Despite being more expensive yet not as good as the hatchback or saloon on which they’re based, demand for crossover vehicles is booming. Several cars claim to be the originator of this pointless trend, including Toyota’s RAV4 and Nissan’s Qashqai, and a few more were derided at the time of their launch and failed miserably – yet if they were sold in today’s market they would probably do rather well, such as Rover’s Streetwise and Pontiac’s Aztek – however it was actually a forgotten little French company that came up with the idea of a normal car with off-road looks first.
Matra’s Rancho was based on the little Simca 1100, but with the addition of fibreglass rear bodywork and faux-4×4 styling, and was built from the mid ’70s to the mid ’80s. In a curious twist of fate Matra then invented another new class of car as the Rancho’s replacement, the world’s first MPV; the Renault Espace.
It was the Espace that gained immediate popularity and spawned a whole new market, with every major motor manufacturer copying the formula by the mid ’90s. However, by the 2010s demand for MPVs was plummeting, to be replaced by – you’ve guessed it – the crossover, the car which the MPV had replaced three decades earlier. Weird.
This colourful Lego version of the late ’70s Matra Rancho comes from TLCB favourite Ralph Savelsberg aka Mad Physicist, and it’s apparently the star of a Dutch TV show called ‘Bassie & Adriaan’. You can see more of Ralph’s Rancho, as well as the neat caravan in tow, at his photostream – click the link above to see more.