Concepts and prototypes : Talbot Tagora

Project C9 was instigated in 1976, and like the Alpine and Horizon before it, was engineered in France and styled in the UK. The car that emerged was the first car to emerge from the combine, which was not styled under the directorship of Roy Axe…

The upscaled Solara concept was considered a failure by most contemporary commentators.

Initial thoughts

Chrysler C9 Project
The Tagora was always going to be a six-light, three box saloon, but the Citroen SM style nose treatment (headlamps and registration plate housed behind a glass cover) of the early prototypes was soon abandoned following pressure from Chrysler management.

Full-size clay

Chrysler C9 Project
The C9 is taking shape; and thanks to the abandonment of some of the drawings’ more advanced features, the character of the final car is evident for all to see. Most striking aspects of the design are its large glass area, slim pillars and low shoulder line. Note also the Chrysler 180-style rear light clusters, which failed to make it to production.

Styling bucks

Chrysler C9 Project
Many subtle changes have taken place between the full-size clay and this styling buck. The semi-covered rear wheel (very reminiscent of Citroen) and round front wheelarches have been abandoned in favour of Bertone-like squared-off arches. The shoulder line has also been raised slightly in order to eliminate the original’s top heavy appearance, and the front bumpers have been reprofiled.
Chrysler C9 Project
Final styling evolution shows more chrome detailing and a further alteration to the front grille/lights arrangement. The car is wearing French market number plates, which indicates that this model was most likely used in customer clinics…

Final approved model

Chrysler C9 Project
This glass fibre model was the C9 that Peugeot first saw when it took over Chrysler Europe in 1978.


Chrysler C9 Project
Interior studies centred on rather minimalistic design, which displayed touches of the Rover SD1 and later Citroen XM… This design may have looked good during the design phase, and helped to give the final car a very airy looking cabin, it also put off many British buyers, who were accustomed to much more busy looking cockpit.
Chrysler C9 Project
Pleated seat designs seem to have been finally adopted on the Talbot-Matra Murena.
Chrysler C9 Project
Chrysler C9 Project
Chrysler C9 Project
Various designs of road wheel were pursued, with the definitive solution being a development of the design depicted in the picture on the left..
Keith Adams


  1. Ironically, the favourite image for me is the B&W initial thoughts sketch on this page. I never really liked the Tagora during its production life compared to the opposition (Granada’s, Vauxhall Royales etc)

    • Really interesting, thanks for sharing Nate!

      As that site says, it is a bit Audi-like in the front grille.

      Though it would’ve been an uneasy fit between the 505 and 604, perhaps Peugeot knew that their big saloon market was saturated. 609 perhaps? 🙂

      • Modern styling aside would have to agree it is difficult to see where this Peugeotized Tagora would have fit into the range.

        That said perhaps Peugeot were contemplating using such a car to replace the Peugeot 604 that preceded the original Tagora by 5 years or in the case of the Heuliez proposal by 7 years, though PSA’s issues as a result of acquiring the Chrysler Europe (after previously having to deal with Citroen’s issues) and other factors properly led them to not bother.

  2. Weird how the Tagora and Renault 9 came out so similar looking. Not a positive comparison for the Talbot either!

  3. What is both funny and sad would be had Chrysler (on both sides of the Atlantic) made better decisions, they could have their own V6 engine whether via the Avenger 4-cylinder or even a much earlier version of the Slant 6-based 3.3/3.8-litre V6 OHV that later evolved into the SOHC V6 and DOHC Chrysler LH V6 engines.

    The size of both the domestic US Slant-6 and Aussie Hemi-6 engines did much to hamper Chrysler’s efforts at downsizing and rationalizing their range, whereas the likes of Ford could rely on the Essex V6 and Cologne V6 engines.

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