There was a time when the Matador ruled the Indian Van scene. It was one of the leading LCVs of India during the 1970s and 80s. Made by Force Motors in India, the MataDor harks back its roots to Germany where it was first made by a manufacturer known as Tempo. Based out of Hamburg, the company was founded by Oscar Vidal in 1924 and was a popular manufacturer back then. The video below by Retro Classics India gives a good look at an excellently maintained Force Matador Van which seems to have just rolled out of the factory. Take a look at the video below before we move on to the details of the vehicle.
As seen in the video, this Matador has indeed been kept in pristine condition. Even the paint job has been maintained to the original standards, though a new coat might have been applied on top. Almost every adult above the age of 30 must have a memory of this car as it was used for various purposes in India. One of the most popular uses of the Matador was as a school van and a lot of 80s kids might have fond memories of the vehicle. Other areas where the Matador was used included hospital vans, bank vehicles and family vehicle.
Going a bit though the history of the Matador, it was first brought to India by Bajaj Tempo (initially the Bachraj Trading company), which was established around 1945. Later on, Bajaj Tempo started a joint venture with Tempo and manufactured several vehicles for sales in India. The Matador was one of these vehicles. In 1971 Tempo sold its stake to Daimler-Benz and the latter retained a 16.8 per cent share in Bajaj Tempo. In 1968 the Firodia Group took a majority stake in Bajaj Tempo and the company was renamed as Force Motors in 1968. The term Tempo is now synonymous with three-wheeled carrier vehicles in India but as you know now, it was actually the name of a German manufacturer.
The Matador had two popular variants, the F 305 and the F 307 in India. It was also used by large families for get-togethers and picnics which is the reason it is a common sight in old Bollywood flicks. The 10 seater van by Force Motors in India was quite a versatile vehicle and also came in a pick-up configuration. Although it was mainly sold as a front-wheel-drive variant, the Matador had one rear-wheel-drive model as well.
The Matador diesel was quite popular back in the day and was powered by a 1.8-litre diesel engine. This engine churned out about 50 bhp of power (in the F305 variant) and came with a four-speed, all-synchromesh manual transmission. The Matador slowly faded from the scene with the advent of more reliable and efficient options like the Maruti Omni but still remains one of the earliest passenger vehicles of India.