race-ready condition, which is still capable of giving an exciting time to a driver who wants to compete in hill-climbs.