Talon Automotive Products Company History
Ed Matula was not always interested in automobiles. As a child his passion was building model airplanes. Early in the 1950’s he got interested in cars by seeing some of the early customs and hot rods of the day.
After building a model of his own design and taking a state award in the Fisher Body Craftsman Guild competition in 1959, while a senior in high school, studying architectural design and drafting at a tech college and building a few hot rods himself, Ed migrated from Western New York state to the Los Angeles area of California in 1963 to be closer to the car culture that he had read so much about in all those car magazines thru out his teens.
He took an interest in kit cars, looked at what was available at the time and decided that he could design and build something different, better and easier to build. After spending about two years designing in the late 60’s he came up with a radical design for its day.
The TALON GT was borne. Based on the popular shortened (80″wb) VW pan and running gear that was common to dune buggies, the TALON offered more comfort and weather protection. After working on a plaster buck for about a year and lacking experience in fiberglass fabrication, Ed met Gene Winfield, who had just relocated from Arizona fresh with experience at AMT Automotive. Gene took Ed and his TALON project under his wing and they built the first prototype. Showing the TALON GT prototype in 1971 at the Los Angeles International Auto Expo, it was a hit.
After getting exposure with a cover and feature in Hot VW’s magazine in October 1972 and coverage in other major publications, Talon Automobile products was formed. The first sale going to the US Air force Academy for a project car. Orders came in and TALON GT was then licensed in Holland and marketed as the MATULA GT in the European market.
Just when things were starting to go strong, everything came to a halt because of personal problems. “No it wasn’t drugs”. The molds were stored and Ed still had his personal TALON. In 1975 after recovering from the problems that he had endured, he and automotive illustrator Roy Jones, redesigned the TALON to use a stock VW (94.5″wb) chassis into a 2+2 configuration. After acquiring funding he met a talented fabricator named Mel Francis who came down from Montreal Quebec looking for work. Using Ed’s personal car as the buck, they created the TALON GT 2+2, a revolutionary (4) place design.
The new prototype TALON GT 2+2 was introduced at the Los Angeles International Auto Expo in April 1976. Again the prototype drew great attention and an investor was found that turned out to be an investment scam. Temporary molds were taken and only (6) complete body sets were produced from the molds in 1978. Again Gene Winfield was called on to make some final refinements.
A new investor was found and refined body was sent to a fiberglass fabricator for production molds. A completed first article was produced after many delays in the retooling process. In March 1979 a move by the investor to take over the ownership of Talon Automotive Products resulted in litigation that was not resolved until November 1984. During the (5) years tied up in court, the market had changed the molds were accidentally destroyed while in storage and new investors were not interested.
At this time (5) of the (7) TALON GT 2+2 are known to still exist. (2) are complete cars, (2) are still not complete, (1) was destroyed and (2) is unaccounted for. A kit car collector that recently purchased (1) of the unfinished cars, called his find the Holy Grail of kit cars.
The MATULA GT was produced in Europe by (3) different manufactures, until 1980. Production numbers are unknown.
Talon Automotive Products Models
- Talon GT
- Talon GT 2+2
- Matula GT
Talon Automotive Products Advertising/Promotional Material