Bangerwatch: Daewoo Matiz SE

Desire comes in all shapes and sizes, but there can be few people who find themselves going wobbly at the knees at the sight of a Daewoo Matiz. Which probably explains why what is almost certainly the best Matiz for sale in Britain has been languishing in the classifieds of eBay Motors for an awfully long time.

That and the fact that the seller has chosen – somewhat optimistically – to place it in the classic cars section. One day, the Daewoo Matiz may reach the dizzy heights of classic car status, but that day is a fair way off. Even for an “exceptional” example such as this.

Maybe a Fiat badge would have helped? Indeed, the Matiz is based on the Fiat Lucciola – Giorgetto Giugiaro’s cute and funky design for a modern-day Fiat 500. ‘Cute’ and ‘funky’ – not the words that spring to mind when you think about the Daewoo Matiz, but that’s brand heritage and badges for you. What a shame Fiat rejected the design.

Fiat Lucciola Concept

Still, Fiat’s loss was Daewoo’s gain and in 1998 production of the Matiz began. This makes the example being sold on eBay one of the earliest to arrive in the UK.

Indeed, the seller says he ordered the Matiz in October 1998 and had to wait for the second ship to arrive in the UK. He collected the car from the Daewoo showroom in Coventry, before fitting He-Man dual controls.

Sadly, ill health meant the tiny Daewoo’s career as a driving school car was short-lived, but this probably saved the Matiz a lifetime of misery and aborted three-point turns.

The seller goes on to wager “there’s not another quite as good as this at this age” and a quick scour of eBay suggests he could be right. If nothing else, the write-up and selection of photographs makes the Matiz a worthy addition to the classics section. Many sellers could learn a thing or two from this ad.

98 Daewoo Matiz

The Daewoo Matiz ticks just about all the PetrolBlog boxes. No previous owners, original dealer number plates, a fully-documented service history and a seller who clearly loves his car. As you’d expect, with a price tag just north of £1,000, PetrolBlog is finding it hard to resist putting in a cheeky offer.

The pre-facelift Matiz is arguably the one to have and you could easily imagine a Fiat badge perched on its cheeky nose. We understand it even managed to outsell the Fiat Seicento in Italy. It has aged pretty well, although we’d be tempted to whip off those wheel trims and run it on black steelies.

We only wish Daewoo had been a tad more daring with the interior, which is a celebration of blandness and hard plastics. This is in stark contrast to the madness of the Fiat Lucciola, more details of which you can find on the brilliant Banovsky website.

1998 Daewoo Matiz SE interior

On the plus side, you do get a single cupholder and a touch of blue on the dials. This particular Matiz also benefits from the original He-Man controls, which could help to liven up a long motorway drive. Long-distance cruising was never a Matiz strong point, but some He-Man versus Skeletor action could make a crawl along the M4 more interesting.

You can check out the Daewoo Matiz for sale on eBay here. With a fresh MOT, 41,000 miles on the clock,  a brand new clutch and a pile of old tax discs, it has to be tempting, right? Certainly more interesting than spending £99 per month on a new city car. The Matiz even managed to get a three-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Blimey.

Go on, you know you’re tempted.

Thanks to Andy for permission to use the pics.

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Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

1 comment

  1. June 29, 2015

    The Matiz has to rank as one of the best city cars of the 90s. Cute styling, wheel at each corner, four seats with access to all of them, 3-cylinder engine… it’s like a check-list of how to do a proper small car. Sadly, it was all downhill for Daewoo after that. How do you top a proper Giugiaro design?


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