The cars : Talbot Wind

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…

The coachbuilders Heuliez were no strangers to the idea of converting the Simca 1100 into something more desirable. In 1968, it produced the pretty Saharienne cabriolet version, which was shown at that year’s Paris Salon. Sadly, a production version did not follow, but it gave the company a valuable insight into the car’s structural qualities.

There's no getting away from Talbot's blatent lifestyle marketing of the Talbot-WindHowever, Heuliez did commence another 1100-based project, which did have a major impact on the car’s future development: essentially, it took the standard car’s front end and mated it to a capacious van rear end to produce the 1100 VF2 (“Voiture Fourgonette”). This was soon followed-up with the high-roof version called the VF3, and then the handy pick-up version, and provided SIMCA with an effective rival on the commercial market for the Citroën 2CV AK and Renault 4 F4. These innovative derivatives joined the “Affaires et societe” van, which was effectively a panelled-in three-door hatchback without rear seats and the VF1, three-door break van.

From the humble VF2 Fourgonette, the mould-breaking Matra-Simca Rancho was constructed by Matra. With the help of some impact resistant plastic and other off-roading equipment the ordinary van was transformed into a highly capable leisure vehicle. Stylistically the Matra-Simca Rancho was at least twenty years early. Such was the Rancho’s impact, that Heuliez had the smart idea of building its own lifestyle version of the Talbot-Simca 1100 based on the pick-up. This model was created in order to give aspiring Rancho owners the opportunity to own a cheaper lifestyle version of the 1100, whilst allowing Heuliez a piece of the action.

Heuliez had already produced many limited production specials based upon the products of PSA, and ranged from such exotics as the Citroën SM Espace (a lavishly-trimmed SM with a slatted rear window), a T-bar convertible a-la Triumph Stag and long-wheelbase Peugeot 604, through to the Citroën BX Break of 1986. The Talbot Wind basically fell into the lower end of the Heuliez repertoire, but was no less interesting for that.

The Talbot Wind was the result, and in the brochures, it looked very stylish indeed. Wind was available to retrofit to existing pickups or could be supplied direct from Deux Sevres. It offered accessories, such as a surf rack, and sported neat styling touches such as roof-mounted spotlights, a new radiator grille and jazzy paint schemes. Particularly interesting was the modular nature of the accessory pack, so if one did not want the surf racks attached, they would simply unbolt. However, lacking the Rancho’s finish, the Wind was not a commercial success.

Like the Rancho, the Wind offered no real off-road ability, despite looking as if it could climb every mountain. When the 1100 pick-up slipped out of production in 1985, the Wind followed…

With thanks to Asopee Simelli for additional information…


  1. Why do the French have an apparent obsession with wind? Not only this, but the more recent Renault of the same name. I thought manufacturers did market research on things like names to make sure they don’t drop unintentional clangers.

    You’d never get the Ford Fart.

  2. Thing is, had this vehicle been based on virtually any other small hatch base it would have been infinately more desirable. But saddled with the awful Simca engine I can’t imagine why anyone would want it- I was also amazed at how many Ranchos were sold.

    VW did a similar thing a few years later with their Yugoslavian Golf Mk1 based caddy- I think that was a reasonable success for a niche vehicle. But more desirable was their larger T25 double-cab pickup with Synchro 4WD, nice alloys, and ‘lifestyle’ addenda. Went well too with the fuel injected 2.1 ‘wasserboxer’- and was even pretty decent off road.

  3. Oh, re Ford not using unfortunate names, I think the rather phallic sounding Probe was not the wisest monicker. Especially given the nature of some of the people that drove it…

  4. @1 KC “Why do the French have an apparent obsession with wind?”

    Could this be related to their obsession with, and great love of, suppositories?

  5. They also have a habit of reusing names on totally different cars. The US Fusion is a very different beast to our Fiesta based car. In the 90s they made a Cougar to replace the Puma and now they make a Kuga thing. Try explaining the difference between those two words to anyone who lip reads!

  6. @7, Ben Adams,

    There is a useful hand gesture generally offered towards BMW drivers that would no doubt work in any sign language to indicate the word ‘Probe’…

    • Golf is named after the Sea water-current, which travels underwater from south to north and warms the air masses above it bringingbthe air masses toward North.

  7. Yes, I acknowledge that generally VWs are named after winds, but Phaeton is named after a the son of a Greek god……

  8. @14, Simon_H,

    I’d imagine that as sons of Greek Gods go, he was a bit of a doormat.

    Phaeton? Feet on?

    Oh, never mind…

  9. @4/@8 – Another AR “mailtard” alert – “They do not hold exactly the same views as me therefore they must be devients and be the targets for bucketloads of unwarrented abuse”

  10. @17, Paul,

    Oh, lighten up fella. Don’t you recognise a tongue-in-cheek comment when you see one?

    No doubt you in your monastic cell would never watch a sitcom, or a comedy-based panel game, or even Top Gear, lest the purity of your thoughts be contaminated by those who would make light-hearted fun out of popular non-vulnerable stereotypes, such as BMW drivers…

    Bless me Father, for I have sinned…

  11. The Talbot Wind was a concept car and never made it into production. In fact, the prototype shown in the publicity photos was, along with many other Heuliez concept cars, put up for auction at the 2012 Le Mans Classic.

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