Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
1978 European Car of the Year
It was a little ironic that Chrysler felt they needed to unload their European operation, consisting of Chrysler UK, and Simca in France, to Peugeot in 1978 before the Horizon came on the market. The Horizon was the car intended to revive and strengthen the American subsidiary, and sales figures were excellent from the word go, and Europe's motoring writers chose the Horizon as their car of the year in 1978.
It looks a plain-Jane today, but at the time the Horizon was a modern car in concept, Chrysler following the GM trend in producing a 'worldwide' car suitable for both Europe and the USA (although the US version did differ mechanically from its European counterpart). And a global car of the 1970's meant front-wheel drive, with a transverse four-cylinder engine, this layout having proved to give excellent handling, with the bonus of releasing extra room inside the car thanks to the absence of a bulky transmission
The Horizon, or Project C2 as it was known inside Simca during development, appeared first in five versions with two engine sizes for the range, the 1118cc and 1294cc units inherited from the old Simca 1100
which provided the basis of the new car. Both engines were pushrod, overhead-valve, four-cylinder units with aluminium heads, and both were simple and unsophisticated although electronic ignition was a welcome standard feature.
The 1294cc engine was used in the top-of-the-range GLS, and had a surprisingly high compression ratio of 9.5:1, helping to produce an output of 67 bhp at 5600 rpm, giving the car a more than adequate top speed around 97 mph. More important in a car of this type was the fuel consumption, which averaged out in the region of 32mpg.
Suspension was by double wishbones with longitudinal torsion bars
and anti-roll bar
at the front, while the rear was taken care of by trailing arms and anti-roll bar
. A typical feature of French cars was the way in which the suspension
dealt with rough road surfaces, and the Horizon was no exception.
Bringing out the Horizon after most of the other major manufacturers had produced their hatchbacks had its advantages in that there were no obvious weaknesses in the car. The Horizon may have been bog standard, but it was also a competently conceived and engineered car, deserving of its 1978 award, and it certainly gave Chrysler a much needed shot in the arm as it started a new life under Peugeot. It was also the first British-built hatchback of this size - launched two years before the Vauxhall Astra, three years before the European Ford Escort Mark III and five years before the Austin Maestro.
It did not officially replace any of the British Chryslers, despite being a similar size to the traditional rear-wheel drive Avenger sedans and wagons which had been on sale from 1970 and did not finish production until 1981. As a result of the acquisition of Chrysler's European car division by Peugeot in 1978, both the Chrysler and Simca brands were dropped and the car was then sold under the Talbot brand in all its European markets.
Chrysler Horizon Quick Specifications:
Front transverse mounted, in-line four-cylinder, 76.7 mm (3. 02 in) bore x 70mm (2.75in) stroke - 1294 cc (78.9cu in). Maximum power (DIN) 67 bhp at 5600rpm; maximum torque (DIN) 77.51b ft at 2800rpm; cast-iron cylinder block and aluminium head. Compression ratio 9.5:1. 5 main bearings. 2 valves
per cylinder operated via rockers and pushrods by a single block mounted camshaft. Single Solex 32 B ISA carburettor.
Single dry plate clutch and four speed manual gearbox. Ratios 1st 3.900, 2nd 2.312, 3rd 1.524, 4th 1.080, reverse 3.769. Cylindrical gear final drive, ratio 3.705:1.
Front-independent by double wishbones, torsion bars and anti-roll bar
, rear-independent by trailing arms, coil springs and anti-roll bar
Rack and pinion. Turns from lock to lock 4.35.
Discs front and rear.
4.5 in x 13 in.
145SR x 13.
4 door, 4 seats. Integral.
Dimensions and weight:
Wheelbase 99.21 in; track-front 55.91 in. rear- 53. 94 in; length 155.91 in; width 66. 14 in; height 55.51 in; ground clearance 7. 48 in; weight 21501b; turning circle 33.5ft; fuel tank capacity 10.3ga/.
Meximum speed 95 mph; acceleration 0-60mph 13 secs; fuel consumption approx. 32 mpg.