When it arrived in 1967, the Simca 1100 was a remarkably advanced family car, and in many ways, one that has its roots in the front-wheel drive family cars that are so popular today. It was the template for the modern car, with five-doors, a roomy hatchback and front-wheel drive.
These were all the ingredients for a successful mid-sized car, and as such, the 1100 should have enjoyed a lasting legacy. Certainly, in France, the Simca 1100 very much did the business, becoming a best-seller with two million sold – but despite that, it’s near forgotten these days. Especially in the UK, where few remember that it was sold in Chrysler dealers alongside Imps, Avengers and Hunters.
Under the skin, it was certainly interesting. Torsion bar suspension tuned for comfort and eager power units marked out the 1100 as pleasant to drive. The Ti was possibly the first hot hatchback available in Europe (it pre-dated the Golf GTI by five years). In the UK, its tendency towards tappet rattle and rusty bodywork marked it out unfairly as a banger before its time. Few survive as a result, and those that do are worth buttons.
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The 1977 Matra-Simca Rancho is one of those wonderful cars that made more of an impact than anyone realised at the time of its launch. Today, no-one would bat an eyelid if a manufacturer launched a chunky-looking van-based lifestyle vehicle with looks that hinted at off-road ability– but back in the late 1970s, this was radical stuff. Here’s its story.
The Simca 1100 might be all-but forgotten today, but this revolutionary hatch caused quite the storm when it was launched in 1967. With front-wheel drive, torsion bar suspension and a wide-opening tailgate, it had everything a modern family man needed in their car.
The Rancho might be the best known 1100 variant for fashionistas, but the Talbot Wind was an equally faddish flavour – for rather less money. The beach was probably the best place for this unfortunately named plaything. What a pick-up line he coachbuilders Heuliez were no strangers to the idea of converting the SIMCA 1100 […]
Various SIMCAs were built in Spain, and the majority of these adhered to their French cousins. However, the Campero was unique to Spain. Graham Arnold tells its interesting story. Spanish fancy The SIMCA 1200 Campero was a Matra Rancho-type of vehicle built in Spain by a Chrysler Espa–a dealership in Madrid called Talleres Panades. It […]
Keith Adams I’m sitting here feeling a little sorry for myself, suffering from a pair of cracked ribs and a dented ego (yeah, I don’t practice what I preach when working on my cars) and, between bouts of writing for Octane, I’ve found myself going on a few car-related tangents. This one’s actually about the forgotten […]