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.
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 was designed by Antonio Madue–o, a tuning and specialist car builder from Madrid, for off-road use on forest tracks and unmade roads and based around Spanish Simca 1200 (neŽ Simca 1100) components.
The idea of the vehicle was to bridge the gap between the two-wheel drive Citroen Mehari and the true four-wheel drive off-road vehicles being sold in Spain at that time, i.e. the Jeep Ebro Comando and the Santana Land-Rover. It used the Simca 1200«s floorpan with a very square-shaped Matra Rancho-style two-door body made from glass fibre and polyester. It could carry loads of up to 500 kg, while the whole vehicle unladen weighed approximately 880 kg.
The model was first announced at the Barcelona Motor show in 1973. It was originally fitted with the Simca 1118cc 52bhp engine but was later available with the 1294cc version giving an output of 65bhp. In 1977 it cost 373,395 pts (excluding registration fees) while the equivalent Simca 1200 saloon cost 300,428 pts (not including registration fees).
According to contemporary reports at the time it is said that Chrysler France took a very deep interest in the vehicle and applied the same principles when designing the Matra-Simca Rancho.
It is thought that only fewer than half a dozen of this model are still extant in Spain.