SIMCA (Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carrosserie Automobile) 1934 – 1979

Simca

Simca
Industry Automotive
Fate merged into Chrysler Europe, subsequently into PSA
Successor Talbot, a brand of PSA Peugeot Citroën
Founded 1934
Founder Henri Théodore Pigozzi
Defunct 1970 taken over by Chrysler,
1979 by PSA
Headquarters France
Products Simca Aronde, Simca ArianeSimca Vedette, Simca 1000Simca 1100, Simca 1300/1500, Simca 1307
Parent Chrysler Europe

1973 Simca 1000 GLSimca 1000 GL (1974)

Simca (Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carrosserie Automobile) (Mechanical and Automotive Body Manufacturing Company) was a Frenchautomaker, founded in November 1934 by Fiat and directed from July 1935 to May 1963 by Italian Henri Théodore Pigozzi (born Enrico Teodoro Pigozzi, 1898–1964). Simca was affiliated with Fiat and then, after Simca bought Ford‘s French activities, became increasingly controlled by the Chrysler Group. In 1970, Simca became a subsidiary and brand of Chrysler Europe, ending its period as an independent company. Simca disappeared in 1978, when Chrysler divested its European operations to another French automaker, PSA Peugeot Citroën. PSA replaced the Simca brand with Talbot after a short period when some models were badged as Simca-Talbots.

During most of its post-war activity, Simca was one of the biggest automobile manufacturers in France. The Simca 1100 was for some time the best-selling car in France, while the Simca 1307 and Simca Horizon won the coveted European Car of the Year title in 1976 and 1978, respectively — these models were badge engineered as products of other marques in some countries. For instance the Simca 1307 was sold in Britain as the Chrysler Alpine, and the Horizon was also sold under the Chrysler brand.

Simca vehicles were also manufactured by Simca do Brasil in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, and Barreiros (another Chrysler subsidiary) in Spain. They were also assembled in Chile, Colombia and the Netherlands during the Chrysler era.

Foundation

Henri Théodore Pigozzi was active in the automotive business in the early 1920s when he met Fiat founder, Giovanni Agnelli. They began business together in 1922 with Pigozzi acting as a scrap merchant, buying old automobile bodies and sending them to Fiat for recycling. Two years later Pigozzi became Fiat’s General Agent in France, and in 1926 SAFAF (Société Anonyme Français des Automobiles Fiat) was founded. In 1928, SAFAF started the assembly of Fiat cars in Suresnes near Paris, and licensed the production of some parts to local suppliers. By 1934, as many as 30,000 Fiat cars were sold by SAFAF.

Simca-Fiat

The SIMCA (Société Industrielle de Mécanique et de Carrosserie Automobile) company was founded in 1935 by FIAT, when Fiat bought the former Donnet factory in the French town of Nanterre.

The first cars produced were Fiat 508 Balillas and Fiat 518 Arditas, but with Simca-Fiat 6CV and 11CV badges. They were followed during 1936 by the Simca Cinq or 5CV, a version of the Fiat Topolino announced in the Spring, but only available for sale from October 1936. The Huit, an 8CV version of the Fiat 508C-1100, appeared in 1937. Production of the 6CV and 11CV stopped in 1937, leaving the 5CV and the 8CV in production until the outbreak of World War II. The firm nevertheless remained closely connected with Fiat, and it was not until 1938 that the shortened name “Simca” replaced “Simca-Fiat”.

Of the businesses that emerged as France’s big four auto-makers after the war, Simca was unique in not suffering serious bomb damage to its plant. There were persistent suggestions that Henri Pigozzi‘s close personal relationship with the Agnelli family (which owned Fiat) and Fiat’s powerful political influence with the Mussolini government in Italy secured relatively favourable treatment for Simca during the years when France fell under the control of Italy’s powerful ally, Germany. Despite France being occupied, Simca cars continued to be produced in small numbers throughout the war.

Following the 1944 liberation, the company’s close association with Italy became an obvious liability in the feverish atmosphere of recrimination and new beginnings that swept France following four years of German occupation. Nevertheless, shortly after the liberation the Nanterre plant’s financial sustainability received a boost when Simca won a contract from the American army to repair large numbers of Jeep engines.

1946: a decisive year

On 3 January 1946 the new government’s five year plan for the automobile industry (remembered, without affection, as the Pons Plan) came into force. Government plans for Simca involved pushing it into a merger with various smaller companies such as Delahaye-Delage, Bernard, Laffly and Unic so as to create an automobile manufacturing combine to be called “Générale française automobile” (GFA). With half an eye on the Volkswagen project across the Rhine, the authorities determined that GFA should produce the two door version of the “AFG”, a small family car that had been developed during the war by the influential automobile engineer, Jean-Albert Grégoire. Grégoire owed his influence to a powerfully persuasive personality and a considerable engineering talent. Regarding the future of the French automobile industry, Grégoire held strong opinions, two of which favoured front-wheel drive and aluminium as a material for car bodies. A few weeks after the liberation Grégoire joined the Simca board as General Technical Director, in order to prepare for the production of the AFG at the company’s Nanterre factory.

For Simca, faced with a determinedly dirigiste left-wing French government, the prospect of nationalisation seemed very real. (Renault had already been confiscated and nationalised by the government at the start of 1945.) Simca’s long standing (but Italian born) Director General, Henri Pigozzi, was obliged to deploy his very considerable reserves of guile and charm in order to retain his own position within the company, and it appears that in the end Pigozzi owed his very survival at Simca to the intervention with the national politicians of his new board room colleague, Jean-Albert Grégoire. In return, Grégoire obtained the personal commitment of the surviving Director General to the production at Nanterre of his two-door AFG.

It is very easy to see how the two-door AFG looked, because its four door equivalent went into production, little changed from Grégoire’s prototype, as the Panhard Dyna X. It was a car designed by an engineer, and Pigozzi thought it ugly. In trying to make it more appealing to the style conscious car buyers who, it was hoped, would appear in Simca showrooms once the economy picked up and government restrictions or car ownership began to be relaxed, Simca designers took the underpinnings of the Grégoire prototype and clothed it with various more conventionally modern bodies, the last of which looked uncannily similar to a shortened Peugeot 203. This “Simca-Grégoire” performed satisfactorily in road tests in France and around Turin (home town of Fiat who still owned Simca), and by September 1946 the car was deemed ready for production. But Pigozzi was still cautious. He had little enthusiasm for the gratuitously unfathomable complexities involved in producing a mass-market front-wheel drive car. The experience of the Citroën Traction Avant, which had bankrupted its manufacturer in the mid-1930s, was not encouraging. Pigozzi therefore applied to the (at this stage still strongly interventionist) government for a far higher level of government subsidy than the government could contemplate. Both the “Simca-Grégoire” project and the government’s own enthusiasm for micro-managing the French automobile industry were by now running out of momentum. Sensing that there was no prospect of putting the “Simca-Grégoire” into production any time soon, General Technical Director Grégoire resigned from the company early in 1947.

Meanwhile, at the first Paris Motor Show since the end of the war, in October 1946, two models were on display on the Simca stand, being the Simca 5 and the Simca 8, at this stage barely distinguishable from their pre-war equivalents. A new car arrived in 1948 with the Simca 6, a development of the Simca 5 which it would eventually replace, and featuring an overhead valve 570 cc engine: the Simca 6 was launched ahead of the introduction of the equivalent Fiat.

The French economy in this period was in a precarious condition and government pressure was applied on the auto-makers to maximize export sales. During the first eight months of 1947, Simca exported 70% of cars produced, placing it behind Citroen (92% exported), Renault (90% exported), Peugeot (87% exported) and Ford France (83% exported). In the struggle to maximize exports, Simca was handicapped by the fact that it could not compete with its principal Italian shareholder, Fiat.

Aronde and Ford SAF takeover

1956 Simca ArondeSimca Aronde (1956)

The Simca Aronde, launched in 1951, was the first Simca model not based on a Fiat design. It had a 1200 cc engine and its production reached 100,000 units yearly. Following this success, Simca took over the French truck manufacturers Unic in 1951, Saurer in 1956, and the Poissy plant of Ford SAF in 1954. The Poissy plant had ample room for expansion, enabling Simca to consolidate French production in a single plant and, in 1961, to sell the old Nanterre plant.

The 1950s was a decade of growth for Simca, and by 1959 the combined output of the plants at Nanterre and at Poissy had exceeded 225,000 cars, placing the manufacturer in second among French automakers in volume terms, ahead of Peugeot and Citroën, though still far behind market leader Renault.

The Ford purchase also added the V-8 powered Ford Vedette range to the Simca stable. This model continued to be produced and progressively upgraded until 1962 in France and 1967 in Brazil, but with various names under the Simca badge. An Aronde-powered version was also made in 1957 and called the Ariane which, because it was economical and had a large body, was popular as a taxi.

In 1958 Simca bought Talbot-Lago.

Brazil

Main article: Simca do Brasil
1960 Simca Chambord Brazilian madeA Brazilian made Simca Chambord, used on the TV series “Vigilante Rodoviário” (1961-1962)

The Simca plant received a visit by Juscelino Kubitschek before his inauguration in 1956, organized by a Brazilian General who had a family member employed there. He jokingly invited Simca to build a plant in Minas Gerais, his home state. Simca followed through and sent a letter of intent to this effect. In the interim, Brazil had formed an Executive Group for the Automotive Industry (GEIA), which had established a set of requirements for any producer wishing to establish a plant in Brazil. Simca claimed that their proposal and arrangement with Kubitschek pre-dated these rules and lobbied for exceptions. Simca also lobbied directly in Minas, but in the end were forced to present their own proposal, which was accepted with a number of conditions. The delays in passing the GEIA rules meant that Simca, which established its first plant in São Paulo, was unable to access hard currency and suffered severe parts shortages as a result. Simca quickly developed a reputation for low quality which it was unable to shake.

Simca do Brasil was originally 50% Brazilian-owned, but after Chrysler took over Simca France in 1966 they also obtained control of the Brazilian arm. Simca remained based in Sāo Paulo for the entire time they were active in Brazil and never moved to Minas, as originally promised. Their range was built around the 2.4 liter V8-engined Simca Vedette, which entered production in Brazil in March 1959. It was built under a variety of names and in a number of different bodystyles, until the Simca badge was retired there in 1969. Later models were redesigned completely, and were sold as the Simca Esplanada.

Fulgur

1958 Simca Fulgur

The Simca Fulgur was a concept car designed in 1958 by Robert Opron for Simca and first displayed at the 1959 Geneva Auto Show. It was also displayed at the New York Auto Show, and the 1961 Chicago Auto Show. The concept car was intended to show what cars in the year 2000 would look like. It was to be atomic powered, voice controlled, guided by radar, and use only two wheels balanced by gyroscopes when driven at over 150 kph. Fulgur is Latin for flash or lightning. Another translation is lensman.

Chrysler

In 1958, the American car manufacturer Chrysler Corporation, which wanted to enter the European car market, bought 15% of the Simca stocks from Ford in a deal which Henry Ford II was later reported as having publicly regretted. At this stage, however, the dominant shareholder remained Fiat, and their influence is apparent in the engineering and design of Simcas of that period such as the 1000 and 1300 models introduced respectively in 1961 and 1963. However, in 1963 Chrysler increased their stake to a controlling 64% by purchasing stock from Fiat, and they subsequently extended that holding further to 77%. Even in 1971 Fiat retained a 19% holding, but by now they had long ceased to play an active role in the business.

Also, in 1964 Chrysler bought the British manufacturer Rootes thus putting together the basis of Chrysler Europe. All the Simca models manufactured after 1967 had the Chrysler pentastar logo as well as Simca badging. In 1961 Simca started to manufacture all of its models in the ex-Ford SAF factory in Poissy and sold the factory at Nanterre to Citroën. The rear-engined Simca 1000 was introduced in 1961 with its sporting offspring, the Simca-Abarth in 1963. The 1000 also served as the platform for the 1000 Coupe, a handsome sports coupe sporting a Bertone-designed body by Giorgetto Giugiaro and 4-wheel disc brakes. It debuted in 1963 and was described by Car Magazine as “the world’s neatest small coupe”. 1967 saw the more powerful 1200S Bertone Coupe that, with a horsepower upgrade in 1970, could reach the dizzying speed of almost 112 mph (180 km/h), making it the fastest standard production Simca ever built. In 1967 a much more up to date car, the 1100, appeared with front wheel drive and independent suspension all round, and continued in production until 1979. On 1 July 1970 the company title was formally changed to Chrysler France.

Collapse of Chrysler Europe

The most successful pre-Chrysler Simca models were the Aronde, the Simca 1000 and the front-engined 1100 compact. During the late 1970s Chrysler era, Simca produced the new 160/180 saloon, 1307 range (Chrysler Alpine in the UK) and later the Horizon, (Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon in the USA), both of which were named European Car of the Year at launch. However, Chrysler’s forced marriage of Simca and Rootes was not a happy one: Chrysler Europe collapsed in 1977 and the remains were sold to Peugeot the following year. The Rootes models were quickly killed off, and the Simca-based Alpine/1307 and Horizon soldiered on through the first half of the 1980s using the resurrected Talbot badge. The last car to carry the Simca badge was the 1980 Solara, a 1307 with a boot, but by 1981 this had become a Talbot, thus ending the Simca marque entirely.

Afterlife

Peugeot eventually abandoned the Talbot brand, and the last Simca design was launched as Peugeot 309 (instead of Talbot Arizona as had been originally planned). The Peugeot 309 used Simca engines until October 1991 (some 18 months before the end of production) when they were replaced by PSA’s own TU and XU series of engines. The 309 was produced at the former Rootes factory in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, UK, as well as in the Poissy plant.

Simcas can still be seen on the road in several European countries and were also manufactured in Brazil, Colombia, Spain and Finland. The last Simca-based car produced was the Horizon-based Dodge Omni, which was built in the USA until 1990. The European equivalent had already been axed three years earlier when use of the Talbot name on passenger cars was finally discontinued.

Models

Simca 5

Simca 5
1936 - 1948 Simca 5
Overview
Manufacturer Simca
Production 1936 – 1948
Assembly Nanterre, France
Body and chassis
Class Small car
Body style 2-door saloon
Layout FR layout
Related Fiat Topolino
Powertrain
Engine I4 570 cc
Transmission 4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,000 mm (78.7 in)
Length 3,220 mm (126.8 in)
Width 1,350 mm (53.1 in)
Height 1,400 mm (55.1 in)
Chronology
Successor Simca 6

The Simca 5 is a small Franco-Italian passenger car designed, by Fiat engineers at Turin. It was produced and sold in France by Simca. It was virtually identical to the Fiat 500 Topolino on which it was based, but was first presented, at the company’s new Nanterre plant, three months ahead of the Fiat equivalent on 10 March 1936. Production was delayed, however, by a wave of strikes, that accompanied the June 1936 electoral victory of Léon Blum‘s Popular Front government. The manufacturer boasted at the time of its launch of being ahead of the “plans across the Rhine”: this was a reference to the already rumoured launch of the Volkswagen Beetle which would appear only in 1938.

Advanced features included independent front suspension, a four speed gear box, hydraulically controlled drum brakes on all four wheels and a twelve volt electrical system. The Simca 5 also offered exceptional fuel economy (in a test it managed to travel 110 kilometers on just 5 litres of fuel).

The car was originally intended for sale on the domestic market for less than 10,000 French Francs, an aspiration soon overtaken by a decline in the currency’s value that gathered pace in the second half of the 1930s. By the time of the 32nd Paris Motor Show in October 1938, the manufacturer’s listed price even for the base “standard” bodied car, was 13,980 francs. With an engine size that corresponded with the 3CV car tax band the Simca 5, along with its Fiat sibling, could be presented as the “smallest volume production car in the world”.

Production of the Simca 5 was slowed down (but did not ever cease entirely) by the war and the period of German occupation in the early 1940s, but resumed in 1946. 46,472 of the cars had been produced by the time the car was delisted by Simca in 1949. By now it had been replaced on the company’s production lines by the similar but partially reskinned and slightly more powerful Simca 6.

Simca 6

Simca 6
1947 - 1950 Simca 6
Overview
Manufacturer Simca
Production 1947 – 1950
Assembly Nanterre, France
Body and chassis
Class Small car
Body style 2-door saloon
light panel van
Layout FR layout
Related Fiat Topolino
Powertrain
Engine I4 570 cc
Transmission 4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,000 mm (78.7 in)
Length 3,220 mm (126.8 in)
Width 1,350 mm (53.1 in)
Height 1,400 mm (55.1 in)
Chronology
Predecessor Simca 5
Successor Simca 8

The Simca 6 is a small budget priced passenger car produced and sold in France by Simca between 1947 and 1950. Simca had been established as a French subsidiary of Fiat and the Simca 6 was developed from the Simca 5 which itself had been a version of Fiat’s Topolino badged and manufactured in France as a Simca.

With the launch, at the 1947 Paris Motor Show, of the Simca 6, the company’s Nanterre based development office demonstrated a hitherto unseen level of independent thinking for a Simca production model. The Simca was distanced from its Fiat origins by a modified « Americanised » front end, featuring a widened and lowered front grill, flanked by raised headlights integrated into the wing panels, along the lines featured by the then newly introduced Peugeot 203 and Renault 4CV. The rear overhang was extended with the addition of a small boot/trunk, accessible only from the interior of the car and almost entirely filled by the spare wheel. In addition to the small two seater coupe style body, a small van capable of carrying up to 250 kg was available.

Claimed output from the 569 cm³ engine was boosted from 12 to 16.5 bhp achieved at 4,400 rpm. The engine employed overhead valves operated with a side-mounted camshaft. The light-weight 6 inherited its predecessor’s excellent fuel economy, with 5 litres of fuel propelling it over a distance of 108 km, equivalent to more than 61 mpg (UK gallons). The advertised maximum speed of 90 or 95 km/h (56 or 59 mph) also reflected the car’s light build, and was considered excellent for a car of this size and price.

In most respects, the principal mechanical elements followed conventional practice. The four speed gear box featured synchromesh on the top two ratios. Stopping power came from drum-brakes on all four wheels.

Despite having its first public presentation at the 1947 Motor Show, the car got off to a slow start, with just 11 produced during the closing month of 1947 and 191 during the whole of 1948:[1] during these years the older Simca 5 remained the company’s smaller volume model. However, in 1949 the Simca 6 fulfilled its manufacturer’s plans and replaced its predecessor. More than 16,000 Simca 6s were produced during its production run which came to an end in 1950: after this loyal Simca customers would need to upgrade to the larger (and far more commercially successful) Simca 8. Unlike its predecessor, the 6 was not seen as a commercial success, and it was not until 1961 that Simca would return to the small car sector (in French terms), with their Simca 1000.

By the time the Simca 6 production run ended, the Italian Fiat Topolino on which it was based had also been upgraded: The Topolino C, arriving two years later than the Simca 6, featured the upgraded mechanical components first seen on the Simca, as well as a modern square front grill; but the Fiat offering came without the American style chrome of the Simca, and the Fiat’s headlights were positioned at a lower level. In retrospect Italian sources tend to view the Simca 6 as a French version of the upgraded Fiat Topolino while French sources stress the independent development of the Simca.

Simca 8

Simca 8
1937 - 1951 Simca 8
Overview
Manufacturer Simca
Production 1937 – 1951
Assembly Nanterre, France
Body and chassis
Class Medium sized car
Body style 2-door/4-door saloon
2-door coupe
2-door cabriolet
coach-built estate
… (from 1948)
Layout FR layout
Related Fiat 508C Nuova Balilla 1100[1]
Powertrain
Engine I4 1090 cc till 1949
I4 1221 cc from 1949
Transmission 4-speed manual
synchromesh on top 2 ratios
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,420 mm (95.3 in)
Length 4,000 mm (157.5 in)
Width 1,480 mm (58.3 in)
Height 1,530 mm (60.2 in)
Chronology
Successor Simca Aronde

1946 Simca 8 coupé deux places (2 seat coupé)1951 Simca 8 Sport Michelotti

Simca 8 coupé deux places (2 seat coupé)

The Simca 8 was a car built and sold in France between November 1937 and 1951 (including wartime), available as a sedan, coupé or cabriolet. It was a rebadged Fiat 508C “nuova Balilla” made at Fiat’s Simca plant in Nanterre France.

High profile launch breaking records

The Simca 8 was first presented, at the Motor Show in October 1937, and sales in France started almost immediately in November. Early the next summer Henri Pigozzi, Simca’s energetic boss, organised a three part endurance run under the supervision of the ACF. A single Simca 8 undertook a “non-stop” 50,000 kilometer (31,075 miles) run split as follows:

  • 10,000 kilometers (6,215 miles) lapping the Montlhéry circuit averaging 115.1 km/h (72 mph) and returning 7.9 l/100 km
  • 20,000 kilometers (12,430 miles) on open roads averaging 65 km/h (40 mph) and consuming 6.0 l/100 km
  • 20,000 kilometers (12,430 miles) in Paris averaging (impressively) 54 km/h (34 mph) and consuming 6.5 l/100 km

The initial 10,000 km round the race-circuit south of Paris involved breaking no fewer than 8 international records, although the manufacturer’s advertisement including this information does not spell out what these records were. The purpose of the exercise was, of course, to gain positive publicity for the Simca 8, and as soon as the 50,000 kilometers had been completed, on 12 May 1938, a press dinner was organised at which the journalists were able to dine with the drivers, the ACF monitors, and the Simca directors as well as representatives from Shell and Dunlop, whose products had presumably played a key role in the exercise.

The printed summary of the event, used to advertise to the wider public, concluded with an invitation that the reader “achetez la mêmevoiture” (buy the same car).

The engine

The ‘8’ in the car’s name did not indicate an eight-cylinder engine; it had but four cylinders, and was officially rated as a 6CV vehicle for tax purposes. At launch the car featured a 1,089 cc engine with a claimed output of 32 hp at 4,000 rpm. Fuel feed came via a Solex 30mm carburetor and overhead valves driven, using rods and rocker arms, by a side-mounted camshaft. An unusual feature at the time was the use of aluminium for the cylinder head.

Shortly before it was replaced in 1951, the Simca 8 had acquired, in September 1949, the Fiat designed 1,221 cc engine which would also be employed its successor, the popular 7CV Simca 9 Aronde.

The body

At launch only two bodies were offered, these being a 4-door “berline” (saloon/sedan) and a 2-door four seater cabriolet. This contrasted with the Simca’s Italian cousin for which a wider range of bodies was available from the start and it also marked a departure from the strategy followed by Simca themselves with the predecessor model, the Simca-Fiat 6CV which had been offered with almost as wide a range of body variants as its Turin built relative. The four door body was unusual in that there was no central pillar between the front doors, hinged at the front, and the rear doors, hinged at the back, permitting particularly easy access when a front and rear door were opened simultaneously. In 1937 the Simca 8 4-door Berline was priced at 23,900 Francs for a “Normale” version and at 25,900 Francs for a “Grande Luxe”. The Peugeot 202 made its debut only six months later, in Spring 1938, and was priced at 21,300 Francs for a “Normale” version and at 22,500 Francs for a “Luxe”. The cars were similar in size and power, but sales data suggest that the market found space for both of them, despite the Simca’s higher price.

The post war range became wider, with coupé, cabriolet and after 1948 station wagon versions listed, but these were all substantially more expensive than the berline(sedan): virtually all the cars sold were still Simca 8 Berlines, which early in 1947 were priced at 330,000 francs against 420,000 francs for the cabriolet. (The slightly longer but slightly slower competitor from Peugeot, the 202 was priced at 303,600 francs which included a sun roof at no extra cost.)

Over the course of a few years the Simca 8 underwent some grille changes, and other minor upgrades.

Market reaction

1939 Simca 8 1200

 The Simca 8 won plaudits for its lively temperament and excellent fuel economy. The four ratios on the new gear box were chosen so that even when cruising at 110 km/h (68 mph) fuel consumption remained reasonable, and set to permit good progress along country roads and reasonable acceleration even in hilly areas. The car also came with unusually precise steering and efficient hydraulically controlled brakes that did not overheat.

Commentators nevertheless noted that the engine was noisy when working hard, the (semaphore style) direction indicators were fragile, and the ambitiously sophisticated front suspension also proved fragile when confronted with France’s rural roads, many of which were still unpaved. The gear box could be disagreeable when changing down across the gate from third speed to second, and the car was only just large enough for four people, with only a small storage area for luggage, located in a hard to get at position behind the back seat and without any external access.

Commercial

For most of the time the Simca 8’s principal competitors were the “bargain basement” Renault Juvaquatre and the Peugeot 202. After the war, with the Juvaquatre range restricted to an estate/ station wagon version, and Peugeot moving half a market segment up at the end of 1948 replacing the Peugeot 202 with the larger 203, sales of the Simca 8 held up impressively even though the Simca was itself by now clearly nearing the end of its production run. In 1948 the Simca 8 was Simca’s top seller, with approximately 14,000 sold, almost all of them saloons/sedans. Two years later, in its penultimate year, the car was being produced at an even higher rate.

The principal complication arose from the fact that the car was in most respects a badge engineered Fiat, which compromised its export potential, which was a particular issue after the war, when government (and the state of the French economy) were demanding heroic export effort from France’s leading auto-makers.

The French car market in the early 1950s was concentrated, with just three models between them accounting for two thirds of domestic sales in 1950. Nevertheless, as the fourth best selling car of 1950 the Simca 8 with unit sales of 17,705 in that year achieved a respectable 10.2% market share.  http://www.simca8.nl/

Simca 9

The Simca 9 was a French sports car of the mid-1950s, being a development of the Simca 8, from which it differed by being lengthened a bit (a few centimetres or inches) between the rear edge of the door and the bulge of the rear fender, to provide more interior room.

Its running gear was similar to that of the Simca 8.

1951 simca 9 50 p151951 simca 9 50 p15

1951 simca 91951 simca 9

1952 simca 9 sport

1952 simca 9 sport

1954 Simca 9 aronde

1954 Simca 9 aronde

Simca 11

1936 Simca-Fiat 11 CV Cabriolet1936 Simca-Fiat 11 CV Cabriolet

1937 Simca-Fiat 11CV Berline 5pl1937 Simca-Fiat 11CV Berline 5pl

1937 simca-fiat-11-cv-31937 Simca-Fiat 11CV Berline 5pl

Simca Fiat 11cv

Simca Fiat 11cv

Simca Gordini Type 15 (Grand Prix racing car)

Simca Gordini Type 15 (Grand Prix racing car)

Gordini

Gordini
Division
Industry Automotive
Founded 1946
Headquarters Les Ulis, France
Parent Renault Sport

Gordini (French pronunciation: ​[ɡɔʁdini]) is a division of Renault Sport Technologies (Renault Sport). In the past, it was a sports car manufacturer and performance tuner, established in 1946 by Amédée Gordini, nicknamed “Le Sorcier” (The Sorcerer). Gordini became a division of Renault in 1968 and of Renault Sport in 1976.

History

Simca Gordini Type 16Gordini Type 32

1950 Simca Gordini T15s 1950 Simca gordini-t15s1950 Simca Gordini T15s, as raced, and retired, at the 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans by José Froilán González and Juan Manuel Fangio

Amédée Gordini tuned cars and competed in motor races since the 1930s. His results made Simca (the French assembler of Fiat) to hire him for its motorsport programme and to develop road cars. Their association continued after World War II.

In 1946, Gordini introduced the first cars named after him, Fiat-engined single-seaters raced by him and Jose Scaron, achieving several victories. In the late 1940s the company opened a workshop at the Boulevard Victor in Paris, entering into sportcar and Grand Prix races. Gordini and Simca started to diverge in 1951 because of political conflicts.

Gordini competed in Formula One from 1950 to 1956 (with a brief return in 1957), although it achieved a major success in Formula Two during that period.

After its Formula One programme ended Gordini worked with Renault as an engine tuner, entering Renault-Gordini cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1962 and 1969. It also tuned engines for Alpine, a rival sports car manufacturer also associated with Renault. In 1957, Gordini and Renault manufactured the Dauphine Gordini, a modified version of the Renault Dauphine which was a sales success. Gordini-tuned Renault cars also won various rallies during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1963, the Gordini company planned to move its headquarters to Noisy-le-Roi. At the end of 1968, Gordini retired and sold a 70% majority stake from his firm to Renault. Renault-Gordini was moved to Viry-Châtillon in 1969 and became a sport division of Renault, before be merged with Alpine to form Renault Sport in 1976. The Gordini company name became wholly owned by Renault in 1977.

Renault sold Gordini-badged performance versions of models including the Renault 5, the Renault 8 the Renault 12 and the Renault 17.

In November 2009, Renault announced that it would be reviving the Gordini name for an exclusive line of hot hatches, in a similar fashion to Fiat‘s revival of its Abarth name. Modern models to bear the name include the Renault Twingo and the Renault Clio.

Dauphine Gordini (1957–1967)

  • Renault 8 Gordini (1964–1970)
  • Renault 12 Gordini (1970–1974)
  • Renault 17 Gordini (1974–1978)
  • Clio Gordini RS (2010–present)
  • Twingo Gordini (2010–present)
  • Twingo Gordini RS (2010–present)
  • Wind Gordini (2011–2013)

Car colours

Since its early Renault models the most characteristic colour scheme of Gordini cars has been bleu de France (the French motor racing colour) with white stripes, although different combinations have been used over the years.

Simca Aronde

Simca Aronde
Overview
Manufacturer Simca
Production 1951–1964
Body and chassis
Class Family car
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door hardtop coupé
2-door coupé
2-door convertible
3-door estate
2-door pickup
2-door van
5-door station wagon(Australia)
Layout FR layout
Powertrain
Engine 1.1 L ohv I4
1.2 L ohv I4
1.3 L Flash ohv I4
1.3 L Rush ohv I4
Chronology
Predecessor Simca 8
Successor Simca 1300/1500

The Simca Aronde was a family car manufactured by the French automaker Simca from 1951 to 1963. It was Simca’s first original design (earlier models were all to a greater or lesser extent based on Fiats), as well as the company’s first unibody car. “/ Aronde -hirondelle”means “swallow” in Old French and it was chosen as the name for the model because Simca’s logo at that time was a stylized swallow.

The three generations

There were three generations of the model: the 9 Aronde, made from 1951 to 1955, the 90A Aronde, made from 1955 to 1958, and theAronde P60 , which debuted in 1958 and continued until the model was dropped in 1964. Some 1.4 million Arondes were made in total, and this model alone is largely responsible for Simca becoming the second-biggest French automaker at the end of the 1950s.

Simca 9 Aronde

Simca 9 Aronde
1951–1955 Simca aronde taxi
Overview
Production 1951–1955
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door hardtop coupé
2-door coupé
2-door convertible
3-door estate
2-door pickup
2-door van
Powertrain
Engine 1221 cc ohv I4
Transmission four-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,440 mm (96.1 in)
Length 4,070 mm (160.2 in)
Width 1,560 mm (61.4 in)
Height 1,520 mm (59.8 in)

The first Aronde debuted in the spring of 1951 but initially only a few hundred pre-production cars were distributed to carefully selected “guinea-pig” buyers, and the full production version was finalised only in time for the Paris Motor Show, becoming available for sale in October 1951. The full production version incorporated various detailed changed when compared to the pre-volume production cars, including a changed material for the seat covers and a moulded plastic dash-board which at the time appeared very modern when compared to the metal dashboard on the Aronde’s most obvious competitor, the Peugeot 203. A few months later, at the start of 1952, space was found to position the battery under the bonnet/hood: in the original cars the battery was stowed under the front seat.

The Aronde was fitted with a front-mounted 1221 cc 44.5 bhp (33.2 kW) engine from the previous Simca model, the Simca 8, fuel feed being provided by a Solex 32 carburetor. Power was delivered to the rear wheels via a traditional four-speed manual gear box incorporating synchromesh on the top three ratios. The car had independent suspension at the front using coil springs, with a live axle at the rear, suspended using semi-elliptic leaf springs. Hydraulically operated 9.85 in (250 mm) drum brakes were used all round.

The only body style offered at the October 1951 launch was a four-door saloon/sedan/berline, but other configurations very soon became available such as the three-door estate (branded initially as the “Aronde commerciale” and later as the “Châtelaine”) with a horizontally split tailgate. There was also a van, called the “Messagère”, and a “commerciale semi-vitrée” – part panel van and part estate – became available in 1953. Of more interest to collectors is the two-door coupé coachbuilt by Facel. The Facel-built coupé was replaced for 1953 by a coupé based on the saloon Aronde body, called Grand Large, featuring a large three piece wrap-around rear window and a “pillarless” side window effect when both side windows were wound down.

A two-door cabriolet conversion, prepared by the coachbuilder Figoni, was presented to the public for the 1953 model year in a display involving ballerinas, but it proved impossible to confer sufficient structural rigidity on this car without unacceptable cost and weight penalties, and Figoni’s Aronde cabriolet was never produced for sale.

The 1952 Motor Show saw several manufacturers attempting to broaden the appeal of mainstream ranges with stripped down versions offered at a reduced price. The trend seems to have been started by Renault with their 4CV Service, and they were quickly followed by other automakers in including Rosengart and Simca. Simca’s “Aronde Quotidienne” was offered from January 1953 with an advertised price of 630,000 francs, which was a saving of 45,000 against the previous base model (confusingly branded, even then, as the “Aronde Berline Luxe”). The interior of the Quotidienne was simplified and the heater disappeared, as did most of the exterior trim. Nevertheless, chrome headlight surrounds remained in place: importantly, too, buyers of the “Aronde Quotidienne” could still choose from the full range of body colours offered on the “Aronde Berline Luxe”. The company was keen to stress that the stripped down Aronde was not as fully stripped down as the Renault Frégate Affaires (available only in black), the Renault 4CV Service or the Rosengart Artisane (these last two being offered only in grey).

1951-64 Simca Aronde Lieferwagen

A panel van was displayed in 1951 and sold from 1953

The 9 Aronde was well received, especially in France. It took only until 17 March 1953 before total production of this model at the Nanterre plant passed 100,000.

The company’s flamboyant boss. Henri Pigozzi, was keenly aware of the publicity that could be gleaned from the craze for record breaking runs. In May 1952 an Aronde broke five international records by covering a distance of 50,000 km (31,000 mi) at an average speed of 117 km/h (73 mph), and in August 1953 another Aronde, selected at random from the production line, returned to the Montlhéry circuit for a new record attempt whereby during the course of forty days and forty nights the car covered 39,242 laps which represented 100,000 km (62,000 mi) at an average speed of more than 104 km/h (65 mph). This achievement, which involved breaking more than 30 international records, was undertaken under the supervision of the ACF.

A car tested in France by the British Motor magazine in 1951 had a top speed of 73.9 mph (118.9 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 30.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of 34.1 miles per imperial gallon (8.3 L/100 km; 28.4 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car was reported to cost 970 Francs on the French market. It was not at the time available in the UK but the price was converted to £657.

Simca 90A Aronde

Simca 90A Aronde
DCF 1.0
Overview
Production 1955–1958
Assembly France
Australia
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door hardtop coupé
2-door coupé
2-door convertible
3-door estate
2-door pickup
2-door van
Powertrain
Engine 1290 cc Flash ohv I4
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,440 mm (96.1 in)
Length 4,115 mm (162.0 in)
Width 1,560 mm (61.4 in)
Height 1,510 mm (59.4 in)

The second-generation Aronde debuted in October 1955. The new Aronde was now powered by the ungraded and newly named 1290 ccFlash engine. The unit retained the 75 mm (3.0 in) cylinder stroke of the previous engine, but the cylinder bore was increased to 74 mm (2.9 in). The Solex 32 carburetter was unchanged but a raised compression ratio provided for a small increase in claimed maximum power which, for the models as displayed at the motor show in October 1955, now given as 45 hp (34 kW) at 4,500 rpm or 48 hp (36 kW) at 4,800 rpm (and more in some low volume more highly tuned versions).

Externally the Aronde for 1956 had an updated 9 Aronde body, with restyled front and rear ends. A very slight lengthening of the car at the back made it possible to position the spare wheel under the floor of the boot/trunk which allowed for a substantial increase in usable luggage capacity.

New trim levels, marketed as Elysée and Montlhéry (named after the Autodrome de Montlhéry) appeared. The wagon (“Commerciale”) and van (“Messagère”) remained available, with a 45 PS (33 kW) version of the 1.3 litre “Flash” engine. They received the 90K modelcode.

In January 1957, the 500,000th Aronde was made, and the cars were now exported even to the USA. In October 1957, two new versions joined the Aronde range: the Océane, a 2-seater cabriolet, and Plein Ciel, a 2-seater coupé, both with bodies by Facel.

An Aronde Elysee was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1956 and was recorded as having a top speed of 82.6 mph (132.9 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 23.9 seconds. A fuel consumption of 32.6 miles per imperial gallon (8.7 L/100 km; 27.1 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £915 including taxes on the UK market. In 1960 they also tested one of the Montlhéry models. This had a slightly higher top speed of 83.6 mph (134.5 km/h), faster acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 19.6 seconds and a better fuel consumption of 35.0 miles per imperial gallon (8.1 L/100 km; 29.1 mpg-US). The test car cost £896 including taxes on the UK market.

Simca Aronde P60

Simca Aronde P60
1961 Simca Aronde P60 Elysée, blue with white roof, Rush engine The vehicle was among the many classic cars handled by the Garage de l'Est
Overview
Manufacturer Simca
Production 1958–1964
Assembly France
Mile End, Australia
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door hardtop coupé
2-door coupé
2-door convertible
3-door estate
2-door pickup
2-door van
5-door station wagon (Australia)
Powertrain
Engine 1090 cc (6CV) ohv I4
40 hp (30 kW)

1290 cc (7CV) Rush ohv I4
42 hp (31 kW)
45 hp (34 kW)
48 hp (36 kW)
52 hp (39 kW)
57 hp (43 kW)
62 hp (46 kW)
70 hp (52 kW)Transmission4-speed manualDimensionsWheelbase2,440 mm (96.1 in)Length4,190 mm (165.0 in)Width1,570 mm (61.8 in)Height1,440 mm (56.7 in)

Simca Aronde Monaco 2-door pillarless saloon, promoted in some markets as a hardtop coupé

Simca Aronde Monaco 2-door pillarless saloon, promoted in some markets as a hardtop coupé

The P60 Aronde saloons, presented at the Paris Motor Show in October 1958, came with a new modern-looking body. The 2,440 mm (96.1 in) wheelbase was unchanged and, apart from a slightly lowered roof-line, the central portion of the body was still broadly similar to that of the original 1951 Aronde, but the discrete tail-fins and rear lights were restyled as were the headlights, set on either side of a larger grill at the front. Mechanically little had changed: more innovative was the wide range of versions and permutations now offered, with customers able to choose from a range of engines offering four different levels of power output (40, 45, 47 or 57 hp) and an options list that even included leather upholstery and a “Simcamatic” clutch.

A proliferation of names

In line with the manufacturer’s determination to offer customers more choice, the Simca Aronde P60 was offered with various names. The following cars all shared the same wheelbase and the same length/width footprint:

  • Simca Aronde P60 Élysée: 4-door berline (sedan/saloon) 1290cc (7CV) 48 hp (36 kW)
  • Simca Aronde P60 Grand Large: 2-door “coach panoramique” (pillarless sedan/saloon) 1290cc (7CV) 48 hp (36 kW)
  • Simca Aronde P60 Montlhéry: 4-door berline (sedan/saloon) 1290cc (7CV, higher compression) 57 hp (43 kW)
  • Simca Aronde P60 Monaco: 2-door “coach panoramique” (pillarless sedan/saloon) 1290cc (7CV, higher compression) 57 hp (43 kW)
  • Simca Aronde P60 Châtelaine: 5-door estate/station wagon 1290cc (7CV) 45 hp (34 kW)

Although the engines were unchanged, direct comparisons between the Aronde P60 Élysée and the previous model disclosed a small deterioration in overall top-end performance which was attributed to various “improvements” to the car’s overall profile which, taken together, reduced the body’s aerodynamic efficiency. The Aronde Châtelaine (estate) at this stage retained the body of the earlier Aronde 90A Châtelaine, but by 1960 a more luxurious estate version, branded as the Simca Aronde P60 Ranch, combined the new front end (resembling, according to one source, the 1957 Ford Thunderbird) from the new Aronde P60 with the back end of the previous generation of Aronde estates.

Broadening the range

The announcement of the Aronde P60 coincided with a resurrection for the old 1090cc (6CV) engine last seen in the Simca 8 before that model received a larger engine in 1949. The old 6CV unit was now fitted in a reduced specification Simca Aronde, but the bodies of these downmarket Arondes still, at this stage, were those of the 90A Aronde of 1955-58, and not from the new Aronde P60. The cylinder stroke of the two engines was the same, but the bore diameter on the 1090cc unit was smaller and in return for a rather anaemic level of performance, buyers enjoyed a small improvement in fuel consumption. The car, known as the Aronde Deluxe Six, was aggressively priced at 598,000 Francs which enabled it to compete with the popular Renault Dauphine for which listed prices started at 594,500 Francs.

The “old” Aronde body was also available with the 1290cc (7CV) unit fitted in the new Aronde P60s, and in this form the car was known as the Aronde Super Deluxe.

A year later the entry level Arondes acquired the P60 body that the other models had received in 1958, and the 1960 cars exhibited at the Paris Motor Show in October 1959 combined the newer bodies with the engines and the reduced specifications of the previous year’s entry level models. The price had crept up too, with the entry level Aronde Deluxe Six now listed at 6,050 New Francs for a basic saloon, while the basic Renault Dauphine was still listed at less than 6,000 New Francs. The changes for the 1960 model year also involved more names, and the three low end Aronde models were now named as follows:

  • Simca Aronde P60 Deluxe six: 4-door berline (sedan/saloon) 1090cc (6CV) 40 hp (30 kW)
  • Simca Aronde P60 Étoile six: 4-door berline (sedan/saloon) 1090cc (6CV) 40 hp (30 kW) (featuring more sophisticated rear suspension)
  • Simca Aronde P60 Étoile sept: 4-door berline (sedan/saloon) 1290cc (7CV) 48 hp (36 kW)

After this the old Aronde body was restricted to a single model, the Simca Deluxe sept also known as the “Aronde Outremer” since it was intended for sale overseas, chiefly in Algeria, at that time blighted by an increasingly bitter war for independence.

Engines

A new engine, the Rush 1290 cc unit, with the same cylinder dimensions as before, but now incorporating a five-bearing crankshaft, was fitted to the Arondes beginning from October 1960. A wide range of power outputs for the new engine was offered according to model, ranging initially from 48 hp (36 kW) to 57 hp (43 kW). During this period higher octane fuels were becoming the norm at filling stations across France, and some of the changed power outputs correlated with changed compression ratios. The situation is further complicated by changes to the basis for computing power output in France (and elsewhere in Europe) at the end of the 1950s.

A 70 hp (52 kW) version of the engine, called Rush Super, debuted in September 1961 in two models – the Montlhéry Spéciale saloon and Monaco Spéciale hardtop coupé.

Australian production

Simca P60 Aronde Station Wagon was developed by Chrysler Australia

The Simca P60 Aronde Station Wagon was developed by Chrysler Australia

The 90A Aronde was produced in Australia from 1956 by Northern Star Engineering which, along with Continental and General Distributors, had been contracted to assemble the model from CKD kits, using local content. In July 1959, Chrysler Australia announced that future production of the Aronde would be undertaken at its factories in Adelaide. In late 1959 the P60 was introduced, selling alongside the 90A well into 1960, and a five-door P60 station wagon was introduced in late 1961. The wagon, which was unique to Australia, was based on the four-door sedan and featured an extended roof-line and a tail-gate fitted with a wind-down window. Australian production of the Aronde ceased in 1964.

Simca Sport

Simca Sport
1960-62 Simca Aronde Plein Ciel

Simca Sport Plein Ciel
Overview
Manufacturer Simca
Production 1950–1962
Assembly Nanterre, France
Body and chassis
Body style 2-seater sports coupe
2-seater sports cabriolet
Powertrain
Engine Till 1955:
1221 cc (7CV) ohv I4 50 hp (37 kW)
From 1956:
1290 cc (7CV) ohv I4 57 hp (43 kW)
later increased to 60 hp (45 kW), then 70 hp (52 kW)
Transmission 4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,440 mm (96.1 in)

The Simca Sport was a two seater sports car. It originated as a coupé version of the Simca 8, but with the arrival of the Aronde the Simca Sport acquired a new grill in October 1951, and six months later it gained an extra 20 mm (0.8 in) of wheelbase, from 1952 sharing its 2,440 mm (96.1 in) wheelbase with the Aronde as well as its (at this stage) 1221cc (7CV) engine. The Simca Sport would continue to share its engine and other technical components, as well as its wheelbase, with the Aronde until its withdrawal in 1962.

It became increasingly expensive and correspondingly rare. Although its origins predated those of the Simca Aronde, the Simca Sport is now usually presented as a low volume stylishly rebodied version of the Aronde.

The arrival of the 2,440 mm (96.1 in) wheelbase in 1952 coincided with the loss of a separate chassis, and from now on the Sport used an elegant monocoque body. The new monocoque bodied car was offered only as a two-seater hardtop coupé, there being for the time being no replacement for the former Simca Sport cabriolet. In October 1952 a cabriolet version of the now chassisless Simca Sport was exhibited, but the cabriolet version only entered production more than two years later in the Spring of 1955, presumably reflecting the challenges involved achieving sufficient structural rigidity in a slim and shapely cabriolet body, without incurring an excessive weight penalty.

Simca Sport: More names and other changes for 1957

1959 The Flash Spécial engine in a 1959 Aronde Océane, with 57 hp

The “Flash Spécial” engine in a 1959 Aronde Océane, with 57 hp

A new generation of the Simca Sport was launched at the 1956 Paris Motor Show. There was, as before, a choice between a two seater sports cabriolet and a two seater sports hardtop. The bodies came from Facel. The cost of organising and producing a coachbuilt body was reflected in the price of the Sport, which at the 1957 Motor show was listed as 1,079,000 francs for the fixed roof “Plein Ciel” version: this compared with a starting price of 595,000 Francs for the Simca Aronde with which the Sport shared its engine and other mechanical elements. Mechanically and visually the new cars were not so different from those they replaced, but they were readily differentiated by their fashionable wrap-around “panoramic” windscreens.

1960 Simca Sport Océane.This open topped version was badged as the Simca Sport Océane.

The two versions of the Simca Sport now received extra names, which was in keeping with the manufacturer’s marketing strategy at the time. The Cabriolet version, from which on a sunny day the driver could enjoy an unimpeded view of the sky, was now branded as the Simca Sport Océane while, bizarrely, the fixed roof version was branded as the Simca Sport Plein Ciel (Simca Sport Open Sky). Although precluded by their prices from becoming big sellers, the eye catching sports models served the company well, adding glamour to Simca show rooms and exhibition stands.

The final years of the Simca Sport

When the Aronde received a reworked body in 1958 there was no corresponding update for the Simca Sport which changed very little after 1957. Under the bonnet/hood, however, the Sport benefited from the upgraded version of the 1290cc “Rush” engine, shared with the newly announced Simca Aronde P60 Montlhéry Spéciale introduced for both models at the Motor show in October 1961. The uprated engine featured a further increase in compression ratio, now set at 8.5:1, and an increase in power to 70 hp (52 kW). The result was a small gain in performance and a useful improvement in flexibility.

At the end of the 1950s prototype replacements for the Simca Sport were developed and four cars were built, but the project did not progress to production. In 1961 the Sport was still priced at nearly twice the level of the entry level Aronde, and in 1961 production of the car ended without replacement.

Simca Ariane

Simca Ariane
1952 Simca Ariana1952 Simca Ariana
Overview
Manufacturer Simca
Production 1957–1963
Body and chassis
Class Large family car
Body style 4-door saloon
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Vedette
Simca Vedette
Simca / Chrysler Esplanada
Powertrain
Engine 1.3 L Flash I4
(1957 – 1963)
2.4 L Aquillon V8
(1958 – 1961)
Transmission 4-speed manual. Synchromesh on top 3 ratios
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,690 mm (105.9 in)
Length 4,500 mm (177.2 in)
Width 1,750 mm (68.9 in)
Height 1,480 mm (58.3 in)

The Simca Ariane was a large saloon car launched in April 1957 by the French automaker Simca. It was manufactured in the company’s factory at Poissy until 1963.

Origins

The plant at Poissy had been built by Ford France between 1937 and 1940, but after the war the economic direction of France was uncertain. Ford had equipped the plant to produce the V8 engined Ford Vedette but the government was imposing punitive levels of car tax on cars with large engines and sales fell well short of expectations. In addition, the Poissy plant experienced above average levels of industrial unrest. Simca purchased the plant from Ford in 1954, together with rights to build the latest version of the car produced in it, which now became the Simca Vedette, relaunched by Simca with different model names according to equipment levels.

Simca Ariane, Schaffen Diest Fly-Drive 2013Simca Ariane

The Simca Vedette competed in France’s large car market at a time when the economy was finally returning to growth, and enjoyed moderate success with their fashionably American style finished off by an Italian designer called Rapi. In 1954 the big Simcas competed in France against the Citroën Traction which was still popular despite its twenty year old design and the Renault Frégate which struggled to find buyers thanks to a poor mechanical reputation and, it was suggested, from the reluctance of France’s haute-bourgeoisie to buy a big expensive car from a state owned enterprise.

The Suez Crisis of October 1956 was a catalyst that undermined the position of the V8 Simcas, however, due to the fuel shortages and price increases that it triggered. By this time domestic competition was in any case much intensified by the arrival of the Citroen DS which, despite getting off to a slow start, and despite being stuck with an engine design that had changed little since the 1930s, now became increasingly dominant in France’s market for large family cars.

It was often asserted that the Simca Ariane’s launch was a direct result of the Suez Crisis, but it is now clear that by 1956 Simca’s project for a big car with a little engine (“une grande voiture à petit moteur”) had already existed for several years. The urgency of the project was increased in the summer of 1956 when the Simca chief learned of a dastardly plan by Paul Ramadier, the Minister for Economy and Finance, and a still influential former prime minister, to introduce in December 1956 an additional savage annual car tax for owners of cars with larger engines. The Suez crisis simply built on the economic case for a small engined version of the car, and Simca was therefore ready to respond very nimbly to the changed circumstances created by the crisis, fitting a 1290cc “Flash” series engine from their successful small family car, the Aronde, into the most basic version of their V8 engined Simca Trianon, which was one of the models in the Vedette range. The new car was badged as the “Simca Ariane” and was soon available in several versions.

The car

Fitting the body of the former first-generation Simca Vedette with a 1290cc (7CV) Flash four cylinder engine from the much smaller Simca Aronde produced a car that focused on economy rather than speedy acceleration. Presented in April 1957, the Ariane filled the gap between Aronde and Vedette. In October of the same year, the Ariane 8 was presented – a version powered by the same Aquillon 2351 cc (13CV) V-eight-cylinder unit that powered the Vedette. The Ariane 8 effectively replaced the former Simca Trianon, which was a bottom-of-the-range Vedette, as the Vedette range was moved upmarket. The Ariane 8 would be discontinued along with the company’s other V8 powered models in 1961, however.

For the 1959 model year the company introduced an Ariane Super Luxe with increased levels of chrome trim on the outside as well as vanity mirrors on the inside and a windscreen washer to help the view out. All the Arianes also received restyled tail light clusters at this point which resembled those already used on the more flamboyantly styled but broadly similar Vedette models. Further upgrades to the interior trim were implemented for 1961, and newly available options included bench seats that could now be folded flat to form a double bed of sorts. There followed yet another new name: for the final two years of its life the Ariane was branded as the Simca Miramas.

Commercial

The Ariane was manufactured until 1963, with 166,363 produced. Towards the end, production slowed strikingly. 33,733 Arianes were produced in 1961, which slumped to just 14,284 during 1962. By this time attention at the company’s Poissy plant had switched to the new Simca 1000. The most direct replacement for the Simca Ariane/Miramas would be the Simca 1300/1500, introduced in 1963.

Argentina

The Ariane Miramas, were made in Argentina by Metalmecánica. Approx. 507 units built until 1967 in two versions: “Std” and “Lujo”.

Simca Ariane, rear view. The increased height of the fins incorporating the tail-light clusters identify this example as a car produced during or after 1959.Simca Ariane, rear view. The increased height of the fins incorporating the tail-light clusters identify this example as a car produced during or after 1959.

External links

Ariane history at RitzSite

Simc@riane

Simca Vedette

Simca Vedette

Simca Vedette
1961 Simca Vedette Chambord
Overview
Manufacturer Simca
Also called Ford Vedette
Production 1954–1961
Assembly Poissy, France
Brazil
Adelaide, Australia
Body and chassis
Class Large car
Body style 4-door saloon
5-door estate
2-door convertible
4-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Vedette
Simca Ariane
Simca Esplanada
Powertrain
Engine 2.4 L Aquillon V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
Rush-Matic automatic

The Simca Vedette is a large car, manufactured from 1954 to 1961 by the French automaker Simca, at their factory in Poissy, France. It was marketed with different model names according to trim and equipment levels. The Vedette was Simca’s largest model at that time and it spawned a more economical version, the Simca Ariane.

Simca acquired the Poissy factory from Ford France (Ford Société Anonyme Française, the French subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company), along with the model line, in 1954. The Vedette was therefore initially still marketed as the Ford Vedette.

The Vedette was manufactured in Poissy until 1961 and the Ariane until 1963. After that, production continued in Brazil, where the Vedette finally evolved into the Simca Esplanada, following Simca’s takeover by Chrysler.

Origins and launch

In the early 1950s, Henri Théodore Pigozzi was looking to expand the manufacturing operations of his Simca company, which was enjoying much success at the time, thanks to the popular Aronde. At the same time, Ford was seeking to divest itself of its French subsidiary, Ford SAF, which had a factory in Poissy, close to Paris, where it had been manufacturing a large car called the Ford Vedette. The Poissy plant was large and there was capacity for further expansion. The Vedette was a larger car than anything that Simca had on offer at that time. These points attracted Pigozzi, who decided to take over the entire factory, along with the rights to the cars manufactured there.

The cars appeared at the Paris Motor Show in October 1954 on the Ford France stand, but there was no mention of the Ford name on the covers of the brochures offered to potential customers. The name “Ford” appeared just once, in very small print, on the final page, presumably in order to avoid confusing customers who would be expected to call the cars “Simcas” from 1 December 1954, the date set for the formal hand-over of the business. In export markets the name change was less immediate, and even in adjacent Belgium, in January 1955 at the Brussels Motor Show the cars were still appearing on the stand of the Belgian Ford importer, sharing the space with models imported from Ford of Britain.

First generation

First Generation
1956 Simca Vedette
Overview
Also called Simca Trianon
Simca Versailles
Simca Régence
Simca Marly
Production 1954–1957
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,690 mm (105.9 in)
Length 4,520 mm (178.0 in)
Width 1,750 mm (68.9 in)
Height 1,480 mm (58.3 in)
Curb weight 1,150 kg (2,540 lb)

The acquisition by Pigozzi took place in July 1954, just when Ford was poised to launch its new, modern Vedette, with a four-door saloonbody of “American” style, much like the contemporary British Fords or Vauxhalls. The car was powered by an unusually small 2351 cc sidevalve V8 engine called Aquillon in France, derived from Ford’s Flathead engine family, the dimensions of which put the car into the “13 CV” French tax class. Equipped with a two-barrel Zenith-Stromberg 32NX carburetor, it produced 75 to 84 hp (56 to 63 kW). Power was transferred to the rear live axle through a three-speed manual transmission with column shift. The Vedette had independent front suspension (by MacPherson struts) and drum brakes on all four wheels.

As with the Aronde, Simca marketed different trim levels of the Vedette under different model names, this time with references to the grand period of baroque in French history. The basic version was called the Simca Vedette Trianon, the mid-level was the Simca Vedette Versailles and, at the top of the range, the Simca Vedette Régence. An option on all versions was a large glass moonroof that slid into the roof, called Vistadome The Vedette range was still marketed under the Ford brand in some markets, including the Netherlands and Germany, until 1956. As the new model caught on, Simca was able to increase production from the 150 daily achieved during Ford’s ownership of the factory to 250 cars a day.

Pigozzi maintained a schedule of year-to-year model revisions, much like US manufacturers. For 1956, an estate version called the Simca Vedette Marly joined the line-up and the whole range was revised. A new license plate holder was added to the front bumper and the rear license plate now concealed the fuel tank filler. A peculiar addition was a pedal-operated windscreen washer, while other more ordinary changes included a second odometer, also known as a ‘trip meter’, for measuring partial distances. The Versailles and Régence were made even more comfortable with the addition of central armrests (Versailles in the rear only, Régence in front and rear), while the Trianon was simplified, losing bumper guards and chrome windscreen decor. In 1957, an option of the Gravina automatic clutch was added, along with better brakes and more direct steering. The Trianon regained the chrome decor around the windscreen, while the other models acquired slimmer tail lights and the front ornament was replaced with a new design. Fender-mounted V8 badges were introduced but, although the whole range featured the same V8 engine, the new badges appeared on the fenders of only the Régence and Marly.

Production figures

  • 1955 – 42,439
  • 1956 – 44,836
  • 1957 – 17,875

Second generation

Second Generation
1960 Simca vedette beaulieu a
Overview
Also called Simca Beaulieu
Simca Chambord
Simca Présidence
Simca Marly
Production 1958–1961
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,690 mm (105.9 in)
Length 4,750 mm (187.0 in)
Width 1,770 mm (69.7 in)
Height 1,480 mm (58.3 in)
Curb weight 1,260 kg (2,780 lb)

After three years in production, the Vedettes were given new names and a new, elongated body, with a more ornate front end and large tailfins, making the cars even more American-looking than before. This was part of a styling trend shown by most large European cars of that period, which were, to some extent, inspired by American styling, as tailfins appeared on Peugeots, Fiats, BMC models (Pinin Farina-styled), Fords and even Mercedes-Benz cars of that era. The engine was uprated to 84 hp (63 kW) (now called Aquillon 84) but the fiscal qualification of the car remained unchanged. Using the new body, the Versailles was replaced by Simca Vedette Beaulieu and the Régence by the Chambord, while the estate retained the Vedette Marly name.

The three-year-old body of the previous Vedette nevertheless continued in production but it lost its V8 2.4-litre engine. In April 1957, fitted with the 1.3 L Aronde engine, the old body now clothed a new model in the Simca range, the Simca Ariane. Later, in October 1957, a V8 version of the old bodied car, with the Aquillon 84 engine, and badged as the Ariane 8, joined the range, replacing the Trianon.

1959 brought a new option, the Rush-Matic automatic transmission, which featured two modes: Rush (fully automatic) and Road (manual gear selection). The same year, assembly of the Vedette started at Simca do Brasil. Also during 1959, a new top-of-the-line model joined the Vedette range, the Présidence, featuring a luxurious interior, a radiotelephone (a European first) and a continental kit. French coachbuilder Chapron built two 2-door Présidence convertibles for a governor of one of the French colonies. Chapron had another order the next year, to build two four-door convertibles for the French President Charles de Gaulle. The Beaulieu was dropped in autumn 1960, but the other models remained unchanged until the 1961 model year, when they received new seats, new chrome decor, and the engine was fitted with a new anti-vibration crankshaft.

French production of the V8-engined cars ended in the summer of 1961, by when 173,288 had been produced, although a Simca Chambord was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show in October of that year, suggesting that Simca still had some stock of the cars to clear. The small-engined 4-cylinder Ariane, of which 166,363 were produced, survived until 1963.

The model was continued for longer in Brazil, where it was marketed with the 2.4-litre V8 under a variety of names like “Tufão”, “Jangada”, and “EmiSul”. It was eventually replaced by a version with new sheetmetal, called the Simca Esplanada.

Simca Vedette MarlySimca Vedette Marly

1960 A Brazilian made Simca Chambord, used in the TV series Vigilante Rodoviário (1961-1962)A Brazilian made Simca Chambord, used in the TV series “Vigilante Rodoviário” (1961-1962)

Production figures

  • 1958 – 28,142
  • 1959 – 15,966
  • 1960 – 13,914
  • 1961 – 3,813

Australian production

Following an announcement in July 1959 that it would assemble and market Simca models in Australia, Chrysler Australia produced the Vedette Beaulieu through to 1962, using both fully imported and locally sourced components.

Simca Profissional – Predicence

Simca Profissional
Overview
Manufacturer Simca do Brasil
Production 1965–1966
Body and chassis
Class Large car
Body style 4-door saloon
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Vedette
Simca Vedette
Simca Chambord
Powertrain
Engine 2.4 L Aquillon V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,690 mm (105.9 in)
Length 4,520 mm (178.0 in)
Width 1,750 mm (68.9 in)
Height 1,480 mm (58.3 in)
Curb weight 1,150 kg (2,535 lb)
Chronology
Predecessor Simca Chambord, Simca Alvorada

The Simca Profissional was a successor to the Simca Alvorada, which was itself a stripped version of the entry level Simca Chambord. Simca do Brasil had responded reluctantly to the demand by the Brazilian government of president Juscelino Kubitscheck that every car manufacturer must offer an affordable basic version within their range. The idea was to give as many Brazilians as possible the opportunity to own a car.

1957 simca-presidence-cabriolet (france)

1957 simca-presidence-cabriolet (france)

1965 Simca Presidence

1965 Simca Presidence

New incentive, new version

In 1965, the Brazilian government created a new public financing tool through its publicly owned bank Caixa Econômica Federal that would allow Brazilians to finance their vehicle over four years with a monthly interest rate of 1%. This obviously was to attract a new range of clients and Simca do Brasil looked into how to make the Alvorada even cheaper in order to make it attractive for, for example for taxicab drivers.

1961 vigilante carlos simca 619

1961 vigilante carlos simca 619

Plastic replaces leather

The Simca Profissional appeared in 1965 with three colour options (yellow, green and cream white), no chrome (even the bumpers were painted in dark gray, no trimmings), the already very simple interior of the Alvorada was downscaled further with plastic seat covers and the door covers were dark and naked cardboard screwed onto the metal. But the Profissional was 30% cheaper than its far posher brother, the all chrome and leather Simca Chambord. The production numbers of this version apparently were never documented and, unlike the Simca Alvorada, the Simca Profissional had no distinct range of chassis numbers so that this version is mixed in with the production figures cited for the Simca Chambord.

Simca Professional

Simca Professional

Production figures

1965 – 1966 = number of units produced not documented by Simca do Brasil

Simca Jangada (Brasil)

1964 Simca-Jangada-ambulancia-funeral 4 1963 Simca jangada-63 1964 simca-Jangada-1964-01 Simca Jangada 1962 Simca Jangada Tufao 1961 Simca Jangada 1965 SIMCA JANGADA grande

Simca Esplanada (Brasil)

Simca Esplanada
Simca Esplanada.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Simca do Brasil
Production 1966–1969
Body and chassis
Class Large car
Body style 4-door saloon
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Vedette
Simca Vedette
Simca Chambord
Powertrain
Engine 2.5 L Emi-Sul V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,690 mm (105.9 in)
Length 4,520 mm (178.0 in)
Width 1,750 mm (68.9 in)
Height 1,480 mm (58.3 in)
Curb weight 1,150 kg (2,540 lb)
Chronology
Predecessor Simca Rallye / Présidence

The Esplanada was a large car designed by the Brazilian subsidiary of French automaker Simca. Launched at the 1966 motor show in São Paulo (Salão do Automóvel), it replaced the models Présidence and Rallye, and was manufactured until 1969 at the São Bernardo do Campo factory. It was a radically restyled version based on the originally Ford designed Ford Vedette (later rebadged Simca Vedette) and its successor, the Simca Présidence and Rallye.

French origin, Brazilian styling

1966 Simca Esplanada Chico Santoro1966 Simca Esplanada Chico Santoro

While technically pretty much identical to its predecessors, the Esplanada featured radically restyled front and rear ends. The interior featured reclinable leather seats and fine Jacarandá wood trimmings on dashboard and doors. The top Models 3M and 6M could easily be recognized by their vinyl top. The 140 hp (104 kW) engine now was fed by an electric fuel pump and featured a 34-Ampère alternator. A newly introduced hydraulic clutch improved gear changing and driving comfort significantly, the gearbox was upgraded with an overdrive.

The Chrysler touch

1968-69 Simca Facelifted EsplanadaFacelifted (1968-1969) Esplanada

From August 1967 on, the Simca Esplanadas featured a small badge at the rear end with the writing “fabricado pela Chrysler” (“built by Chrysler”) following the takeover by the American auto manufacturer.

Stringent quality tests dictated by the Detroit headquarters lead to improvements on 53 items on the Esplanda’s mechanical side being introduced at once, including a power reduction to 130 hp (97 kW) for the sake of higher durability. The visual was also slightly updated with new headlamps, a new grille and different chrome items and new rear end lights. In 1968, for the 1969 model year, the luxurious Regente and the sporting GTX were added to the lineup.1967 Simca Esplanada brochure

1967 Simca Esplanada brochure

The significant mechanical improvements allowed Chrysler the confidence to shock main up-market competitor Ford with a novel 2-year or 36.000 warranty. The production of the Esplanada ceased in 1969 as Chrysler decided to introduce an opponent for Ford Galaxie over market shares in Brazil with the roomier Dodge Dart from then on.

Production figures

  • 1966 –
  • 1967 –
  • 1968 –
  • 1969 –

Total Production

1967 Simca Esplanada

1967 Simca Esplanada

  • Esplanada (Basic version) – 12.040
  • Esplanada Regente – 4.778
  • Esplanada GTX – 631
  • Total production – 17.449 cars

Simca Regence (Brasil)

Simca Regente (Brazilian model)

SIMCA (Trianon, Versailles, Regence and Marly) brochure 1956 Simca Vedette Regence a 1957 Simca Vedette Régence 1954-1957 Simca Vedette Régence 1955 Simca Vedette Régence 1956 Simca Regence 1956 Simca Régence 1955 Simca Régence

Simca Tufão

Simca Tufão (Brazilian model)

1964 Simca Chambord (Tufão) 1963 Simca E Jangada Batente Do Paracho 1965 SIMCA CHAMBORD TUFAO Frente 1965 SIMCA - Tufão Simca Chambord Tufão 1964 Simca Tufão

Simca (Chrysler) Esplanada Regent GTX Brazil 1967 – 1969

Simca GTX (Brazilian model)

1968 Chrysler GTX (Simca Esplanada) 1969 Chrysler GTX (Simca Esplanada) 1969 Simca Esplanada Chrysler GTX

Simca 1000

Simca 1000
1974 Simca 1000 GL

1973 Simca 1000 GL
Overview
Manufacturer Simca
Also called Simca 900
Simca 4 CV
Simc’4
Simca 1118
Simca 1005/1006
Production 1961-1978
Assembly
Designer Mario Boano
Body and chassis
Class Small car
Body style 4-door saloon
Layout RR layout
Related Simca 1000 Coupé/1200S
Powertrain
Engine
Transmission 4-speed manual all-synchromesh
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,220 mm (87 in)
Length 3,785 mm (149.0 in)
Width 1,473 mm (58.0 in)
Height 1,335 mm (52.6 in)
Curb weight 730 kg (35% front)

The Simca 1000 is a small, rear-engined, four-door saloon which was manufactured by the French automaker Simca from 1961 to 1978.

Origins

The origins of the Simca 1000 lie not on France but in Italy. Simca’s President-director general, Henri Pigozzi, had been born in Turin and had known Fiat’s founder, Giovanni Agnelli from 1922 till Agnelli’s death in 1945: the Agnellis still controlled Fiat. Fiat would remain Simca’s dominant share holder till 1963. Pigozzi remained a regular visitor to Fiat’s vast Turin operation throughout his time at the head of Simca, and when Pigozzi visited it was as an honoured friend.

Following the launch in 1955 of the well received Fiat 600, Fiat’s development department, still headed up by the legendary designer-engineer Dante Giacosa, set about planning for its successor. The replacement foreseen would be a little larger and more powerful than the current car, reflecting growing prosperity in Italy at the time. Two projects were run in parallel: “Project 119” was for a two door successor, building on the strengths of the current model, while “Project 122” was for a more radically differentiated four door successor. The entrance to the inner sanctum of Fiat’s Development Department would have been blocked to most visitors, but Pigozzi’s privileged relationship with the Agnellis opened even these doors, and during the late 1950s he took a particular interest in the Department. It became clear that Pigozzi’s intentions to extend the Simca range further down in the small car sector aligned closely with Fiat’s own “Projects 119” and “122”, intended to build a presence upmarket from the Fiat 600. Pigozzi obtained the agreement of the Fiat directors to select one of the six different rather boxy four-door clay models and mock-ups that then comprised the output of “Project 122” to be developed into Simca’s new small car.

The styling department at Simca was headed up by Mario Revelli de Beaumont, another Italian expatriate who had transferred from General Motors in 1955 but who had been born in Rome back in 1907. Dividing his time between Fiat’s Industrial Design Centre at Turin and Simca’s Styling Centre at Poissy, Revelli de Beaumont spent the two years between 1959 and 1961 working with Fiat’s Felice Mario Boano, developing the Simca 1000 to production readiness. Although the surviving prototypes differ in detail, the basic architecture and boxy shape of the car had evidently been “right first time” and the Simca 1000 of 1961 is entirely recognizable as the model that Pigozzi had selected from Fiat’s “Project 122”. In the meantime, in Italy the Fiat 600 continued to sell strongly and there was little sense of urgency about investing to replace it. Management evidently decided that a four door replacement for the 600 would represent too big a jump from the existing car. However, in 1964 the fruits of “Project 119” became public with the launch of the Fiat 850.

The launch

The “Simca Mille” (as the car is called in French) was inexpensive and, at the time of launch, quite modern, with a brand-new inline-fourwater-cooled “Poissy engine” of (at this stage) 944 cc. Production began on 27 July 1961, with the official unveiling taking place in the context of a high profile publicity campaign at the Paris Motor Show on 10 October 1961. At the launch Pigozzi, for obvious reasons, placed great stress on the extent to which the new car marked a landmark achievement for an increasingly independent Simca, and the company’s new Development Department at Poissy, while omitting to mention that the Simca 1000 was the product of close collaboration with the company’s majority shareholder, Fiat.

Initially, cars could be ordered in one of three colours (red/rouge tison, egg-shell blue/bleu pervenche or off-white/gris-princesse). However, the show stand featured two additional body colours and the range of colours available to customers was soon expanded. The company’s marketing strategy was characteristically imaginative, and having acquired a Paris taxi business in 1958, in November 1961 Simca replaced 50 of that company’s Simca Ariane based taxis with 50 much smaller (but evidently spacious enough for the relatively short journeys normally undertaken by taxi) Simca 1000s: thus the stylish little car, often with iconic Paris landmarks in the background, quickly became a familiar sight on the capital’s roads. Pictures of Simca 1000s working as Paris taxis turned up in the press. It was nevertheless made clear that this was not a permanent change and after a few months the red and black Simca 1000 taxis were removed from circulation and replaced with more conventionally sized taxis.

The car

Use of the RR layout was a first for Simca, although leading auto-makers in France and Germany had been applying it to mainstream small cars for more than a decade.[5] In addition to the rear engine, the fuel tank of the Simca 1000 was located in the rear, behind the rear passenger seat. This gave the car a 35/65 front/rear weight distribution, with an extremely light and nimble front end and a responsive oversteer on curvy roads.

The interior was considered “surprisingly” spacious for this class of car, with plenty of space for four, although the luggage locker under the front hood/bonnet offered only limited space: unlike the similarly configured competitor Renault Dauphine and Renault 8 (and Simca’s own prototypes for the Simca 1000) which stowed their spare wheels flat underneath the front luggage locker, the Simca 1000 had its spare wheel stowed vertically in the front luggage compartment, just behind the front bumper. The driver enjoyed an excellent view out: the speedometer pod and minor controls positioned ahead of the driver were basic, although the manufacturer stressed that the glass covering the speedometer was angled to minimize reflections.

Evolution

Over the course of time, the 1000 (whose name was pronounced “mille” in French) was available in a number of versions featuring different equipment levels and variations of the original Type 315 engine. In 1963 the poverty spec Simca 900 arrived; in spite of the name change it also had the 944 cc engine with 36 PS (26 kW), but the 1000 now gained three more horsepower. In 1966 only the 900C was available, equipped with the more powerful iteration of the 315. In late 1968 the low cost Simca 4 CV (marketed in France as the Simc’4) appeared, powered by a 777 cc unit providing 31 PS (23 kW) (DIN), and very competitively priced. Power was later increased somewhat, to 33 PS (24 kW). The 1000 engine was updated simultaneously, it was now called the type 349. At the top end of the range, the 1118 cc unit from the larger Simca 1100 was added for the 1969 model year (the Simca 1000 was marketed in the USA as Simca 1118). Finally, the 1294 cc “Poissy engine”, used in the bigger 1300, found its way into the little 1000 in the early 1970s.

Apart from the standard manual transmission, some versions could be fitted with a three-speed semiautomatic developed by Ferodo. The car underwent a light facelift first shown at the 1968 Paris Motor Show (for the 1969 model year): new hubcaps, redesigned bumpers, bigger headlamps, and square taillights.

The high-specification versions were offered in the British market with a walnut dashboard decor. In 1977, the model was revised for the last time, gaining the new names of 1005/1006(depending on the specifications), to put it in line with the newer Simca 1307 and its derivatives. Production stopped in 1978 without a direct replacement.

Spain

1966-1968 Simca 1000 by Barreiros1966-1968 Simca 1000 by Barreiros

In Spain, the Simca 1000 was built by Barreiros Diesel from late 1965. In 1970 this company changed names to “Chrysler España, S. A.”; early cars feature a chrome “Barreiros” script. The low-specification 844 cc version was sold in Spain only, a market where cars with engines of less than 850 cc received a sizable tax break, as the Simca 900. These originally had 38 PS (28 kW). After a hiatus, the 900 returned in 1970 and was then updated in the form of the twin-carb 900 Special of 1973; this model has 43 PS (32 kW).

A special Spanish-market model introduced in April 1970 was the 61 PS (45 kW) DIN 1000 GT, which had a milder version of the 1204 cc engine as found in the 1200 Coupé. This engine also powered the more luxurious 1000 Special (from 1972). In the spring of 1971 this received twin carburators and became the “1000 Rallye GT”, with power increased to 74 PS (54 kW) SAE. It had twin black stripes at the very rear and other sporting equipment. This version was discontinued in 1972, essentially being replaced by the 1000 Special. The more powerful French-built Simca 1000 Rallye models were not available in the Spanish market, but in February 1976 the Spanish-built Simca 1000 Rallye appeared. This has a single carburated version of the 1294 cc engine with 63 PS (46 kW), making it considerably less powerful than its French contemporaries. It also did not benefit from disc brakes all around. Its appearance was similar to the French built Rallye 2, with lots of black stripes and a black front bonnet. As with the rest of the 1000 range, the Spanish Rallye received a facelift with large, rectangular headlamps in September 1976.

Spanish production ended in May 1977. Spanish-built CKD kits were also shipped to Colombia, where Chrysler Colmotores built the car from 1969 until 1977. The 1000 also served as a taxi in Colombia.

Commercial

The Simca 1000 became a popular car in France, and to some extent also in export markets. During 1962, its first full year of production, the manufacturer produced 154,282. The achievement was the more impressive because Simca and its dealers had no recent experience of selling small cars, so apart from first time buyers and customers trading down, all the little car’s buyers had to be lured away from competitor manufacturers. As a comparison, France’s top seller for 1962 in this class was the Renault Dauphine which had been able to build on more than a decade of class leading sales by the Renault 4CV. Renault produced (including the sporty Ondine versions) 266,767 Dauphine’s in 1962. The other major competitor in this segment was Citroën whose Ami model managed 85,358 units in 1962 which for the Ami, as for the little Simca, was the first full year of production. Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s the Simca 1000 would continue to appear well up the rankings in the French sales charts, with annual sales remaining above 100,000 without a break until 1974. In its 17 years of production, almost 2 million were sold.

1963 Simca 10001963 Simca 1000

1963 Simca 1000 - rear view

1963 Simca 1000 – rear view

1963 Simca 1000 - interior1963-simca-1000-interior

Abarth-Simca 1150 SSabarth-simca-1150-ss

The Simca-Abarth (1964-66) and Simca 1000 Rallye

Simca 1000 Rallye 2Simca 1000 Rallye 2

In the model’s early years, the Italian tuner Abarth was offering modified versions of the 1000, and later Simca itself began offering a “Rallye” version, which helped boost the model’s popularity in the motorsport community. The Rallye was followed by the Rallye 1, the Rallye 2 and the Rallye 3.

  • Simca-Abarth 1150 – 1137 cc – 55 PS (40 kW; 54 hp) at 5600 rpm – disk brakes – 11000 F
  • Simca-Abarth 1150 S – 1137 cc – 58 PS (43 kW; 57 hp) at 5600 rpm – disk brakes
  • Simca-Abarth 1150 SS – 1137 cc – 65 PS (48 kW; 64 hp) at 5600 rpm – disk brakes – Option : six speed gear box

The swan song of the Simca 1000 in this series was the Simca 1000 Rallye 3, with a 103 hp (77 kW) engine. Only 1000 were produced during the last year of production of the Simca 1000, 1978.

Simca 1000 Coupé

Simca Coupé 1000
Simca 1200S
Simca 1200S

Simca 1200 S
Overview
Manufacturer Simca and Bertone
Production 1962-1971
Assembly Poissy, France and Turin, Italy
Designer Giorgetto Giugiaro while with Studio Bertone
Body and chassis
Class Compact Coupé
Body style 2-door Coupé
Layout RR layout
Related Simca 1000
Powertrain
Engine 944 cc Type 315 ohv I4
1204 cc Type 315 ohv I4
Transmission 4-speed manual all-synchromesh
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,220 mm (87 in)
Length 3,925 mm (154.5 in)
3,990 mm (157 in)
Width 1,525 mm (60.0 in)
1,530 mm (60 in)
Height 1,255 mm (49.4 in)
1,270 mm (50 in)
Curb weight 795 kg (1000 Coupé)
890 kg (1200 S)

The Simca Coupé 1000 and its successor, the Simca 1200S are small, rear-engined two-door coupés (described by one well informed commentator as “Pseudo-sportives”) which were produced by Simca between 1962 and 1971. Simca also provided the engine and the mechanical underpinnings while the small elegant bodies were built in Turin by Bertone before being transferred for final assembly to Simca’s Poissy plant on specially configured trains.

The change of name in 1967 marked a major upgrade that included the installation of a more powerful engine and styling adjustments enforced by moving the radiator from the rear to the front of the car. This improved weight distribution, but the engine itself remained at the back.

Origins and launch

The Simca 1000 saloon was launched in France in October 1961 and was an instant success with French buyers, but the response in export markets was much more muted. The new management at Simca were keen to raise the profile of their new car internationally. Mindful of the precedent set by Renault with their (initially Frua bodied) Renault Floride, Simca turned initially to Facel to discuss a joint project with Facel produicing the bodies, but in the judgement of Henri Pigozzi, Simca’s aging but still unusually “hands on” boss, Facel’s proposal lacked the necessary style and was considered unrealistic: there were also concerns that Facel’s parlous financial position might impact the project adversely. Simca then turned to Bertone and commissioned a coupe version of their new car. Bertone gave the job to a recently recruited young designer called Giorgetto Giugiaro and the car, having already been heavily trailed, was formally launched at the Geneva Motor Show early in 1962, though official French homologation for production only took place in November 1962: customer deliveries began in 1963. The style of the car was widely admired, but the cost of the Bertone built body made it difficult for the car to compete on price alone, while use of the standard 944 cc engine block from the Simca 1000 meant that performance was unlikely to live up to its racey styling. From the start Simca presented the Coupé 1000 as a separate model.

The car

1966 Simca 1000 Coupé1966 Simca 1000 Coupé

Despite sharing its chassis and mechanical elements with the boxy Simca 1000 saloon, the Coupé was able to offer superior road holding and performance because its centre of gravity was lower and its shape more aerodynamic.

Between the car’s appearance at the Swiss motor show in March 1962 and customer deliveries, the front side lights moved from a position beside the headlights, integrated into the front wings, to a location directly above the front bumper. It is not clear whether this was a response to regulatory requirements or simply a change driven by production-cost considerations.

On the inside the interior fittings contrasted with the stark interior of the Simca 1000 saloon, and the generous display of gauges and switches on the dashboard was also a world away from the aggressively plain view from the driver’s seat through the steering wheel on the four-door car.

In its original form the Simca was thought in the 1960s to resembled the cheaper Fiat 850 Coupé, although that car was launched only in 1965. In the French market, where the great majority of the cars would be sold, the Simca Coupé 1000 was pitched squarely against the Renault Floride.

The water-cooled 4-cylinder 944 cc engine shared its dimensions and basic lay-out with the engine fitted in the saloon, but from the start the Coupé engine featured a higher compression ratio and provided a maximum 52 hp of claimed output (as against 45 hp in the saloon). A maximum speed of 140 km/h (87 mph) was listed (as against 125 km/h (78 mph) for the saloon). Stopping power was also better on the Coupé which, unusually at this time, featured disc brakes on all four wheels.

During the early years the car experienced modest success on the French market, especially among young affluent buyers. Between the 1962 launch and the 1967 upgrade approximately 10,600 were produced.

Upgrade

By 1962 Simca’s midrange cars had been replaced and in 1967 the focus of the manufacturer’s volume cars switched to the new Simca 1100. The Simca brand image was becoming increasingly starchy and the “sheep in wolf’s clothing” image of the Simca Coupe 1000 did little to improve it.

Bertone was commissioned to upgrade the body. This was achieved by adding a pair of grills to the top of the bonnet/hood, shamelessly emulating a design theme of the Lamborghini Miura. It was also necessary to add an opening at the front for a grill, now that the radiator was moved to the front of the car. Otherwise the profile of the car was little changed.

At the back, the engine was now replaced by a four-cylinder in-line water-cooled 1204 cc unit which would later find its way into versions of the Simca 1100. The car was renamed as the Simca 1200S, and in this form, supported by two carburetors, the engine produced a maximum 82 hp of power, and permitted Simca to claim a top speed of 170 km/h (105 mph).

In 1970 a further upgrade saw the claimed power increased to 85 hp and the claimed top speed to 179 km/h (111 mph).

Commercial

The 1960s was a decade of growing prosperity in France. By the time production of the 1200S ended in 1971 approximately 25,000 of its bodies had made the train journey, mounted on their sides in two rows, on the specially configured railway wagons from Bertone’s workshops in Turin to Simca’s plant at Poissy for transformation into completed cars. (One source indicates that final assembly was subcontracted to a firm in Rotterdam during the car’s final year, due to capacity constraints at Poissy.)

The Simca 1200S was not immediately replaced, although the Matra Bagheera launched in 1973 can be seen as a belated replacement.

Simca 1100

Simca 1100
Simca-1100-TI
Overview
Manufacturer Simca
Also called
  • Talbot 1100
  • Simca 1200
  • Simca 1204
  • Talbot 1200
Production 1967–1985
Assembly
Body and chassis
Class Supermini
Body style 3-door hatchback
5-door hatchback
5-door estate
2-door coupe utility (pickup)
3-door van
2-door van (high roof)
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive
Related Matra Rancho
Simca 1204
Simca 1118
Simca VF
Powertrain
Engine
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,520 mm (99.2 in)
Length 3,937 mm (155.0 in)
Width 1,587 mm (62.5 in)
Height 1,460 mm (57.5 in)
Kerb weight 918 kg (2,024 lb)
Chronology
Successor Talbot Horizon

The Simca 1100 is a car built from 1967 to 1982 by Chrysler Europe‘s division Simca. It was replaced by the (Simca) Talbot Horizon.

History

The 1100 was the result of “Project 928”, started in 1962, finalized by engineers Philippe Grundeler and Charles Scales. The design was a result of Simca’s market research in the early 1960s, which showed the increasing popularity of front wheel drive cars that provided better utilization of space and comfort in small cars. In Spring 1962, Simca organized a 1966–67 launch of a new range of front wheel drive cars with saloons, estates cars and light commercial vehicles to be included, all fitting into France’s 6CV tax class – between the Simca Mille and Simca 1300. Both transverse and longitudinal engine placement were tested, and in 1963 the transverse-engine design was approved. The Simca 1100 was one of the first designs outside Fiat to feature a transverse engine with an end-on gearbox and unequal length driveshafts (now near-universal amongst small cars), a possible result of Fiat influence as a major shareholder.

In 1963, Chrysler took a controlling interest in Simca, approving the project in 1964, with a production target of summer 1967. The short timetable included developing a new transmission, and using a larger version of the rear engined rear wheel drive Simca Mille (Simca 1000)“Poissy engine”, displacing 1118 cc (the Mille used a 1.0 litre engine, the 1500 a 1.5 litre engine).

Introduction

Simca 1100 Break (estate)Simca 1100 Break (estate)

When first shown on Sardinia and at the Paris Auto Show in 1967, the 1100 was advanced in design, featuring a hatchback with folding rear seats, disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, an independent front (double wishbone) and rear (trailing arm) suspension using Chrysler-style torsion bars (though Chrysler itself only used them at the front), and a full range of controls. Numerous permutations were available, with a manual, automatic and semi-automatic transmission. The engine was slanted to allow for a lower bonnet; and the engine, gearbox, and suspension were carried on a subframe to allow the unibody to be relatively unstressed. In American fashion, the body was welded to the frame, not bolted. The 1100 was reportedly studied closely by Volkswagen when the latter company was designing its Volkswagen Golf, after making rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

Models

The 1100 was (along with the pricier Renault 16 & Austin Maxi), one of the first hatchback designs, with a folding rear seat and in three and five-door variations. Different equipment levels were defined by LS, GL, GLS and “Special” tags. Three- and five-door estate cars were also included in the range.

1979 Simca 1100 Special hatchbackSimca 1100 “Special” hatchback

Talbot 110 LS versionTalbot 110 LS version

Simca 1100 Fourgonnette

Simca 1100 Fourgonnette

The car was fitted with Simca Type 315 petrol OHV “Poissy engines” with 944, 1118, and 1294 cc variants, depending on year and market. A “stroked” 1118 cc engine displacing 1.2 litres was introduced in 1971 to the UK market as the Simca 1204. It was also sold in the USA in limited quantities. In 1974, the sporty TI appeared with the 1294 engine (82 PS), at the time when the car also saw a cosmetic redesign. Based on the 1100 chassis, the Matra engineering firm created a crossover derivation named Matra Rancho.

The 1100 had a four-speed manual gearbox and room for five people. There was also a three-speed semi-automatic gearbox that required manual shifting but used an electronically activated clutch. The 1100s transmission configuration was revolutionary in that it was transverse and axial with the engine giving the “engine on one side, transmission on the other” layout copied on almost all “hot hatches” and front wheel drive vehicles throughout the world ever since. In France, the 1100 was very successful, achieving best-seller status, but it was less competitive in non-European export markets. In the UK, while recognised as an innovative and capable car, its poor record of body corrosion and top end engine wear counted against it. The engine needed frequent valve clearance adjustment.

Three LCV versions with van, pick-up truck and High Top Van bodystyles were also available. In France and most European markets these were sold as the “Simca 1100 Fourgonnette”. In the UK the high-roof van was called the Simca VF2 (short for “Voiture Fourgonnette”), and was sold from December 1972. The regular low-roof van was called the VF1, while an even higher roofed version introduced for 1978 became the VF3. The pick-up model arrived in December 1975. Commercial versions lasted until the spring of 1985, three years after the 1100 passenger car models had been removed from the market. In the United Kingdom, commercial models assumed the Dodge nameplate after 1976 and were called Talbots after 1979. The commercial models were sold as ‘Simca Fixaren’ (“the fixer”) in Sweden, where they were fitted with a 66 PS (49 kW) version of the 1.3 litre engine.

In addition to the dedicated van models, there was also a two-seater commercial version of the three-door hatchback available to French customers from December 1976. This, the 50 PS (37 kW) 1100 AS (for Affaires et Societés, businesses and companies) qualified for a considerably lower tax rate.

Commercial

During the first full year of production 1968, volumes were already strong with 138,242 vehicles made. Importantly, incremental sales appeared to come mostly from competitor manufacturers, since overall Simca production surged from 251,056 cars in 1967 to 350,083 in 1968, and volumes for the slightly smaller Simca 1000 were virtually identical in each of these two years.

Production peaked in 1973, with nearly 300,000 Simca 1100s rolling off the assembly line. However, production fell rapidly through 1977, when over 142,000 1100s were made, and in 1978 (with the Chrysler Horizon launched in February 1978), just half that number (72,695) of Simca 1100s was made. Volumes dwindled to below 20,000 in 1981 which was the last year of production in France, though in Spain production continued through to 1982 of the car and 1985 for the van version.

Production

The Simca 1100 was produced in different places; in Sweden, local production was handled by Phillipsons, on the same assembly lines that made Mercedes-Benz cars, and also in Madrid (Spain) at the former Barreiros Diesel factory. Curiously, Spanish-built 1100s were marketed as the Simca 1200 and the TI version had an 85 PS (63 kW; 84 hp) 1442 cc engine.

A total of 2.2 million cars were produced. The replacement for the 1100, the C2 project, became the (Simca) Talbot Horizon, and was an enormous success in the United States, where it sold as the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon. The 1100 was also the basis for the Matra Rancho, an early crossover which had a genuine offroad appearance but was built on the front-wheel drive Simca 1100 basis.

Range
  • 944 cc – 45 PS (33 kW)
  • 1118 cc – 50/52/60 PS (37/38/44 kW)
  • 1204 cc – 59 PS (43 kW)
  • 1294 cc – 62/75 PS (46/55 kW)
  • 1442 cc – 83 PS (61 kW) (Spanish market “Simca 1200” only)

Simca 1300/1500

Simca 1300/1500
1964 Simca 1500 saloon, black, interior in red fake leather First registered 1964
Overview
Manufacturer Simca
Also called Simca 1301/1501
Production 1963–1975
Body and chassis
Class Large family car
Body style 4-door saloon
5-door estate
Layout FR layout
Powertrain
Engine 1.3 L Rush ohv I4
1.5 L ohv I4
Dimensions
Wheelbase 99 in (2,500 mm)
Length 175.5 in (4,460 mm)
1301 / 1501 saloon
169.5 in (4,310 mm)
1301 / 1501 estate
Width 62 in (1,600 mm)
Height 55 in (1,400 mm) unladen
Chronology
Predecessor Simca Aronde
Successor Simca 1307

Simca 1300 and Simca 1500 were large family cars manufactured by the French automaker Simca in its Poissy factory from 1963 to 1966, and between 1966 and 1975 in revamped versions, as Simca 1301 and Simca 1501.

They were essentially versions of the same car, fitted with either a 1.3 L or 1.5 L engine, hence the model names. Apart from different engines and differences in standard equipment, the models were for the most part identical, bar some styling details such as grille orbumpers. This model series replaced the popular, long-running Simca Aronde and was initially available only with a 4-door saloon body, but in 1964 the 1500 gained an estate version (1300 estate followed in 1965).

The estate versions had some interesting features. All had split tailgates – the rear windscreen would wind down into the bottom part, which could then be folded down. On the one hand, this allowed the access to the cargo compartment without opening the full tailgate. On the other, this meant that a rear window heater could never be installed in estates. Additionally, the 1500 GL version’s cargo floor, which doubled as the cover for the spare wheel (stowed flat), could be removed and, thanks to four folding legs, converted into a picnic table! A 1500Familial version had two child seats (facing each other) in the cargo compartment, and a luggage rack on the roof.

In September 1966 Simca presented the revised range, now bearing the 1301/1501 names. The saloons featured a new, extended front end, and a significantly stretched rear, which resulted in a larger boot and a more stately profile. The estates, while also receiving the new front end, retained their previous rear design. All models were also given new interiors. In 1969 and 1970 respectively, Simca presented the more “sporty” Special versions of the 1501 and 1301. The range continued to be produced until 1975, when Simca unveiled a replacement, the Simca 1307, which went on to become the 1976 European Car of the Year.

While being quite popular, especially in France and Germany, those Simcas can be remembered for some quirks regarding both series. The 1300/1500 came with column shift for left-hand drive markets, but the right-hand drive versions were converted to floor shift. The conversion for some reason resulted in a “mirror” shift pattern, with the first and second gear being closer to the driver, and the third and fourth farther to the left.

Moreover, the 1500 GLA model, which was initially the sole in the range featuring automatic transmission, was at first available in metallic brown only. A similar situation concerned the interior carpets, which would come deep red regardless of the exterior color. On 1301/1501 models from 1970 onwards a new badging scheme was used, which employed a red paint with a propensity to fade over time, resulting in the badges (and thus the model denomination) becoming unintelligible.

1964 Simca 1500 saloon, black, interior in red fake leather First registered 1964 rear viewSimca 1500 – rear view

1964 Simca 1500 saloon, black, interior in red fake leather First registered 1964 InteriourSimca 1500 – interior

1963 Simca_1301_break_speciale_a

1963 Simca 1301 break speciale

Simca-1301-1501Simca-1301-1501

Simca 1301 Spécial

Simca 1301 Spécial

Simca 1200S

Simca 1200S Bertone

Simca 1200S Bertone

Simca 1200 S Coupé

Simca 1200 S Coupé

Chrysler 180

Chrysler 180
1973 Chrysler160
Overview
Manufacturer Chrysler Europe
Also called Chrysler 160/180/2 litre
Chrysler-Simca 1609/1610/2 litres
Talbot 1610/2 litres
Production 1970–1982
Designer Roy Axe
Curt Gwinn
Body and chassis
Class Large car
Body style 4-door saloon
Layout FR layout
Related Chrysler Centura
Powertrain
Engine
Transmission 4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,667 mm (105.0 in)
Length 4,460–4,530 mm (175.6–178.3 in)
Width 1,730 mm (68.1 in)
Height 1,430 mm (56.3 in)
Chronology
Predecessor Simca 1501
Humber Hawk
Chrysler Valiant
Successor Talbot Tagora

Interior of a Chrysler 160 fitted with manual transmission.

Interior of a Chrysler 160 fitted with manual transmission.

The Chrysler 180 was the base name for a series of large saloon cars produced by Chrysler Europe. Resulting from joining development efforts of Rootes Group and Simca, the car was produced from 1970 to 1975 in Poissy, France, and later in Chrysler’s subsidiary Barreiros’factory in Spain. The Chrysler 180 was also the base for the medium-sized model built by Chrysler Australia, the Chrysler Centura.

Depending on engine employed, the cars were marketed as Chrysler 160/180/2 litre, and since 1977 in France and rest of continental Europe as Chrysler-Simca 1609/1610/2 litres. After the takeover of Chrysler Europe by PSA Peugeot Citroën, the continental Europe models were renamed Talbot 1610/2 litres for 1979 and 1980 model years, after which the model was discontinued in Europe save for Spain, where a diesel model was sold until 1982.

The large Chrysler fared quite poorly in the principal European markets. The replacement for the car was developed by Chrysler Europe under the codename C9 and was finally launched by PSA as the even more ill-fated Talbot Tagora.

Development

Although Chrysler gradually took financial control of both Simca and Rootes Group during the 1960s, there was little effort to coordinate the operations of both automakers. Therefore, the first “common” European Chrysler car was actually a result of two separate development programmes.

Rootes Group C Car

In 1966, under the direction of Roy Axe, the Head of Design, Rootes Group team started working on what was internally named the “C Car” (in reference to the smaller “B car“, which became the Hillman Avenger), a new large car for Rootes to replace the Humber Hawk (and the imported Australian Chrysler Valiant, which served as a placeholder in Rootes’ lineup after the Hawk’s demise in 1967, without much success). In a typical Rootes fashion, the plan was to market the car under three brands – the base version as Hillman, a 2.0-litre one as Sunbeam 2000, and atop the range a Humber Hawk with a 2.5-litre engine. A further development of the C Car with a stretched platform was planned, a “D Car“, which was to replace the Humber Super Snipe.

The Rootes development programme also comprised the development of a brand-new V6 engine, with a 60° vee angle, with two versions of the abovementioned displacements of 2.0 and 2.5 litres. There were four (Series IV, presumably) Humber Hawk- and some Hillman Avenger-bodied prototypes built to test the new engine. Some other design propositions included the use of De Dion tubes for rear suspension (like in the competing Rover P6), as well as a five-speed gearbox (which would still be a rather daring proposition at that time).

Simca Projet 929

At the same time, in France, Simca was working on Projet 929, which would be Simca’s first large car since the Vedette was cancelled in 1961, and also partially replace the Simca 1501 in its role of the range-topping Simca. The car would not use a V6 engine, as the displacement-based puissance fiscale tax system in France would make the costs prohibitive, but rather four-cylinder units of more modest specifications. There were three styling propositions prepared for the new car. The 929 XA was styled by Simca’s design team, featuring angular design and rather top-heavy proportions. Bertone designed the 929 XB, which was much more rounded and somewhat reminiscent of contemporary BMWs. Finally, the929 XC was sent straight from Chrysler’s Detroit design studios, and was very American in style, somewhat resembling a smaller version what later became the Australian VE Series Chrysler Valiant.

The decision

In early 1969, Chrysler realized that there were actually two potentially competing cars being developed and called for both the British and the French proposition to be presented before the general management of Chrysler Europe. The decision was taken to go ahead with the British C Car programme, but to develop two versions for both the UK and the French part of the concern. Chrysler funded a new plant along with a development centre for the Rootes Group at the Whitley plant, Coventry, where the development was continued. Roy Axe employed former Chrysler USA designer Curt Gwinn as project designer, and the C Car took a shape very similar to an enlarged version of Hillman Avenger. Initial designs were inspired by contemporary American Chryslers, with twin headlamps and a light bar in the rear.

In 1970, however, Chrysler reviewed the programme once again and decided to trim it down to just one version, to be built in Simca’s Poissy factory in France, for all markets. The responsibility for the programme was then passed in turn to Simca (where it became known internally as “Simca 1800“), who gave the car a different front end with rectangular single front lamps, as well as stripped the interior of some features proposed by the Rootes Group team, such as genuine wood and leather and air conditioning. Much to the shock of the British engineers, the entire V6 engine programme was scrapped, even despite allegedly £31 million of the £38 million of the programme budget was already spent, and the tooling for the new engine was already being installed in the Rootes’ Humber Road factory. The car also ended up with more conventional coil sprung rear live axle and MacPherson struts in the front and a four-speed manual transmission (with an option of a three-speed automatic).

Marketing

Spanish-built Chrysler 180Spanish-built Chrysler 180

Launch

Following the renaming of Simca to “Chrysler France” and Rootes Group to “Chrysler UK” (which combined formed Chrysler Europe), the new large car was the first one to spearhead the concept of unifying the offerings from both sides of the Channel under the common brand. Thus, the vehicle was launched as Chrysler 160, 160 GT and 180. In a fashion similar to Simca models, the designations referred to the displacement of the engines employed by the given version. The 160 employed the 1632 cc unit, while the 180 came with the 1812 cc one. A bit confusingly, the 160 GT came equipped with the larger engine. The 160 has 80 PS (59 kW) while the 160 GT and 180 have 97 PS (71 kW).

The three models were introduced to the public at the 1970 Salon International d’Automobile under the slogan ” An American from Paris”. The British launch took place in 1971, with only the 180 on offer. The 2.0-litre model (marketed simply as “Chrysler 2 litre”) joined the lineup for 1973, unveiled at the Amsterdam Auto Show in 1972 for the first time. The 1981 cc unit was available solely with Chrysler’s TorqueFlite automatic transmission (which was an option on the 180 model), and the model came with a host of features that distinguished it from the lesser versions, including a full-length vinyl roof (which became an option for the 160 and 180), bumper-mounted auxiliary driving lights and a small “2L” badge adorning the C-pillar. The 160 and 180 also gained some chrome and metal trim on the outside in 1972, and since the advent of the 2.0-litre, all models featured 14-inch (rather than previous 13-inch) wheels and new hubcaps. The 160 GT was cancelled at the same time.

Press reaction

A Chrysler 180 saloon tested by the British Motor magazine in April 1971, a few months after the model’s UK launch, had a top speed of 101.0 mph (162.5 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 12.4 seconds. An overall fuel consumption of 21.7 miles per imperial gallon (13.0 L/100 km; 18.1 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car was offered at £1498 including taxes. For all three of these measurements, the car was ranked third out of five UK market competitor vehicles: competitors identified by the journal, included the Ford Cortina Mk III 2000 GXL and the Vauxhall VX 4/90. The overall tone of the road test, written at a time when new models were generally greeted with uncritical enthusiasm by UK motoring journalists, is summed up in its description of the Chrysler 180 as a “very pleasing car that only just falls short of being a luxury sporting saloon”.

Barreiros

Spanish Chrysler 180 converted to estateA Spanish Chrysler 180 converted to estate

When it became apparent that the model was far less than a market hit, Chrysler decided to move the assembly lines from the Poissy factory to the Villaverde plant of its Spanish subsidiary, Barreiros. Barreiros had been assembling many Simca and Chrysler models previously for the protected Spanish market, but for the first time it would become the sole supplier of the entire model line for all markets. The vehicle became reasonably popular in its new home market, and local coachbuilders even created estate and stretched versions of the car. The lineup remained for the most part unchanged in most markets, although the 160 was not offered in Spain, which in turn received a new diesel model, powered by the Barreiros 2.0-litre diesel engine (not offered in other European markets).

Chrysler 180 Diesel

The engine was a traditional four cylinders diesel with indirect injection. It was mated to the four-speed manual transmission and delivered 48 kilowatts (65 hp). The diesel model was fitted with the most basic 160 dashboard. An important change to the Spanish lineup was forced by the November 1977 change of the Spanish taxation system, similar to France’s puissance fiscale – a new 13 CV tax band was introduced, which attracted the very high rate of 35%, and encompassed both the petroleum and diesel 2.0-litre models. While the petroleum 2.0 Litre model was simply replaced by a 180 automatic, the diesel engine had to be modified for 1978 to avoid increased taxation. The displacement was decreased from 2007 cc to 1917 cc (without a drop in actual maximum power or speed), just below the border of the 13 CV tax band, which stood at 1920 cc.

Later model life

In 1977, the car was for the first time officially badged as Chrysler-Simca in continental Europe (the Simca badge appeared on the bootlid, while the stylized Chrysler plate continued to adorn the front end). The individual models were renamed to be in line with the newly launched Simca 1307/1308 series. While the first two digits in this model naming system stood for the base engine’s displacement (1.6 in case of the Chrysler 160), the latter two represented the French fiscal class in which the car slotted. Thus, the 1.6-powered model became the Chrysler-Simca 1609, as it fitted in the French 9 CV tax band (even though this model actually was cancelled from the French market lineup), and the 1.8, slotting one class higher, became the Chrysler-Simca 1610, and was fitted with the vinyl roof and extra driving lamps from the 2.0-litre model. However in the UK, where only the 180 was on offer, it retained its name. To add to the confusion, the 2.0-litre retained its name in all markets.

PSA takeover

In 1979, the large Chrysler saw the sale of its parent company, Chrysler Europe, to the French PSA concern, due to Chrysler’s financial difficulties. Some minor reshuffles in the range were made. The 1.8-litre engine was cancelled—in France, the 1610 got the 2.0-litre engine (which made it technically a “11 CV” car, but the name was not changed), while in Britain the 180 model was simply dropped, with the 2.0-litre now being offered with either the manual or automatic transmission to mirror the continental lineup. A minor rehash of the exterior decals also occurred. From 1 August 1979, PSA decided to rename all previous Chrysler Europe cars as Talbots (and Talbot-Simcas in case of the French models, to capitalize on the established brand), and hence the Chrysler-Simca 1609 and 1610 became the Talbot Simca 1609 and 1610, and in Britain, the car became the Talbot 2 litre. The range was sold for only one year with the new names, as for 1981 PSA presented a replacement, the brand-new Talbot Tagora. Peugeot had originally intended to replace it with the Solara, the saloon version of the Alpine, which was launched in April 1980.

The production of petrol-engine Talbot 1610 stopped at the Barreriros plant, but diesel versions continued under the Talbot badge until 1982 for the Spanish market.

Lack of market success

The Chrysler 180/2-litre probably found its best market in Spain, albeit only after production had been transferred there in the later 1970s: Spain was effectively closed off to any competitor product not assembled in Spain. The only significant locally assembled competitor here was the Seat 132.

The car was not received too well either in France or in the UK. Its mixed pedigree and exotic brand did not fit in well with the expectations of more nationalistic buyers and reviewers, and there was little that would make the car stand out among the crowd of similar cars, many of which already had an established position in the class. By 1976, with the number of cars sold in the UK not yet up to 10,000, British sales had settled down at the annual rate of about 2,000 which was seen to be below the company’s expectations, but UK sales were more impressive than those in France. In France, the sales of the Chrysler were so disappointing that the old Simca 1501 was offered again for 1974 (it remained in production sometime after the Chrysler’s launch for export markets mostly, in order to use up the remaining parts).

The German Auto Katalog remarked that the car bore resemblance to the Opel Rekord (which can perhaps be said not only of its styling, but also of almost identical dimensions and similar engine selection), yet it also pointed out that the Rekord in question was a four-year-old car at that time (and was subsequently replaced by a new model in 1971). In the British market the car’s chances against rivals, such as the successful Rover SD1, were also hampered by the lack of engines larger than the 2.0-litre, as the competitors offered six- or even eight-cylinder units, being unhampered by the French tax regulations.

Moreover, Chrysler seemed not to support the model after the launch. Advertising was scanty and updates scarce and rather limited in scope. Chrysler did not bother to fit the supposedly upmarket model with such features as power windows, central locking, ( though a then-unusual fitment was a low fuel warning lamp which would come on when a couple of gallons of fuel was left in the tank ), even though they were all available in the smaller Simca 1307, launched around the time when the 180 was in mid-life.

Chrysler Centura

1975-1977 Chrysler CenturaChrysler Centura

Main article: Chrysler Centura

A variant of the Chrysler 180 was produced in Australia from 1975 to 1978 by Chrysler Australia as the Chrysler Centura. The Centura was offered with a choice of 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines mated to a manual or automatic transmission and was fitted with a modified front radiator grille to allow more airflow to the radiator, and four round headlamps to complete the makeover. The Centura had limited market success in Australia.

Matra Bagheera

Matra Bagheera
Matra Simca Bagheera
Overview
Manufacturer Matra Automobiles
Also called Matra-Simca Bagheera, Talbot-Matra Bagheera
Production 1973–1980
Designer Antonis Volanis
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 3-door hatchback
Layout MR layout
Related Simca 1100 Ti
Powertrain
Engine 1.3 L Poissy engine ohv I4
1.5 L Poissy engine ohv I4
Transmission 4-speed manual
all-synchromesh
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,370 mm (93 in)
Length 3,974 mm (156.5 in)
Width 1,734 mm (68.3 in)
Height 1,175 mm (46.3 in)
Curb weight 965 kg (2,127 lb)
Chronology
Predecessor Matra 530
Successor Matra Murena

Matra-Simca Bagheera (model after 1976)

The Matra Bagheera is a sports car created by the French engineering group Matra in cooperation with the automaker Simca and design by Greek designer Antonis Volanis. It was marketed as Matra-Simca Bagheera to highlight the link, except for the final production year 1980, when it was re-badged Talbot-Matra Bagheera after Chrysler Europe‘s demise and subsequent takeover by PSA. Named after the panther from The Jungle Book, the Bagheera was created using stock Simca components, including the engines, gearbox and suspension elements, but unlike the Simca cars it shared them with, it was a mid-engined car (the Simcas in question, Simca 1100 and Simca 1307, were front-wheel drive).

The Bagheera’s body was made of polyester, mounted on a steel structure. It was formed in the shape of a sleek hatchback, with a rear hatch that allowed access to the engine mounted behind the passenger compartment. There was only one row of seats, but it featured an unusual combination of three abreast. The Bagheera remains one of the few three-passenger sports cars.

When launched in 1973, the Bagheera was only available with the 1.3 L straight-4 engine, belonging to Simca’s “Poissy engine”. In 1975, the range was complemented by a 1.5 L version of the same engine. In 1976, the Bagheera underwent a major restyling, with basically only the rear hatch unchanged (Bagheera type II). Another change took place in 1978, when the dashboard was replaced again, and in 1979 the Bagheera was given conventional door handles in lieu of the previous “hidden” ones (Bagheera type III). Since PSA took control of Simca in the previous year (after the demise of Chrysler Europe), all Simcas were re-badged Talbot and Matra-Simca became Talbot-Matra.

Production of the Bagheera ended in 1980, when it was replaced by Matra Murena, with 47,802 Bagheeras built in total.

The Bagheera is also notable as one of the few manufacturers in the world to have developed a “U engine” for this vehicle. As Matra engineers believed the Bagheera could use a more powerful unit, they created a unique construction out of two 1.3 L Simca straight-4 engines, joined side-by-side by a common pan unit, the two crankshafts being linked by chain. This resulted in a 2.6 L 8-cylinder unit, producing 168 bhp. However, Chrysler Europe (the parent company of Simca) was unwilling to pursue the project due to the developing fuel crises as well as its own financial problems. Thus, the U8-powered Bagheera remained as a prototype and only three units were ever built.

Early in 1974 the German Magazine Auto, Motor und Sport tested a 1294 cc Bagheera, comparing it with obvious competitors in the process. The car’s light-weight body served it well in the performance comparisons: a top speed of 186.5 km/h (116 mph) was recorded as against 176.5 km/h (110 mph) for the Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior, despite the Alfa Romeo’s claim of an extra 3 bhp. The French car also beat the Milanese on acceleration, taking 12.2 seconds to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) as against the Alfa’s 13.5 seconds. The Matra-Simca’s DM 14,198 price tag was usefully lower than the DM 14,490 listed for the Alfa Romeo, though both were undercut on price by models from mass market producers such as the 1900 cc Opel Manta SR at DM 13,990.

Very few Bagheeras remain in existence today, as they were suffering badly from quality issues (the Bagheera won the ADAC Silberne Zitrone = “Silver Lemon” award in 1975 for the poorest quality car of that moment) and extensive body rot. Though the polyester panels couldn’t rust, the underlying steel chassis had almost no protection. Matra learned from this and fully galvanized the Bagheera’s successor, Matra Murena.

Matra Rancho

Matra Rancho
1977 Matra Simca Rancho, lemon
Overview
Manufacturer Matra
Also called Matra-Simca Rancho (1977-1979)
Talbot Matra Rancho (1980-1984)
Matra-Simca and Talbot-Matra Ranch for italian market
Production 1977–1984
Designer Antonis Volanis
Body and chassis
Class Leisure activity vehicle
Body style 3-door estate
Layout FF layout
Related Simca 1100
Powertrain
Engine 1.4 L Type 315 ohv I4
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,520 mm (99 in)
Length 4,315 mm (169.9 in)
Width 1,665 mm (65.6 in)
Height 1,735 mm (68.3 in)
Curb weight 1,130 kg (2,490 lb)

The Rancho's optional third row of seats (making it an early MPV) shared head restraints with the normal rear seats

The Rancho’s optional third row of seats (making it an early MPV) shared head restraints with the normal rear seats

The Matra Rancho is a leisure activity vehicle created by the French engineering group Matra, in cooperation with the automaker Simca, to capitalize on the off-road trend started by the Range Rover. The Rancho provided an “off-road look” at a lower price.

The Rancho was launched in 1977, and became a popular model, but this did not alleviate larger problems at Chrysler Europe (Simca’s parent company). Chrysler finally sold its European arm to PSA in 1978, which was then rebranded as Talbot in 1979. The Matra-Simca Rancho became the Talbot Matra Rancho and production continued until 1984 (although it remained on sale up to January 1985), reaching 57,792 cars in total.

Designed by Antonis Volanis, the Rancho was based on the pick-up version of Simca’s popular supermini, the Simca 1100, using its front structure and a stretched chassis. The rest of the body was made by Matra from fibreglass and polyester, including the mouldings adorning the body, which made it look more “sturdy”. This technology would later be used on the Renault Espace, Europe’s first MPV, which was manufactured by Matra. The ground clearance was also increased. Unlike most off-roaders, it was not fitted with all-wheel drive, retaining the 1100s front-wheel drive layout. Other elements retained from the 1100 included the dashboard and front seats (identical with the ones found in the Simca 1100 GLS). The Rancho was powered by the 1442 cc, 80 bhp version of the “Poissy engine” straight-4 engine.

During its life, the Rancho was offered in several versions. Apart from the basic Rancho, there was the Grand Raid, fitted with such “off-road” extras as an electric winch on the front bumper and the spare wheel mounted on the roof – as well as a limited-slip differential. TheRancho X was the upscale model, with additional standard items such as alloy wheels and metallic paint. The Découvrable model’s rear cabin consisted of an open frame with roll-down fabric covers, which could serve as an “open” car during good weather. Finally, the Rancho AS was the commercial version, with no rear seat, making it exempt from the French tax on passenger cars.

The Rancho spawned an unlikely successor: the Renault Espace. Matra wanted to replace the Rancho with their prototype of the Espace known as the “dessin orange”, which translates to “the orange drawing” in English – both the prototype and the background it was drawn on were orange. It predicted the basic shape of the first Espace but only had three doors instead of five. Peugeot (who controlled Matra at the time) deemed the project too expensive and not promising enough. Determined to take its design to production Matra knocked on Renault’s door and they quickly adopted the project, one that upon its launch in 1984 arguably became the first European minivan.

Simca 1307

Simca 1307
1978 Simca 1307 GLS

Simca 1307 GLS
Overview
Manufacturer Chrysler Europe / PSA
Production 1975-1986
Assembly Poissy, France
Ryton-on-Dunsmore, United Kingdom
Madrid, Spain
Designer Roy Axe
Body and chassis
Class Large family car
Layout FF layout
Related Simca 1100
Simca Horizon
Powertrain
Engine 1057 1294, 1442 1592  cc ohvstraight-4
Transmission 4 speed manual all-synchromesh 5-speed manual

Automatic

Dimensions
Wheelbase 102.5 in (2,604 mm)
Length 167 in (4,242 mm)
Width 66 in (1,676 mm)
Curb weight 2,314 lb (1,050 kg)
Chronology
Predecessor Simca 1301 / 1501
Simca 1307
Simca 1308GT in Lenzerheide

Simca 1308GT
Overview
Also called Simca 1308 / 1309
Chrysler Alpine
Chrysler 150
Production 1975–80
Body and chassis
Body style 5-door hatchback
Chronology
Successor Talbot 1510
Simca-Talbot 1510
Talbot 1510, Uusikaupunki model, Classic Motor Show in Lahti, Finland.
Overview
Also called Dodge Alpine (Colombia)
Production 1980–85
Body and chassis
Body style 5-door hatchback
Simca-Talbot Solara
1981 Talbot Solara

Simca-Talbot Horizon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Chrysler/Simca/Talbot Horizon
1979 Simca Chrysler Horizon GLS 1979 (Made in France) 1.5L petrol engine, painted Bronze Transvaal

Talbot Horizon
Overview
Manufacturer Chrysler Corporation
PSA Group
Also called Simca Horizon (Most of Europe: 1978-79)
Chrysler Horizon (UK: 1978-79)
Talbot Horizon (Europe: 1979-1987)Dodge Omni & Plymouth Horizon (North America: -1990) shared the silhouette but were in other respects very different
Production 1978–1990
Assembly
Body and chassis
Class Subcompact
Body style 5-door hatchback
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform L-body
Related Dodge Charger
Dodge Omni
Dodge Omni 024
Dodge Rampage
Plymouth Horizon
Plymouth Horizon TC3
Plymouth Scamp
Plymouth Turismo
Powertrain
Engine 1,118 cc Poissy I4 (gasoline)
1,294 cc Poissy I4 (gasoline)
1,442 cc Poissy I4 (gasoline)
1,905 cc I4 (diesel)
Chronology
Predecessor Simca 1100
Successor Peugeot 309

The Horizon was a subcompact automobile (or supermini) developed by Chrysler Europe and was sold in Europe between February 1978 and June 1986 under the Chrysler, Simca and Talbot nameplates. Derivative variants of the Horizon were manufactured and marketed in the United States as the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon until 1990.

Origins

The Horizon was designed by Simca, the French division of Chrysler Europe in the 1970s and introduced in summer 1978. It survived in various guises until 1990. In France it was initially sold under the Simca brand, whilst elsewhere in Europe it was initially badged as a Chrysler. As a result of the acquisition of Chrysler’s European car division by Peugeot in 1978, both the Chrysler and Simca brands were dropped and the car was then sold under the Talbot brand in all its European markets.

Talbot Horizon in profile

Talbot Horizon in profile

The Horizon, or Project C2 as it was known inside Simca during development, was intended to be a “world car”, meaning that it was designed for consumers on both sides of the Atlantic, but in execution, the European and North American versions of the vehicle actually turned out to have very little in common.

Born largely out of the need to replace the ageing Simca 1100 in France, the Horizon was essentially a shortened version of the larger Alpine model, giving the vehicle an unusually wide track for its length. Featuring “Poissy engine” of transversely mounted, Simca-designed 1.1, 1.3 and 1.5 litre OHVengines, 4-speed gearbox and torsion-bar suspension, the Horizon gained praise for its crisp styling, supple ride, and competent handling. The SX version which joined the range for the Paris Motor Show, in October 1978, attracted much interest on account of its innovative trip computer. The device took information from three sources, a clock, a “débitmètre” mounted on the fuel feed to the carburetor and a distance information from the feed for the odometer. Using these three pieces of information the “computer” was able to report current fuel consumption and average speeds as well as information on distances and times.

The Horizon was voted European Car of the Year in 1979. Initially only available in LS or GL trim, its launch saw the end of the rear-engined Simca 1000. The Simca 1100 remained in production in France till 1981 being sold for a time as a low cost alternative to the Horizon, but the two cars competed in virtually the same segment and the older car, its model range drastically reduced, saw its sales plummet. On the British market, the rear-wheel drive Avenger saloons and estates remained in production alongside it, giving British buyers a full choice of bodystyles in a market where hatchbacks still only accounted for a minority of sales.

The car was the first British-built hatchback of this size — launched two years before the Vauxhall Astra, three years before the EuropeanFord Escort Mark III and five years before the Austin Maestro. It did not officially replace any of the British Chryslers, despite being a similar size to the traditional rear-wheel drive Avenger saloon and estates which had been on sale since 1970 and did not finish production until 1981.

North American variants — Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon

Main article: Dodge Omni

The North American versions of the Horizon were known as the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon. Although they appeared to share the same external bodywork as the European Horizon (the panels were in fact not interchangeable), they were vastly different mechanically — using a larger engine (of VW, then PSA origins on the early versions, replaced by Chrysler’s own 2.2L OHC “Trenton” I-4 later) and MacPherson strut suspension at the front instead of the more complex torsion bar system found in the European version. They also featured larger reinforced aluminum bumpers to comply with stricter US safety legislation. Despite the car’s European origins, then Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca played this down, emphasizing that features such as the trip computer and electronic ignition were of American design.

1984-'85 Dodge Omni GLH1984-’85 Dodge Omni GLH

In the US, many variants were eventually produced, including three-door coupé versions (“Charger” and “TC-3 / Turismo”), econo versions (“America”, “Miser”), and powered-up versions such as the GLH, GLH Turbo, and Shelby GLH-S (turbocharged, intercooled, 174 bhp). Even a small pickup truck was based on the Horizon (“Scamp” and “Rampage”). Some of these cars had successful careers in racing venues such as Auto-X, road and endurance racing, and pro rallying.

Production life

Subsequent to the collapse of Chrysler Europe in 1978 and its sale to Peugeot, the Horizon was rebadged as a Talbot in 1979. The Horizon was initially built in the former Simca factory in France but from 1980 production expanded to the former Chrysler Europe Ryton plant, near Coventry inEngland.

In 1981, the revisited models were introduced with minor improvements. By then however, the Horizon was becoming increasingly uncompetitive next to rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf(which was actually four years older), Opel Kadett/Vauxhall Astra and the third generation Ford Escort. The unrefined ohv engines which had been carried over from the Simca 1100 were largely to blame, while body corrosion was a serious issue, at least until Series II, giving many cars a short service life.

The series two Horizon launched in July 1982 had a 5 speed gearbox, and badged series II 5 speed. The bumpers were painted black and the rear windscreen was smaller, because the parcel shelf was raised to increase the size of the boot. Some models had an electronic LED ‘econometer’ which lit up several lights around the edge of the speedometer dial, There was also an LED tachometer on top of the range models which was a row of green,yellow and red LEDs and was positioned atop the steering column.

The Horizon was then updated in 1985, with different interior trim again slight changes to instrument dials and door cards were to make the car look more modern, but along with the Fiat Ritmo/Strada, it was now the oldest mainstream family hatchback on sale in Europe, and was now faced with competition from even more new competitors.

Fewer paint colours were available and fewer models. Many of the late cars, which were built between 1985 and 1987, were painted in an un-sympathetic pale green or cream. Horizons had initially been available in more adventurous colours including orange, but many of these colours had gone out of fashion after the 1970s.

A Talbot Horizon turbo concept car was produced in 1984 with a full cream leather interior and sporty body kit, the car was designed at the Whitley design centre, Coventry. The Turbo Horizon is very different from those models once seen out on the street and is kept at Coventry Transport Museum, Coventry England.

Due to corrosion problems there are few left, Horizon is now a rare sight with possibly less than 200 surviving examples in the UK.

The main production lines of Talbot Horizon were Poissy factory in France and Ryton in England. It was also manufactured in Spain and in Finland by SaabValmet from 1979 onwards. The Finnish Talbot Horizons integrated many Saab components, especially in the interior and electrical system. The Saab-Valmet factory also made a series of 2,385 cars that ran on kerosene or turpentine.

The Horizon was produced in France and also Britain (where production had begun in the 1980s) until June 1986, and in Spain and Finland until 1987. Its successor was the Peugeot 309, a car developed in the UK and launched towards the end of 1985, originally destined to be sold as the Talbot Arizona. The end of Horizon production early in 1987 also marked the end of the Talbot badge on passenger cars. However, the North American version of the car continued to be produced until 1990.

The PSA XUD9 diesel engine of 1905 cc diesel engine was fitted to certain models of the Horizon, which was the first example of this engine available in the UK. All UK diesel Horizons were made in Spain. The Peugeot-Talbot brochure of October 1984 shows the only diesel Horizon being the LD1.9, the XUD9 engine only available in the Peugeot 305 GRD as well. The Horizon was not the first diesel in the Talbot family of cars with the Chrysler 180 in Spain being powered by diesel.

The Peugeot 309 made use some of the Horizon range of Simca based engines for most of its production life, until replaced with the more modern Peugeot TU engine in 1992.

Horizon in the UK

In Britain, it was seen as a modern alternative to the existing Rootes-designed Avenger models, offering buyers a front-wheel drive hatchback alongside the rear-wheel drive saloons and estates. The Avenger was produced alongside it until 1981, by which time the company had come under Peugeot ownership and no new models were launched to replace it, as the front-wheel drive hatchback style was becoming more popular and Peugeot already had the similar-sized 305 saloon and estates in production.

UK sales of the Horizon (which went on sale there in early 1978 and was badged as a Chrysler until 1 August 1979, when it became a Talbot) were initially quite strong, but by 1983 it was starting to lose sales in a segment dominated by an increasing number of newer models including the Ford Escort Mark III, Vauxhall Astra and Austin Metro. Foreign models like theVolkswagen Golf, Datsun Sunny and Volvo 340 were also proving popular in the early 1980s.

The last British Horizons were sold in 1986, soon after the launch of Peugeot’s Ryton-built 309 which had originally been intended for sale as the Talbot Arizona, as a Talbot-branded successor to the Horizon, and went on sale in January 1986. The 309 continued the Simca heritage by using Simca-derived engines in its smaller models.

The Ryton factory remained open until December 2006.

UK Specifications range

Capacity 1118–1905 cc
Power 59–90 hp
Max. speed 147 km/h (91 mph) – 175 km/h (109 mph)
Acceleration 0–60 mp/h: 17.9–11.4 seconds

Models

The UK Horizon was available in the following trim levels:

  • 1100 GL
  • 1100 GLE
  • 1300 GL
  • 1300 GL Auto
  • 1300 LS
  • 1300 LX
  • 1300 GLX
  • 1500 LE
  • 1500 LS
  • 1500 LS EXS
  • 1500 GLS
  • 1500 S
  • 1500 SX Auto
  • 1500 EX
  • 1900 LD

Most models were available with 4 or 5-speed gearboxes, which were initially a carry-over of the Simca gearbox, and then later the PSA BE gearbox. Automatic transmission was available on most 1500 models, and was standard equipment on the 1500 SX model.

Some limited editions were:

  • 1500 “Pullman” top of range model. This had upmarket trim and a design of alloy wheel similar to the Lotus Sunbeam and a wider tyre. The Pullman also had radio upgrade with 4 speakers, and rear seatbelts. Most had beige over brown metallic, two-tone paintwork. Around 20% of the Pullman models were two tone silver and blue.
  • 1300 “Summertime Special” This had red plastic trim in place of the usual black.
  • 1500/1300 “Ultra” (1985) an upmarket high-spec car in silver metallic, had its name ‘ULTRA’ on the front wings in black lettering. Ultra had grey velour interior with red piping.
  • 1500 “Silver Fox” which had two tone paintwork half silver, half blue metallic.

Talbot-Simca Solara

Talbot 150 Ambulancia Pin 1980 Talbot Solara, Talbot 1510 talbot solara c Talbot Solara, Talbot 1510 t PhotoStud 1981 talbot-alpine Talbot 1510Solara Talbot Simca Solara SX Automatic Talbot Solara GLS Schaffen-Diest 1980 Talbot Simca Solara GL årg. 1980 Talbot SIMCA SOLARA GL 1980-Years Limousine Talbot Solara

That’s all what’s left from Simca.1936 - 1948 Simca 5 1936 Simca Fiat 508 Balilla 1936 Simca-Fiat 11 CV Cabriolet 1937 - 1951 Simca 8 1937 SIMCA .. 1937 Simca Fiat Facel  9 1937 Simca-Fiat 11CV Berline 5pl 1937 simca-fiat-11-cv-3 1938 simca cinq 1938 Simca classic 1939 Simca 8 1200 1939 SIMCA-5-Fourgonnette OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1939 Simca-Gordini Type 8 1940 Simca 5 1946 Simca 8 coupé deux places (2 seat coupé) 1947 - 1950 Simca 6 1949 SIMCA 5 FOURGO MICHELIN 1949 Simca Falaschi Figone Sport 8 Convertible 1950 Simca 8 Sport Cabriolet 1950 Simca Gordini T15s, as raced, and retired, at the 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans by José Froilán González and Juan Manuel Fangio 1950 Simca gordini-t15s 1951 Simca 8 Sport Michelotti 1951 simca 9 50 p15 1951 simca 9 aronde-b 1951 simca 9 1951 simca fiat 1951 simca-9-aronde 1951-64 Simca Aronde Lieferwagen 1951–1955 Simca aronde taxi 1952 simca 9 sport 1952 Simca Ariana 1952-1969 Simca 9-aronde 1953 SIMCA 9 Sport coupé Baden Baden 1953 simca 9 sport tek Coupé Simca 9 Sport 1953 SIMCA Aronde Taxi 1953 Retro 1953 Simca Gordini-type-24S-t15c 1954 Simca 9 aronde 1954 simca 9 figoni 1954 Simca 9 Sport Figoni & Falaschi 1954 Simca 900 1954 Simca 1200 Ghia 1954 TAXI-SIMCA 9 NL 1954-1957 Simca Vedette Régence 1955 Simca Aronde 1300 Grand Large DCF 1.0 1955 simca aronde-a 1955 simca aronde-b 1955 Simca Cargo F569 WML i 1955 Simca Régence 1955 simca vedette 2 1955 Simca Vedette Régence 1955 Simca Vedette 1955 Simca-Aronde-Elysee-1300 1956 simca Aronde (2) 1956 simca aronde 1300 tek 1956 simca aronde 1300 1956 simca aronde 1300a 1956 simca aronde 1300c 1956 simca aronde 1300d 1956 Simca Aronde Ad 1956 Simca Aronde 1956 simca ford vedette 1956 simca presidence brasil 1956 Simca Regence 1956 Simca Régence 1956 Simca Vedette Regence a 1956 Simca Vedette Regence 1956 Simca Vedette 1956 Simca Versailles 1956-58 Simca Vedette Marly 1957 SIMCA 4 1957 SIMCA 6 (2) 1957 simca arianea 1957 Simca Aronde de luxe, Elysee, Grand Large 1957 Simca aronde GL 1957 simca aronde Océane & Plein Ciel b 1957 Simca Chambord 1957 Simca Vedette Régence 1957 simca vedette Versailles-a 1957 simca vedette 1957 Simca 1957 simca-presidence-cabriolet (france) 1957-63 Simca Ariane 4 1957-63 Simca Ariane a 1958 Simca ad 1958 SIMCA Ariane AX-01-51 1958 simca ariane b 1958 Simca aronde chatelaine 1958 Simca Aronde Grand Large 2 Dr 1958 Simca Aronde Grand Large 1958 Simca Aronde Intendante 2 ad 1958 simca concept special-13 1958 SIMCA Concept-Roadster 1958 Simca Fulgur concept car 1958 Simca Fulgur 1958 Simca Ghia Special 1958 Simca plein ciel 1958 simca vedette chambord -d ??????????????????????????????? 1958 simca vedette chambord-c 1958 simca vedette Marly-b 1958 simca vedette-a 1958 Simca vedettes 1958 Simca 1958 simca-presidence-noir 1959 simca aronde p60a 1959 Simca Beaulieu 1959 Simca Chambord or sim Berne 1959 SIMCA Vedette AX-01-51 1959 The Flash Spécial engine in a 1959 Aronde Océane, with 57 hp 1960 A Brazilian made Simca Chambord, used in the TV series Vigilante Rodoviário (1961-1962) 1960 simca 7 prototype 1960 simca ariane a 1960 simca ariane 1960 Simca Aronde Etoile P60 1960 Simca Aronde Montlhery 1960 Simca Aronde Oceane 1960 simca aronde p60 Océane + Plein Ciel bw 1960 Simca Aronde P60 1960 simca castel p60c 1960 Simca Chambord Brazilian made 1960 Simca Chambord 1960 SIMCA Etoile DX-50-23 1960 simca monthéry p60b 1960 Simca Sport Océane. 1960 Simca vedette beaulieu a 1960 Simca Vedette beaulieu 1960 Simca Verde Vedette Chambord 1960 Simca-Aronde-P60-1300 1960-62 Simca Aronde Plein Ciel 1961 Simca 1961 Fulgur Chicago 1961 Simca Ariane 1961 Simca Aronde P60 Elysée, blue with white roof, Rush engine The vehicle was among the many classic cars handled by the Garage de l'Est 1961 Simca Chambord 2e 1961 Simca Jangada 1961 Simca Vedette Chambord 1961 Simca Vedette Marly (deuxième génération) 1961 Simca Vedette Presidence 1961 Simca vedette_chambord 1961 vigilante carlos simca 619 1962 Simca 1000 Coupé - 1200 S 1962 simca 1000 1962 Simca Jangada Tufao 1962 Simca Vedette Chambord 1962 Brazil 1962 simca-chambord-vermelho-e-branco3 1962 simca-custom-coupe-2 1963 Simca  1000 coupe 1963 Simca 1000 - interior 1963 Simca 1000 - rear view 1963 Simca 1000 1963 simca 1000vak 1963 SIMCA 1300 MR-76-89 1963 Simca 1300 1963 simca 1500 1963 Simca E Jangada Batente Do Paracho 1963 Simca jangada-63 1963 Simca rallye1 1963 Simca Station Wagon (AU)1 ron 1963 Simca_1301_break_speciale_a 1963 simca1300 1964 simca 1000 1964 Simca 1300-63 SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA 1964 Simca 1500 saloon, black, interior in red fake leather First registered 1964 Interiour 1964 Simca 1500 saloon, black, interior in red fake leather First registered 1964 rear view 1964 Simca 1500 saloon, black, interior in red fake leather First registered 1964 1964 Simca 1964 1500-63 1964 Simca Chambord (Tufão) 1964 simca propaganda 1964 Simca Rallye. 1964 Simca Tufão 1964 simca-1500 (2) 1964 simca-1500 1964 simca-Jangada-1964-01 1964 Simca-Jangada-ambulancia-funeral 4 1965 SIMCA - Tufão 1965 Simca Bertone Coupe 1965 SIMCA CHAMBORD TUFAO Frente 1965 SIMCA JANGADA grande 1965 Simca Presidence 1965 Simca 1965 simca-presidence 1966 Simca 1000 Coupé 1966 Simca 1500 Break 1966 Simca 1500 Estate Engine 1475cc S4 OHV 1966 Simca Esplanada Chico Santoro 1966 SIMCA RALLYE 1966-1968 Simca 1000 by Barreiros 1967 Simca 1000 GLS 1967 Simca 1100tyl 1967 Simca 1301 sedan 4 door 1967 Simca Esplanada ad 1967 Simca Esplanada brochure 1967 Simca Esplanada 1967 simca-004 1967-76 Simca 1301-1501 Engines 1290-1475 cc S4 OHV 1968 Chrysler GTX (Simca Esplanada) 1968 Simca 1200 S 1968 Simca 1501 1968 Simca Esplanada 1968-69 Simca Facelifted Esplanada 1969 Chrysler GTX (Simca Esplanada) 1969 Simca 6 utilitaire-1 1969 Simca 1000, 1968–1976 1969 Simca Esplanada Chrysler GTX 1970 Simca 548 Spider Engine 1730cc 1970 Simca 1100 Wagon 1970 Simca 1200 S Coupe 1970 Simca 1204 1971 simca 1200 avanches 23 m 1971 Simca Matra 530 LX 1971 simca matra 530-b 1971 simca matra 530-c 1971 simca matra-m530 1971 simca-1200 1972 Simca 1100 5-door 1972 Simca 1100 Special 1972 Simca 1301 Sa 1973 Chrysler160 1973 Simca 1000 GL 1973 simca matra 530lx 1974 simca 1000 4 door 1974 simca 1000 coupe (2) 1974 Simca 1000 Coupe 1974 Simca 1000 GL 1974 simca 1000 1974 simca 1000rally a 1974 simca 1100 bestel 1974 Simca 1100 Estate Como 1974 Simca 1100 near Oban photo 1974 simca 1100-02-simca-1 1974 simca 1100a 1974 simca 1100ti 1974 Simca 1301 S 1974 simca 1301a 1974 simca chrysler 2l 1974 simca chrysler 160 1974 Simca Chrysler 2000 1974 simca matra bagheera -a 1974 simca matra bagheera -b 1974 simca matra bagheera-c 1974 simca1100b 1974 simca-1200-ti-barreiros-Spanje 1974 Simca-Chrysler 2 Litre 1975 simca 1100 1975 simca 1301 MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA 1975 Simca 1501 break speciale a 1975 Simca 1501 Tourist Special 68-JA-74 1975-1977 Chrysler Centura 1976 simca 180 1976 Simca 1000 RALLYE 1976 simca 1000 1976 simca 1100ti 1976 SIMCA 1200 S BLEUE GRISE AVG GRENOBLE 1976 SIMCA 1200 S Coupé 55-MV-03 1976 Simca 1200 S Coupé Bertone 1976 SIMCA 1200 S Coupé SDSR 1976 Simca 1200 S document 1976 Simca 1200 S FFSA1 1976 Simca 1200 S 1976 Simca 1200 S7 1976 Simca 1200S Bartali Simone 1976 Simca CG Rally 1976 Simca CG 1976 simca speciaal 1976 simca V 1977 Matra Simca Rancho, lemon 1978 Simca 1307 GLS 1979 Simca 1100 Special hatchback 1979 Simca Chrysler Horizon GLS 1979 (Made in France) 1.5L petrol engine, painted Bronze Transvaal 1980 Talbot SIMCA SOLARA GL 1980-Years Limousine 1980 Talbot Simca Solara GL årg. 1980 Talbot Solara, Talbot 1510 1981 Talbot Solara 1981 talbot-alpine 1984-'85 Dodge Omni GLH 2001 Simca Matra de rancho Abarth-Simca 1150 SS