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The Simca 1100 is an automobile built from 1967 to 1982 by Chrysler Europe's division

Simca. It was replaced by the (Simca) Talbot Horizon.


The 1100 was the result of "Project 928", started in 1962, finalized by engineers Philippe
Grundeler and Charles Scales. The design was a result of Simca's market research in the
early 1960s, which showed the increasing popularity of front wheel drive cars that
provided better space utilization and comfort to small cars. In Spring 1962, Simca
targeted a 1966-67 launch of a new range of front wheel drive cars with sedans, wagons,
and light commercial vehicles to be included, all fitting into France's 6CV tax class between the Simca Mille and Simca 1300. Both transverse and front/back engines were
tested, and in 1963, the transverse-engine design was approved. The Simca 1100 was one
of the first designs outside Fiat to feature a transverse engine with an end-on gearbox and
unequal length driveshafts (now near-universal amongst small cars), a possible result of
Fiat influence as a major shareholder.
In 1963, Chrysler took a controlling interest in Simca, approving the project in 1964, with
a production target of summer 1967. The short timetable included developing a new
transmission, and using a larger version of the rear engined rear wheel drive Simca Mille
(Simca 1000) engine, displacing 1118 cc (the Mille used a 1.0 liter engine, the 1500 a 1.5
liter engine).
When first shown on Sardinia and the Paris Auto Show in 1967, the 1100 was advanced
in design, featuring a hatchback with folding rear seats, disc brakes, rack and pinion
steering, an independent front (double wishbone) and rear (trailing arm) suspension using
Chrysler-style torsion bars (though Chrysler itself only used them up front), and a full
range of controls. Numerous permutations were available, with a manual, automatic, and
semi-automatic transmission. The engine was slanted to allow for a lower hood; and the
engine, gearbox, and suspension were carried on a subframe to allow the unibody to be
relatively unstressed. In American fashion, the body was welded to the frame, not bolted.
The 1100 was reportedly studied closely by Volkswagen when the latter company was
designing its Volkswagen Golf, after making rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive vehicles.
The 1100 was (along with the pricier Renault 16 & Austin Maxi), one of the first
hatchback designs, with a folding rear seat, and in three and five-door variations.
Different equipment levels were defined by LS, GL, GLS and "Special" tags. Three and
five door station wagons were also included in the range.[1]

Simca 1100 Hatchback


The car was fitted with Simca Type 315 petrol OHV engines with 944, 1118, and 1294 cc
variants, depending on year and market. A "stroked" 1118 cc engine displacing 1.2 litres
was introduced in 1971 to the UK market as the Simca 1204. It was also sold in the USA
in limited quantities.
The 1100 had a four speed manual gearbox and room for five people. There was also a
three-speed semi-automatic gearbox that required manual shifting but used an
electronically activated clutch. The 1100s transmission configuration was revolutionary
in that it was transverse and axial with the engine giving the "engine on one side,
transmission on the other" layout copied on almost all hot hatches and front wheel drive
vehicles throughout the world ever since. In France, the 1100 was very successful,
achieving best-seller status, but it was less competitive in non-European export markets.
In the UK, while recognised as an innovative and capable car, its poor record of body
corrosion and top end engine wear counted against it. The engine needed frequent valve
clearance adjustment.[citation needed]
Three LCV versions with van, pick-up truck and High Top Van bodystyles where called
Simca VF2, and were sold from 1973 to 1985, three years after the 1100 had been
removed from the market. In the United Kingdom, these models assumed the Dodge
nameplate after 1976 and Talbot in 1979. In 1974, the sporty TI appeared with the 1294
engine (82 PS), at the time when the car also saw a cosmetic redesign. Based on the 1100
chassis, the Matra engineering firm created a crossover derivation engineered named
Matra Rancho.
In 1968, production was already strong with 138,242 vehicles made; it reached its peak in
1973, with nearly 300,000 Simca 1100s rolling off the assembly line. However,
production fell rapidly through 1977, when over 142,000 1100s were made; the following
year just half that number (72,695) were made, and numbers dwindled to below 20,000 in
1981, though production continued through to 1985.
The Simca 1100 was produced in different places; in Sweden, local production was
handled by Phillipsons, on the same assembly lines that made Mercedes-Benz cars, and

also in Madrid (Spain) at the former Barreiros Diesel factory. Curiously, Spanish-built
1100's were marketed as Simca 1200 and the TI version had an 85 PS (63 kW; 84 hp)
1442 cc engine.
A total of 2.2 million cars were produced. The replacement for the 1100, the C2 project,
would become the (Simca) Talbot Horizon, and would be a runaway success in the
United States, where it sold as the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon. The 1100 would
also be the basis for the Matra Rancho, an early crossover which had serious 4x4 looks
but a Simca 1100 basis.
Range

944 cc - 45 PS (33 kW)


1118 cc - 50/52/60 PS (37/38/44 kW)
1204 cc - 59 PS (43 kW)

Manufacturer
Also called
Production
Successor
Class

Body style

Layout
Engine
Wheelbase
Length
Width
Height
Kerb weight
Related

Simca
Talbot 1100
Simca 1200
Talbot 1200
19671985
Talbot Horizon
Supermini
3-door hatchback
5-door hatchback
5-door estate
2-door Pickup truck
3-door van
2-door van (high roof)
Front engine, front-wheel drive
944 cc Simca Type 315 I4
1118 cc Simca Type 315 I4
1294 cc Simca Type 315 I4
2,520 mm (99.2 in)
3,937 mm (155.0 in)
1,587 mm (62.5 in)
1,460 mm (57.5 in)
918 kg (2,024 lb)
Matra Rancho
Simca 1204
Simca 1118
Simca VF

The Simca 1204 (US) and Simca 1100 most popular car in France - and Talbot
Wind
by Andy Thompson

Introduction by the Allpar staff.


One of the few Chrysler Europe cars to make it to the United States was the Simca 1204,
which should have been a success it was, after all, based on the most popular car in
France, a vehicle that attained American-style production numbers (over 100,000 per
year), and the car that Volkswagen copied very carefully in creating the Rabbit (Golf) and
GTI. Indeed, one could argue that the GTI label really stands for Golf TI the TI being
a sporty Simca 1100. Yet, the 1204 was such a failure, despite having a larger engine than
the French version, that it left almost before it arrived.
Andy Thompson wrote an excellent history of the 1100 and 1204. If you just want to get
to the 1204, which is the model sent to the US, by all means skip to the Simca 1204.

The Simca 1100


At the start of the 1960s, Simca took a long hard look at its future model plans. It had just
launched the 1000 and the Simca 1300/1500 were soon to replace the long running
Aronde and Arainne. Where to go next?
Simca undertook careful market research to decide its strategy for the next 15 years. In
particular Simca noticed the growing success of front wheel drive cars such as the Mini
and Austin/Morris 1100 and the Renault 4 which were all showing new ways of
bringing big car space, comfort, and handling to small car buyers. This looked like a
promising market for a relatively young and ambitious car maker.

In the spring of 1962, Simca set a target of launching (by 1966/1967) a range of front
wheel drive cars, incorporating saloons with folding rear seats, estate cars, and light
commercial vehicles. It was to fit into the French 6CV taxation class, neatly filling the
gap between the 5CV Simca 1000 (Simca Mille) and the 7CV Simca 1300.

Project 928: a new direction


At the end 1962, work started on the development of this new model, four body styles
being part of the plan from day one. These were three and five door saloons, a three door
estate, and a three door van. Two engineering prototypes were built, one with a front-toback engine like the later Renault 12 and the other with a transverse engine like the
Austin/Morris 1100. Both were extensively tested, while the Argenteuil styling team,
directed by Mario Revelli de Beaumont, worked on various proposals for the external and
interior design. In the summer of 1963, Project 928 got the go-ahead, using the transverse
engine layout. However, Simcas design team now had a new set of bosses to convince
in 1963, Chrysler Corporation had taken a controlling interest in Simca.
The American management made a lot of noise about how Simcas autonomy would not
be affected by the takeover. However, a raft of management changes followed. Simca

founder Henri Thodore Pigozzi was replaced by George Hereil. Following his
appointment, Hereil quickly re-iterated Chrysler's initial statement that Simca would
remain largely unchanged by the change in ownership, and in the case of Project 928, this
certainly held true.
The two engineers responsible for the new product, Philippe Grundeler and Charles
Scales, supported by George Hreil, the new President of Simca, prepared a mass of
information to gain Chrysler's support. Detroit gave the project its blessing at the
beginning of 1964. The Americans recognised that the forthcoming car would be in a
favourable position when it hit the market. The only front wheel drive competition was
from Britains BMC and Italys Autobianchi. Simca's last car (or Chrysler France's first,
depending on your perspective) would steal a march on all European opposition, and that
was good for Chrysler...
The company set a target of July 1967 for the first cars to roll off the production lines.
The date was set to allow Simca to premier its new car at the Paris Motor Show in the
autumn of 1967.
It was a major task to complete the development and the production engineering of an
entirely new model with a new body and new transmission within such a short space of
time, even allowing for the engine being a stretched version of the recently announced
Simca 1000 unit. Once the decision to go with the new car had been taken, Project 928 or
VLBB (Voiture Legre Berline Break - small car/small truck/estate car) rapidly
developed at Poissy. Sadly, according to accounts of the 1100's development, Simca
became so pre-occupied with Project 928's development that the accord between the
French company and the Italian tuners Abarth fell through. This held back the 1000's
sporting progress considerably, ironically just when French tuner Gordini was working
his magic on the Renault R8.

George Hreil gave overall responsibility for the new car to Pierre Nadot. Both men had
links going back to the early days of the legendary Caravelle aircraft. In 1965, Pierre
Nadot got extra support and help when two former Peugeot engineers joined the team Claude de Forcrand and Franois Paget.

The SIMCA 1100 steals a march...


In 1967, the Chrysler Pentastar appeared on the lower, right front wing of every Simca,
and at the front of the plant at Poissy, replacing the Simca Swallow. Chrysler wanted to
make their presence known in France and to be associated with the success story that
was Simca. Thanks in no small part to the success of the Simca 1000, by the time of the
launch of the 1100 in 1967, Simca had become a serious player in the French motor
industry. It had become one of France's biggest firms, with well over ten million square
feet of manufacturing space, over 24,000 employees and more than 6,500 dealers and
service centres in 130 export countries.
Naming the new car had proved straightforward enough. Its 1118cc engine allowed for
the company to use the Simca 1100 tag; thus fitting nicely between the Simca 1000 and
1500. The final testing of the 1100 was carried out in Normandy in June 1967.
Representatives from Chrysler were invited to take the wheel of two pre-production
prototypes and to compare them with their competitors of the time, including the Peugeot
204.

At Poissy meanwhile, its production


had been affected for several months by essential work needed to prepare for the
production of the new model. The plant was completely closed during two weeks in July
instead of the usual summer break instead of the usual August break. At the end of July
1967, forty five Simca 1100 LS and two Simca 1100 GL cars had been produced on the
new production line. A team continued to work on last minutes changes to the car in
Agadir in Morocco. At the beginning of September 1967 the first GLS was produced.
The Simca 1100 faced the judgement of the worlds car magazines at an impressive
launch party during September, organised with almost Teutonic efficiency by Maurice
Favennec. It took place in Sardinia at the luxurious holiday complex of Costa Smeralda,
the property of the Aga Khan. The journalists were allowed to thoroughly test the new
model on Sardinias battered roads and wait in luxury and comfort for the chance to take
the cars on faster courses.
With the backing of Chrysler behind it, the 1100 was set to make a huge impact on the
market, playing on its strengths of its advanced specification. And advanced it certainly
was, sporting front wheel drive, a hatchback, disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, 4.5
inch wheel rims carrying 145X13 radial ply tyres and a wide range of body styles.
Initially, three and five door hatchbacks, three door estate car and a van were offered.
Suspension was independent by torsion bars all round. The dashboard was typically
French, with controls scattered all over the place. A simple strip speedometer was fitted
along with a fuel gauge.
Unlike the 1000 and many of its opponents, Simca made sure that many differing
customer requirements could be met from within a single range of cars. Along with the
four body permutations, the 1118cc could be purchased with a manual or a Ferodo three
speed semi-automatic gearbox and in two states of engine tune. The base engine, fitted to
the LS and the van, produced 53bhp and a compression ratio of 8.2:1. The slightly more
powerful 56bhp unit with a compression ratio of 9.6:1 was fitted to the more expensive
GL and GLS models. The semi-automatic Ferodo transmission was an evolution of the
Transfluide system introduced by Renault in the Frgate.
The 1100 incorporated a number of novel features. Its engine was slanted back by 30
degrees to allow for a lower bonnet line. The body shell was developed using ideas
pioneered in America. It had a modified perimeter frame chassis and torsion bar
suspension. This allowed the highly stressed mounting points for the engine, gearbox and
suspension to be carried on the frame leaving the body relatively unstressed. This made it

easier to develop different body styles. However, the Simca body was welded to the
frame rather than bolted, as was the practice in America.

The SIMCA 1100 appears


The public unveiling of the Simca 1100 in France took place at Paris Motor Show which
was held at Versailles October 5th until October 15 1967. Hreil and Nadot presented
their new car to General de Gaulle, the French President, on Friday October 6th. On the
same day, 7,000 people were invited to a massive presentation taking up 12,000 square
metres - in Le Bourget. Chrysler were rightly proud of the Simca 1100. It wore the
Chrysler Pentastar badge from day one. The 1100 was also the first Simca to have
hubcaps with the Chrysler pentastar motif..
The model range for 1968 started with the 1100 LS, available as a hatchback and as an
estate car. It was recognisable as the entry level model by its bumpers which had no over
riders and by a lack of brightwork round the windows. On the LS hatchbacks, the rear
seat folded back against the front seats but without forming a flat floor for the load area.
On the GL and GLS hatchbacks and all the estate cars, however, the rear bench seat
retracted into the floor to give a full length, flat load floor.
Next up was the 1100 GL which had rubber faced over riders on the bumper and extra
chrome trim. This trim level was not available as an estate car (station wagon). Top of the
range was the 1100 GLS, with chrome strips round the wheel arches and full size chrome
wheel trims. Inside, the front seats had reclining back rests and were trimmed with cloth
or aralon, a breathable vinyl material. Carpets were fitted instead of the rubber mats
used in the LS and GL models, there was a lidded glove box a water temperature gauge,
an electric clock, a cigarette-lighter and day/night rear view mirror. Finally, there was a
light van basically an estate car with the window openings missing. This model featured
the LS trim and engine and later became known as the VF1 (VF stood for Voiture
Fourgonette).
Simca made of its new guarantee scheme, which provided cover for 2 years or 60000 km
for the major components such as the engine and transmission. This was a hot selling
point for Simca, as most of its competitors offered rather feeble 6 month guarantees.
The French loved the 1100 from launch and bought it in huge numbers. In 1968, its first
full year of production, 138,242 1100s rolled out of Poissy: an impressive achievement.
The car was launched in Britain in late 1967 but the choice offered to British buyers was
not as wide as that offered to French buyers.
During 1968, some running changes were made to the range, including a slight increase
in the ground clearance and improvements to the rather heavy steering.
In September 1968, the 1969 range was unveiled along with a five door estate car (station
wagon) body, offered with GL or GLS trim. The LS range was extended by a 944cc
45bhp engine from the Simca 1000, which took the car into the lower 5CV French

taxation class. This model came fitted with cross ply tyres and had a 5CV badge fitted to
the rear door. Between 1969 to 1972, the 944cc model accounted for 25% of the total
production of the 1100! It was never sold in Britain.
The 1118cc LS models were temporarily dropped from production between September
1968 and January 1969, when they reappeared with the 56bhp engine previously only
available on the GL and GLS models. The 53 bhp engine was still available to special
order but as a standard unit only appeared in the van. The van was brought over to Britain
in 1969 as a replacement for the Commer Imp van, which was dropped in February
1970.
By 1969, 44% of Simcas made at the Poissy plant in Paris were the 1100, 26% were the
1000, and 30% were the 1301/1501. Production of the 1100 in 1969 climbed slightly to
146,095.

The SIMCA 1204 hits the United States ... and flops
Reviewer David Ash wrote in 1971: 1204 can bring nothing but praise...highly
sophisticated set of specifications. Independent suspension by torsion bars at all four
corners, front wheel disc brakes and radial ply tires are just part of a bill of fare that
might be tempting to people who know about cars. Long orphaned here, the Simca 1204
is a genuine, solid machine.
The 1100 was introduced to America in June, 1969 as the Simca 1204, reflecting its
1204cc engine. It was available in LS or GLS trim, hatchback, or wagon (estate) for
under $2,000. Air conditioning and the three speed automatic gearbox were offered as
options. Although the car was praised by the American motoring press, it was not a
success and Simca withdraw from the American market in 1972. In American trim, it
produced (in 1971) 62 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 65 lb-ft of torque at 3,400 rpm, and
weighed 2,025 pounds (similar to the contemporary Saabs, much lighter than the Toyota
Crown, and much heavier than the Subarus). Length was 155 inches, width was 62.5
inches, and the transmission was a four-speed manual.
If the first three years of the 1100's production run could be considered a success, then the
1970s were phenomenal. The 1100 became the best-selling Simca of all time. Production
levels at Poissy bloomed considerably, and in 1971, the 1100's achievements were topped
when it became France's best selling car. In 1971, 1972 and 1973, over 200,000 1100s per
annum were produced, but most impressively, 1973 saw a peak of 296,984 leave Poissy.
Simca continued to feed demand by introducing new model variations at a startling rate,
and like the Simca 1000, each new top-of-the-range model seemed to be accompanied by
a hike in power.
Major changes to the range were announced in September 1969 for the 1970 model year.
The three door LS estate car was dropped, both it and the 1100 GL estate car being
replaced by an LS five door estate. There were power increases for all engines - 45 to 48
bhp for the 944cc, 56 to 60 bhp for the 1118cc cars and 53 to 54 bhp for the light van.

The boost to power was a result of changes made to the combustion chambers, pistons,
valves, cylinder heads, carburettors and manifolds. The company claimed that the
changes not only increased power but reduced fuel consumption by 3%.
The seats were redesigned and an anti theft steering lock was fitted too. A new dashboard
with round dials replaced the previous, less attractive horizontal strip speedometer. Two
dials were fitted to the LS, one for the speedo and one for minor gauges and warning
lamps. The GL and GLS got four dials although on the GL only two were used the
buyer had to tick the options boxes for a rev counter and a clock to fill the blanks! The
GLS had the clock as standard, leaving just the rev counter as an option.
Interestingly, the new dash was never introduced onto right hand drive models although
British buyers got a glimpse of the dash in the 1973 range brochure a shot through the
open hatchback of an LS clearly shows the round dials. Indeed, it was about this time that
the range of Simca 1100 cars offered to French and British buyers started to diverge quite
considerably, with each market getting its own tailor made selection.
Except on the models at the bottom of the range, Simca introduced colour keyed trim,
linking the exterior colour (from a wider choice of 14 colours including 7 metallics) with
the interior trim colour and extending that cover from the seats to include the dash
padding etc. The GLS seats used polyester foam construction seats. All 1118cc models
were given the option of servo assisted brakes.
Cardan steering joints, tested on the London to Sydney Marathon in 1968, were adopted
in February 1970 to reduce noise and vibrations on bad roads and in April all models got
anchor points for three point front seat belts.
In June 1970, the 1204 Special was introduced in three and five door models. The Special
carried the 1204cc 75bhp at 6000rpm from the 1200S, rated in France for tax purposes as
a 7CV. It featured two twin choke Weber carburettors, an aluminium sump and servo
assisted brakes. Long distance driving lights were built into the front grille. The interior
featured improved black Aeralon trim or cloth and the front seats had standard headrests.
An electronic tachometer was built into the new dashboard, the steering wheel was a
sporty 3 spoke affair and there was a centre console. An electrically heated rear window
was fitted along with electrically operated screen washers. Ventilated wheel rims of 5
inches with special hub caps (dark grey with chrome star and red circle in the centre)
were also fitted. Initially, the Special was available only in metallic turquoise blue, other
colour choices coming on stream during 1971. Top speed for the Special was about
100mph!
More running changes were made during 1970 a quieter alternator, the cable operated
gear change was replaced with a rod system to improve the quality of the gear change and
stronger synchromesh was fitted to the gearbox.
For France in 1971 the five door GL 5 door and three door GLS were dropped. All
models were equipped with radial-ply tyres, a glove box under the dashboard and, with

the exception of the Special, a black twin spoke steering wheel. The 944cc LS had its
compression ration raised from 8.1:1 to 9.4:1. The van and the GLS gained servo assisted
brakes. Changes were made to answer criticisms made earlier in 1970 of the Special engine torque was increased by 15% and additional sound-proofing was installed.
The British range was rather limited the 1118LS three door, a GLS as a five door and an
estate and the 1204 Special. The 1204 was promoted in Britain as offering more
performance than the popular MG Midget and Triumph Spitfire sports cars!
On August 31st, 1971, Chrysler France replaced Simca as the official name of the
company. New rectangular name badges replaced the individual S.I.M.C.A. letters on the
cars.
In September 1971, 1972 model year Simca 1100s received a mildly restyled rear
hatchback with a slightly larger window. New colours appeared, celebrating the
introduction of new electro-painting techniques at Poissy. All models gained a new, 3
spoke safety steering wheel complete with fake wood trim on the Special. The Special
itself got a new, 1294cc engine, bore increasing from 74 to 76.7mm. The new engine
came with a single twin choke Weber carburettor and produced the same power as the
previous twin carb 1204cc model - 75hp at 5600rpm. The new engine was more flexible
and a lot easier to keep in tune! The cheaper three door models were dropped for France
but British buyers could still buy a three door 1100LS. In 1972, the Simca 1100 was
Frances best selling car.
For 1973, all models received pollution controls for their engines an early consequence
of the European Union starting to legislate for pan-European emissions standards. The
Special was equipped with a reversing lamp mounted under the rear bumper and the dual
horns from the Chrysler 180. The millionth Simca 1100, a Spcial, rolled off the Poissy
production line on June 28th, 1973.

The commercial van based on the 1100: VF2


The big news for 1973, announced in December 1972 was the extension of the
commercial range with a high roof light van known as VF2. The VF2 was equipped with
the 54bhp engine and offered a cargo volume of about 70 cubic feet and a payload of
1100 lb. It was available in three colours white, blue or beige and offered options such
as two side windows per side and a bulk head dividing the cab from the load area. It was
equipped with servo assisted brakes, reinforced wheels and manual headlamp height
adjustment. The VF1 was the standard low roof van which offered about 44 cubic feet
cargo volume. A Pick-Up was introduced in Dec 75 and was Simca's first pick-up since
the 1963 Aronde Intendante although not the first 1100 pickup; French coachbuilder
Heuliez had produced a prototype pickup in 1971.
The final model in the commercial series was the VF3, which arrived in 1978, with an
eight inch raised roof increasing cargo volume to about 80 cubic feet. All VF models used
LS trim for the passenger compartments. The Ferodo semi-automatic transmission was

not available with the pick-up and by the end of 1973, this option had been dropped for
all British Simca 1100 buyers.

The first (G)TI


For1974, the1100 received revisions to the transmission and front suspension, including
larger diameter drive shafts. The 944cc LS was dropped along with the three door Special
although the three door Special remained available for British buyers. However, an 1100
Special estate car was added to the range, offered a high speed yet compact load carrier.
Unfortunately, weak demand meant the car lasted only two years and it was never sold in
Britain. Simca provocatively shot the British 1974 model year brochure in London!
The 1100TI was introduced in late 1973 as a 1974 model year car. It came with an 82bhp
1294cc engine derived from the 84bhp Matra-Simca Bagheera unit. It had two Weber
carburettors. Performance was seriously quick; maximum speed was 105 mph and the 060 dash could be despatched in under 12 seconds. Five inch alloy wheels were standard.
Compared to the Special, the clutch was reinforced, firmer shock absorbers were standard
and bigger diameter disc brakes from the 1000 Rallye 2 were fitted. The TI had six lights
up front as well as the two headlamps there were two fog lamps mounted below the
front bumper, and two driving lamps set into the matt black grille. A high output
alternator, not surprisingly, was fitted as standard!
Available in three or five door versions, the Ti came with front and rear spoilers. The
dashboard had six circular dials speedometer, rev counter, fuel, temperature and oil
pressure gauges and an ammeter. A leather covered metal spoked steering wheel
completed the sporty interior. The TI was available only in Sumatra Red. As this was
considered to be very much part of the range, it could be argued that by producing this
model, it was Simca that introduced the concept of the "hot hatchback" in Europe. Bear in
mind, that the 1100TI was launched in 1974 as opposed to 1976 for the Volkswagen Golf
GTi, and one can see this accolade really belongs to the French rather than the Germans.
Sadly, the TI was another Simca 1100 that did not officially cross the Channel.
In contrast to the TI, the next new Simca 1100s were anything but performance cars. In
February 1974 Simca reacted to the oil crisis by introducing two new economy models
the 1100LE and 1100GLE with LS or GLS trim but powered by the 944cc 48bhp din
engine from the 1000 LS. They were followed in March 1974 by the 1100 ES
(Economique Special) a car trimmed to Special standards but with the 60 bhp 1118cc
engine and wheels of the GLS. Only the ES was sold in Britain and then not until the end
of 1976.
In autumn 1974, the 1975 range was announced, showcasing a new style of dashboard for
Chrysler Europe. The modern design was clean, simple, and ergonomically excellent.
Variations were used in the 1976 Chrysler Alpine, the 1977 Avenger, and the 1978
Sunbeam. Circular instruments were grouped in front of the driver in a hooded binnacle
two for cheaper models and six for the ES, Spcial and Ti. All the main controls wipers,
washers, lights, indicators - were operated by three steering column mounted stalks.

Flush outside door handles and enlarged taillights, incorporating space for fog and
reversing lamps, were the only exterior changes to the 1100. Mechanical components
remained unchanged although an effort was made to further reduce noise levels and
improve the gear change, increasingly highlighted by contemporary road testers as a
serious weak point.
The TI received new, 6 spoke alloy wheels and hazard lights were made standard across
the range. The GLE was dropped, but the 1100 Elix or LX (the official nomenclature of
the time seems to drift between two names!) was launched. Available in France with three
doors, it featured a 54bhp 1118cc engine and a sporty style matt black grille and wiper
arms, ventilated wheels with exposed wheel nuts and special side stickers. Colour choice
was limited to yellow, orange or brown. Inside, buyers found cloth trimmed seats, a
sports style steering wheel, day/night rear view mirror, fitted carpets and head rests. Fog
and reversing lamps were standard. Servo assisted brakes remained, unfortunately, an
optional extra.
In March 1975, another economy model was added to the range a 944cc estate car.
British buyers had a restricted choice two LS, two GLS and two Specials.

The C2 starts up as the 1100 continues


By 1975, while the 1100 range was in full flower, development on Chrysler's next small
family car had begun in earnest. Knowing a winning formula, Chrysler based the new car
(the C2 project) on Simcas hardware, as opposed to Rootes engineering. The best parts
of the 1100 were employed in the new car including its suspensions system, engines, and
gearboxes. Although the styling was the work of the Ryton-based designers in Coventry,
the resulting car the Chrysler Horizon was very much Simca through and through.
In September 1975, further changes were made to the 1100 range. For the French 1976
model year, the LS models, the 944cc estate car, the GLS hatchback, the Ti three door
and the Special estate car were all dropped. Engine choices were the 944cc 47bhp,
1118cc in 50 bhp low compression or 58 bhp high compression versions and 1294 in
75bhp or 82 bhp versions.
The 1100 GLX arrived essentially a five door LX without the side strips and powered
by the 58bhp 1118cc engine. The LX, the only 3 door left in the range, saw its power
drop by 54 to 50 bhp and its decorative stickers could be replaced by chrome trim. On
both the LX and GLX, servo assisted brakes became a standard item. The GLX could
also be ordered with the 1118 50bhp LX engine which was also used in the VF models.
The 1100 GLX, EX, S as well as the VF2 could be equipped with the semi-automatic box
although on the VF2 this also meant ordering the high compression 58 bhp engine.
All models got rubber over-riders to replace the rubber faced chrome ones and matt black
wiper arms were extended across the range. Inertia-reel safety belts became an option
too. Mechanically, the 1100 got a cylinder block with thicker walls, a modified profile for
the camshaft and an improved water pump with increased flow. In 1976 all 1100s

received a new, smoother, quieter transmission and a dual circuit braking system. The
Special and TI gained the option of headlight wipers.
Britain got a different choice. The range started with the 1100 LE, available with three or
five doors. Next up was the 1100 LX, again with a choice of body shells. The GLS was
offered as a five door and as an estate and the range was topped by two versions of the
Special, a model no longer offered to French buyers. All British 1118cc versions of the
1100 except the commercials came with the 60bhp engine.

The Horizon appears, the 1100 remains


For 1977, the French range was reduced in preparation for the new C2, now named
Horizon. The 944cc and 1294 cc 1100s, except the TI, were all dropped. Special sales
had been steadily falling since 1974, customers preferring either the more economic ES
or the more overtly sporty TI. Special production for France actually ended in July 1976!
The automatic transmission remained an option on all models except the TI and the
commercials. The 1100 range was reduced to the five door base LE with a 50 bhp engine,
GLX with a choice of 50 or 58 bhp engine, ES with the 58bhp unit and TI, the 50 bhp LX
three door, two estate cars - a base LE model and the GLS both with the 58bhp engine the VF1 and VF2 light vans and the pick up truck. The semi-automatic box remained as
an option on the GLX, ES and the two estate cars. A heated rear window became standard
on all cars. The LX gained a single spoke steering wheel and gearlever in the style of the
Chrysler Alpine/Simca 1307 while the GLX got more interior trimmings. A rear
wash/wipe was fitted to the Ti and offered as an option on other models. Radio preequipment was now a factory fit option on the range including an aerial, interference
suppression equipment, a speaker and a mounting console. Other options included
wash/wipe for the headlamps and tinted glass. A step back, though, for the light vans
which got traditional belts instead of inertia-reel safety belts!
Britains 1977 range was quite complex a couple of 1100 LEs, a three door Lx and and
five door GLX, the former with side decals, the latter without but both with the 60bhp
engine. The GLS was only offered as an estate but the ES finally arrived in Britain. Two
Specials continued to be offered to British buyers!

Business fleet and SUV versions: 1100AS and Matra


Rancho
The 1100 AS (Affaires et Societes, or, in English, Businesses and Companies) was
introduced to France in December 1976. Designed to exploit French tax laws, the AS
featured three doors but only two seats which meant a lower tax rate of 20% instead of
33%. The 50bhp engine was standard. While being based on the LX, it was better
equipped including fitted carpet front and rear, headrests, rear fog and reversing lamps,
and dual door mirrors. The limited edition 1100 LX Special was introduced to France in

April 1977 with special stripes, laminated windscreen, rear wiper, radio pre-equipment
tinted glass and quartz iodine headlamps.
In mid 1977, the Simca 1100 based Matra-Simca Rancho was launched. Despite all the
macho plastic that adorned the exterior of the Rancho, it was actually based on the
humble 1100! Structural and mechanical differences from the 1100 were surprisingly few,
and it went on to sell in usefully large volumes.

Sales fall with the Alpine/1308 and Horizon


The 1100's success only gradually subsided. 1976 saw the launch of the Chrysler
Alpine/Simca 1308 which, along with the newly launched Renault 14, began to dent
sales. The real fall took place in 1978, following the Chrysler Horizon's launch.
The Horizon was introduced simultaneously in France as the Chrysler-Simca Horizon and
in North America as the Plymouth Horizon and the Dodge Omni in December 1977.
Production of the 1100 was to continue for four more years, despite its replacement
hitting the market. Three door, estate, and commercial versions of the Horizon were never
made, leaving clear market gaps for the 1100.
For 1978, all French 1100 models using the 1118cc motor standardised the 8.8:1
compression ratio. In January 1978, the LX, GLX ES and Ti faded away. A new GLS five
door hatchback was introduced with a standard of trim very similar to that of the now
deleted ES. The GLS estate car was upgraded at the same time to match its smaller sister.
Both used the 58hp GLX engine and were well equipped, including the seats from the
1100TI, a rear wash/wiper and the option of a Super Confort version with velour
upholstery.
At the other end of the scale, the 1100 VF 3 High Capacity Van was introduced and the
three door base LE model made another appearance, both fitted with the low compression
50bhp engine. A welcome option for the hatchbacks was a sliding steel sunroof. Britains
range was similarly slimmed down to a three door 1100LE, five door LE, GLX, GLS
Estate and a GLS Special. The GLS Special had Special trim but the regular engine and
was promoted as part of the Simcarisma advertising campaign featuring dancing girls.
The range was topped by the 1294cc Special.

Chrysler leaves the scene


In the summer of 1978, Chrysler bailed out of their European operations to focus on their
struggling American operation. They sold all their European plants to the French Peugeot
company, which already controlled Citroen, for an estimated total (including debt
assumption) of around $860 million. OnJuly 10th, 1979, Peugeot announced that
Chrysler Europe was to become the Talbot Group and that all Chrysler-Simca models,
which at that time had an 11% share of the French market, would become Talbot-Simcas.
On January 1st, 1980, Chrysler France officially changed its name to Talbot. Six months

later, for the 1981 model year, the name Simca was replaced by Talbot. The Talbot-Simca
1100 wore a Talbot badge at the front and a Simca badge at the back.
The 1979 range was unchanged for France. The base LE model came as a three or five
door with the 50bhp engine, the GLS as a five door or estate with the 58bhp unit. There
was also a 58bhp base LE estate. The vans and pick up all had the lower compression
50bhp engine. All models got a new black grille with two chrome strips, hitherto
restricted to the LX and GLX. The range continued unchanged into 1980 although the
GLS got quartz iodine driving lamps set into the front grille. The AS model continued to
be trimmed to a level between the LE and the GLS. In Britain, the range was reduced to
an 1100LE three and five door, a GLS Special and a GLS estate all were dropped in
February 1979. Commercials remained on sale in Britain until the early nineteen eighties.
In July 1980, the 1981 range was announced. The base LE was replaced by the identically
equipped LS the only difference being that the LS had the 58 bhp engine. On all models
except the AS and the pick up the semi-automatic box remained an option. The odometers
changed from 5 to 6 digits. Production of saloons and estate ended in July 1981.
After 1100 production ended, the Poissy production lines produced the Peugeot-based
Talbot Samba. The commercial versions of the 1100 continued until the spring of 1985,
with the VF1 and VF2 offering the option of LPG fuel conversion. In July 1983, a
laminated windshield became standard, the wheels from the Horizon LS were used and
the bumpers changed from chrome to matt black. Production finally ended in spring
1985.

A car to be proud of
Car

Year

Simca 1100

1968

Renault 16

1965

Autobianchi Primula 1967


Austin Maxi

1968

Volkswagen Golf

1974

Renault 14

1977

Fiat Strada/Ritmo

1978

The 1100 was, without doubt, a huge success for Simca on the French market. With over
two million built and a 15-year production run, it should be remembered as one of
France's more significant cars. In technical terms, it was also at the cutting edge when it
was launched, offering front wheel drive allied with hatchback versatility in a class that

had yet to be fully converted to the benefits of that extra door. To put that into
perspective, here is a list of other important family hatchbacks and when they were
launched.
As can be seen, Simca really did get the jump on its immediate opposition. The Renault
16 and Maxi really belonged in the class up from the 1100, and the only comparable car
to see the light of day around the same time as the SIMCA 1100 was the Autobianchi
Primula. The Simca's challenge was never really met convincingly until the Volkswagen
Golf was launched some seven years later. Even as late as 1973, major European
manufacturers were launching small saloons without hatchbacks: one only has to look at
the three-box Fiat 128 (1970), Citroen GS (1970), Alfa Romeo Alfasud (1971) and Austin
Allegro (1973) to see just how many companies missed the boat.
Although the 1100 was a huge success, it seemed that Chrysler could not capitalise upon
it when it came to producing a replacement. The Horizon was essentially a re-skinned
1100, and as most of the opposition had caught up by the time, it failed to make anything
like the same impact. So what was the 1100's legacy? Take your pick: the first GTi, the
true creator of the "Golf" class, or the Horizon...

Heuliez variants of the Simca 1100


Heuliez produced several vehicles based on the Simca 1100, starting with the Saharienne
cabriolet concept car in 1968. In one case, they took the standard 1100 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 Citroen 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 VF2 Fourgonette, the Matra-Simca Rancho was constructed with the help of
some impact resistant plastic and other off-roading equipment; it transformed the
ordinary van into a capable leisure vehicle. Stylistically the Matra-Rancho was at least
twenty years early. Heuliez, seeing this example, built 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.

The Talbot Wind was one stylish edition of the 1100, available as a retrofit to existing
pickups or as a new car made in Deux Sevres. Like the Rancho, the Wind offered no real
off-road ability, despite looking as if it could climb every mountain. 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 modular nature
of the accessory pack, so if one did not want their surf racks attached, they would simply
unbolt. However, lacking the Ranchos finish, the Wind was not a commercial success.
When the 1100 pick-up slipped out of production in 1985, the Wind followed.

Production: enviable numbers


Total production of the Simca 1100, including CKD kits was 2,188,737 between 1967
and 1985. This compares favourably with the Horizon at 893,846 between 1977 and 1985
and the Simca 1000 with 1,935,098 cars built between 1961 to 1978. Cars and estate cars
accounted for 2,139,400 units while commercial vehicles totalled 39,608.
Year Production

Year Production

1968 138,242

1976 177,820

1969 146,095

1977 142,099

1970 142,014

1978 72,695

1971 197,201

1979 53,879

1972 260,835

1980 41,664

1973 296,984

1981 19,876

1974 259,807

1982 12,796

1975 193,189

1983 14,613

1976 177,820

1984 8,703
1985 3,496

Footnote: Simca 1100s were assembled by Phillipsons in Sweden on the same lines that
built Mercedes.

Simca 1100 Spcial 72

Simca 1100 Break GLS 72

Intrieur de Simca 1100 1981

Simca 1100 Spcial

Simca 1100 1968

Simca 1100 GLS 1974

Simca 1100 VF2 1974

Tableau de bord Simca 1100 TI

Simca 1100 1981

Simca 1100

Simca 1100 Spcial

Simca 1100 berline