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Author Topic: Do Murenas stand the test of time?  (Read 10568 times)
macaroni
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« on: August 28, 2006, 09:55:52 pm »

I am looking to buy a Murena 2.2s and, not having driven one yet, wondered if they can cut it amongst todays sports cars.
For instance, how do they compare against things like MX5s, MR2s, Elises etc?

Are they just a classic anachronism or can a good condition one be considered a viable alternative to a moden sports car?
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Anders Dinsen
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2006, 11:20:26 pm »

Being only a very new Murena owner, I still have no problem to answer affirmatively to your question: Yes, a Murena can stand the test of time. It handles exceptionally, brakes perfectly, is full of joy, and is perfect.

It's unfair to compare it to a modern car. If you want a cheap modern sports car, look for one. You will not find the modern electronics, fuel injection, low profile tyres etc in a Murena. But if you are looking for a sports car with patina, then you will be very happy with a Murena, I'm sure. I will!!

- Anders Cool
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Lennart Sorth
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2006, 11:32:49 pm »

how do they compare against things like MX5s, MR2s, Elises etc?

what do you mean by "compare" ?

I find the Murena far superior to MX5/MR2 just by being so much rarer - secondly the construction is completely unique. I also find it far prettier.

With regard to handling, the Murena certainly is not left behind, even though I would think an Elise is even better, but it is also quite a lot more expensive, and it is definitely far less practical.

In 25 years time, an Elise is just an Elise, which by then has been replaced by another version a couple of times. The Murena will always be "THE" Murena.

"classic anachronism" is an oxymoron, - a classic car HAS to be from another time by definition.

If you look for power and tuning, get an MX5/MR2 - you can buy endless kits to do endless modifications for those. If you want to be special - get the unique Murena.

there really is no comparison.
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Lennart.Sorth@matrasport.dk
Murena 1983 1.9i silver // Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0d 2012 white // Smart 4two cdi 2010 blue //
macaroni
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2006, 09:30:03 am »

Thanks for the replies.

Sometimes you drive a classic older car and all the illusions you have about it are shattered because it drives like a dog compared to modern stuff, but sometimes older cars drive better than newer things.

For example, I was very disappointed the first time I drove an Audi UrQuattro, it was like a tractor with dangerous turbo lag. However, Peugeot 205s still drive better than modern hot hatches, in my opinion.

So my question was can the Murena be enjoyed as a daily driver and mix it with modern cars or is it to be kept in cotton wool and appreciated for what it once was?

Not making much sense am I??

Another question, to do any work on the engine, is it best to drop it out? If so, how easy is that?

Cheers,

Antony
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Lennart Sorth
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2006, 12:46:41 am »

Hi Antony,

Not making much sense am I??
oh, a lot more now, when your thoughts are more explained :-)

The Murena really *is* a nice car, even today.
The engines are not fuel injected, and the higher tuned ones can be a little rough, gearshifts a less precise than modern cars, and you coudl go on, - but it really goes well.

And it is certainly MUCH more special, - people turn around in the streets to have a second look, - which they hardly do if you drive a modern sportscar, unless you're into the Lamborghinie/Lotus/Ferrari range.

I just took this picture in this weekend:
   http://www.matrasport.dk/Cars/Murena/Gallery1/Med/dsc_5448.html
note the people in the background, - this is very typical. Park up anywhare, and some people will be quite interested in what the heck you are driving.




Quote
is it best to drop it out? If so, how easy is that?

not unless you need to overhaul the more serious bits.
In fact, the 1.6 has a lot of space around it, and it is fairly easy to get at most things. The 2.2 is more of a tight fit, but still you can do most things in-car.

Access is much better than you'd expect, as Matra provided an easy way to fold the rear shelf away, so you can sit in the boot, almost directly on top of the engine, - giving better access than on almost any car (except for the old Fords and Opels, where you can put up a tent next to the engine :-)

« Last Edit: September 01, 2006, 04:27:28 pm by Lennart Sorth » Logged

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Anders Dinsen
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2006, 06:32:05 am »

I'd really go with what Lennart says - Murena stands the test of time, it still drives magnificently and is surely in the category "to be enjoyed as a daily driver". ...........blabbble blablle.........

And here I was trying to explain the feelings I get when I take it for a spin, but I can't. My fingers cannot put it in words. At least not yet. It's just..... oh well, perfect Cheesy

Lennart mentioned gear shift - now mine is one of the better kept ones, but I totally disagree: Gear shift is quick and precise. The linkages from the lever to the gearbox can wear out, but it can be restored quite easily. Of course the gearbox itself can also be worn like in any older car (and some new ones!), but it can be restored.

Heres an instruction to drop the engine out: http://www.espace-murena.com/articles.html, then click on "Révision moteur 2L2" (sorry direct link doesn't work)

- Anders
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macaroni
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2006, 09:23:38 am »

OK, thanks for the encouragement guys. I'm sold!

I am going to look at a very well looked after 2.2s this weekend, with my chequebook in hand, so I hope I like it!

Cheers,

Antony
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Lennart Sorth
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2006, 04:38:15 pm »

I totally disagree: Gear shift is quick and precise.
Everything is relative.  :-)

I know your car (and mine) are among the better Murenas, but really, hand on heart, are they as quick and precise as a modern sportscar ?   -  eg one with front engine, and the gearlever sticking more or less straight up from the gearbox.

.. trying to explain the feelings I get when I take it for a spin,
hehe - this is not the place to elaborate on that wording, - but I'm sure you will write something up from our latest Murena session - won't you  ?   :-)

macaroni : go for it, find yourself a good 2.2, I'm sure you will appreciate it. And remember that only about 10.000 people on the planet have that privilege.

/Lennart
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Murena 1983 1.9i silver // Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0d 2012 white // Smart 4two cdi 2010 blue //
macaroni
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« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2006, 04:56:35 pm »

OK, well just back from driving the car and it was pretty cool.
It isn't an official 142 kit, but an aftermarket cam/carbs/manifold fitted by Sports Cars Unlimited. It seemed to go quite well, but the owner was, understandably, reluctant for me to give it the full beans.
I just about fitted inside as I am 6'2".
The gearchange was very sloppy indeed and that would have to get sorted if I bought it.

I have a week to think about it...
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krede
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2006, 04:59:39 pm »

The murena is a very SPECIAL! car, with alot of special featuers to set it apart from other cars.. be it 80'ies or more recent cars.

Can it compair to the mx5 or other "modern cars"... .. the short answer would be NO!!..

Even and early 90'ies car has a more comfortable ride (the murena was louded for being a quite comportable sportscar),better ergonomics ,MUCH!! better build quality,and better, more reliable, and often more powerfull engines.

Preformance wise the murena is no match for the late 80'ies "hot hatches" either, at about 1050kg it is a very heavy car when considering that its a 2/3 seater entering the market in 1981.
the 142-150hp of the standard "s" is really just enough to consider the car "quick" rather then properly fast...(especially by todays standards where  almost every gti has a turbo charger!!)
In short.. it will never keep up with a Honda crx, og kadett gsi,and a 205 gti 1900ccm will most certainly run circles around it on a twisting country road.. mid engine or not!....  even a mid 80'ies mr2 will give a murena a ride for its money because of its weight advantage and 16valve engine.
The lotus Elise is so far ahead of ANY murena that you can only barely see it in the horizon!!

So why does anyone buy the murena and drive them around while smiling from ear to ear you ask?.. (because we really, really do! :-) )
well..... I'll put it this way.... you buy a murena.. because you WANT a murena.
Sure it will be outpreformed by the hothatches (after all they comtributed much to its death in the first place). But the murena is so much more then ANY hot hatch will ever be!!
For starters.. it's a "True" coupe.. and midengine sportscar!!.. not some mock up of a standard small family hatchback..
being build by Matra gives it a racing pedigree and makes it a future, if not presently, classic car.
The very way the car is build, using fiberglass panels on a galvanized stell frame makes for a very special and excotic car indeed... add to that its EXTREME rarety (only about 10600 of ALL models were ever made).. and you have understand why almost anybody you meet will find it attractive and exciting.(im a mechanic by trade.. and NONE! of my colleges have ever heard of nor seen a murena)....
.....
And now the really good stuff...   Grin
because...
Even though it's old... even though its rare...
It seems to have been completely forgotten!!!....meening that prices are VERY! acceptable for a car of this type!!..
And if you take good care of a murena i will almost garantee that its value will increase in the future..
Its part matra part talbot/simca origin, does, that almost every single sparepart for the car is still availeble!!!
Its mid engine, and the very fact that its french, does tend to make for some strange solutions to technical issues... but apart from that.. its still an early 80'ies car.. witch meens that it isnt too much of a handfull to maintain and repair it yourself....
For a midengined sportscar it has a rather large luggage compartment... about the same size as the one in a 205 or a 106 i recon...
Its excelent aerodynamics and small frontal area, makes it far more economical then one would expect from this sort of car.... in addition the wind noice in a well cept murena is also much less then in ANY 80'ies car ive ever driven.
The galvanization and use of fiberglass will also, with a little tender love and care, ensure a lifespan much much longer then ANY hot hatch from the 80/90'ies.. many of witch has already had atleast one major overhaul due to rust.
And finally.... even though the murenas front suspention was consieved in the late 60'ies!! it still handles beautifully...
And though it always was heavily underpowered from the factory, you can still get "enough" power from the standard 2.2 to make the car a thrill to drive.

So my advice is..... have a look at one "for real".... standing next to one in real life is something completely different from just looking at pictures...they look absolutely gorgeous...
Then try one... drive it...
And then make your own judgment... .. 
« Last Edit: September 03, 2006, 05:13:27 pm by krede » Logged
macaroni
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2006, 09:13:16 pm »

Thanks for that Krede, you make a compelling case.

I was impressed with it, the cornering balance, even at the low speeds I drove at, was very impressive, it feels very light on its toes.

One more thing I should mentioned about the car I drove was that there was a small bubble under the paint on one of the A pillars. Is that anything to worry about?

I just need to sell my car and I get myself sorted and buy this Murena.
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Lennart Sorth
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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2006, 11:05:01 pm »

small bubble under the paint on one of the A pillars. Is that anything to worry about?

The A-pillar is actually the only part of the chassis which is visible from outside, under
normal conditions.

Galvanization makes the surface unsuitable for a nice paintjob, so Matra had to
spend time grinding the A-pillars down to a smooth surface, before painting them.
The galvanization process actually affects the steel in depth, so even if it was
grinded down, the surface would still be rich on Zinc, and as such quite resistant
to corrosion, - but of course it *is* possible that corrosion could occur - eg caused
by stone-chip.

However, having said that, I have never actually seen any corroded Murena A-pillars.

The doors have a steel framing which can be a little rusty on some cars, but not the pillars.

Of course, you should check it out carefully, which I'm sure you planned to do anyway.

Rust is in general the least of the Murena's problems, - worn rubber gaiters and poor
electrical connections are far more prominent - but often quite easy to fix. :-)

PS: The hot-dip galvanizing doesn't make the steel rust-free, but studies have shown that
corrosion will progress at least 20 times slower - thats enough for me. :-)


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Lennart.Sorth@matrasport.dk
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2006, 11:18:16 am »

I have been with my Murena for little more than a week now and it's really a joy!
I agree completely with Krede, and let's really hope that the Murena will be recognised as a classic in the future. Its rarity coupled with ease of maintenance should really help!

In one point will I not agree with you, Krede: In traffic it can keep up with most hot hatches. Being rear wheel driven compared to the front wheel drive of e.g. a 205GTI, the Murena will bite the alphalt and is much easier to give a quick acceleration. And when the 205GTI driver has gotten tired of keeping his car on the road, the Murena driver will still sit relaxed and at ease in his car.

Being midengined, however, the Murena handles very differently from a front wheel drive, front engined car. I have been over the limit with mine (on a wet circuit) and spun it. What I did wrong was to lift the throttle when I felt I was going too fast in the corner. That shifted the weight balance slightly forward and then I lost the last amount of traction at the rear wheels.

Of course I decidedly pushed the car as far as it could go since it was a safe circuit and the limit was obviously quite on the low side since it was raining heavily. That didn't make the fun less though, and experiencing the perfect balance of the car was great: Brakes are perfectly balanced, even in the wet. Murena is both from a classic, aestaethic and engineering viewpoint a very good car!

- Anders
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krede
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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2006, 07:12:53 pm »

He he...Perhaps you have gotten a really high powered Murena Anders...  Cool
i've driven quite alot in both 205 gti's and kadett 2.0 16v's (one of my mates just keep going back to driving the kadetts) and I can tell you that both cars (especially the kadett) will make mincemeat of my 150hk eel.... on any surface.....grip is only really an issue in the gsi... and then mostley in wet contitions(where you dont race a murena anyway)
The hot hathes are also much easier (and safer) to dive "to the limit" then a tricky mid engine car.
My old Honda crx (may she rest in peace) would take the corners faster then i will ever dare try in my murena.
Some of the early/mid 90'ies gti's might get in trouble  thou, since they are about the same weight and power, but without the murenas low center of gravity.
But all of this is really theoretical and beside the point.... I want my murena... not a hothatch  Wink
« Last Edit: September 04, 2006, 07:24:54 pm by krede » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2006, 09:20:33 pm »

...  would take the corners faster then i will ever dare try in my murena.

... I want my murena... not a hothatch  Wink

Yes, this is excactly the point, the Murena is a wonderful creation you care for, while the ordinary, mass-produced hothatch is something you'll throw around and possibly crash, and then just get another one.

Any damage to my Murena breaks my heart.

The Murena performs *very* well in contemporary light, - some later cars have higher power to weight ratios, less unsprung weight, even smarter geometry etc etc - cars *have* become quicker since 1980.  (think Golf gti 2006)

But in the same time, cars have IMO lost their magic in many ways.

A 35 year old Ford Anglia or Morris Minor still turns heads - and so does the Murena.
(and in fact every Matra)

In 35 years, will anyone look at say a 2006 Kia and say: "wow, look how well that car has been preserved !" ? - or would anyone preserve that car in the first place ?

And its not just Kia, - I'm not sure a 35 year old Golf GTI 2006 will send any images into my head either - the very first Golf-GTI Mk-I, is still the most interesting of that pack.

- and btw the Murena  can probably give that car a good run for its money.


If you look around you on a modern parkinglot, - which cars would you think have the potential of becoming interesting classic cars ?

I certainly have no doubt when I locate my Murena in such a place :-) 
(same goes for my Espace btw)

And I hope for you soon to be in the same situation ! :-)

/Lennart
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Murena 1983 1.9i silver // Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0d 2012 white // Smart 4two cdi 2010 blue //
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