Concepts and prototypes : Heuliez Chrysler 180 Break
Keith Adams, Picture: Andrew Elphick
The French coachbuilder, Heuliez, products has slipped its way into these pages before. Who could forget the inappropriately (for Anglophones) named Talbot Wind, a cut-price funky alternative to the Matra-Rancho? By the time this sketch of the 180 Break was penned in the early 1970s, the company was already in the process of carving itself out an interesting niche versions of mainstream cars built in France.
The idea of building an estate version of the Chrysler 180 was really quite obvious to take for Heuliez. For those customers loyal to their local Simca dealer, and who wanted to upgrade to a larger estate than their current 1501, there was no option, other than to defect to Peugeot or Citroen. The car that emerged in Heuliez’s sketches is certainly handsome, and it also looks usefully large – and knowing the company’s intelligent construction methods, it would not have cost a significant amount of money to produce.
If it would have been made in the same way as the subsequent Citroen BX Break, partially completed cars would have been sent directly to the factory from Chrysler, and Heuliez would have added its own bespoke rear panels nd tailgate before finishing off the car. It worked well in the medium volumes required for Citroen, and there’s no reason to believe the same case wouldn’t be true for the 180. However, Chrysler chose not to take up the Heuliez option (or the Coupe, either), instead limiting itself to the standard four-door saloon.
Interestingly, the Chrysler 180 Break makes an interesting comparison with the equally still-born Princess Countryman.