Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2
Both the Simca 1300 and a 1500 were announced at the 1963
Geneva salon. When the 1300 was released, Simca
insisted that it was an addition to the line, and not a replacement for the Aronde. With the 1300, Simca
managed to build around the healthy five-bearing 1300 engine a body with more space and much more modern styling, with good attention to detail.
From any angle the car looked right in proportion and line, without sharply distinguishing features. There was a bit of the stretched Simca 1000
look, but a conventional motor-front/drive-rear layout gave it more balance than the rear engined cars. It also made for far more luggage space, with only minor annoyance from the rear wheel wells. By shaping the fuel tank as a giant well for the spare wheel, under the boot floor, the designers used every available inch over the live axle.
Up front the bonnet was hinged along its forward edge. There was ample space around the sturdy power plant, which was somewhat hidden by its air cleaner and accessories. Inside, the front bench made a comfortable angle with its squab, a shade too vertical perhaps, but never tiring. The fore-aft adjustment lever was located in the middle - which went against the norm as most had it located on the drivers side.
There were several proper detail touches of that sort. There was plenty of adjustment to allow tall men to sit back reasonably, though the very tall who liked to sit closer to the wheel would end up rubbing their knees. No matter how far it was pushed rearwards leg room remained for the passengers in the back.
Access to all seats was outstanding, with the front doors in particular opening almost straight out. All four doors had wind down windows and neat door releases under the grab handles. The window cranks in front were low enough to require leaning forward, however, and three keys for doors, ignition and boot may have been typically European, but it was never all that practical.
The dash was extremely stylish and again good, driver common sense triumphed with a large round dial situated up where the driver could see it. Apart from the speedometer, most information was left to lights sprinkled around this central binnacle, with a petrol gauge separate and directly below it. The two-spoke black steering wheel never obstructed your information. Knobs were easily reached and two small lidded glove boxes were fitted, one at each end of the dash.
Looking out from the drivers position, a short bonnet with good fall-away made for brilliant visibility and made the Simca 1300 an easy car to place in traffic. The ride itself was firm, and some road testers described it as bouncy, though we suspect this was likely caused by the wrong tyre
pressures. It had an unhappy tendency to fall off ithe camber, right or left if you let go, and it displayed considerable back-axlie hop when hustled through the bends and lacked a self-centre action in the steering, turning more into a corner than the driver intended.
Testing also displayed a tendency to load up on idle, with fluffy pickup after over-running. It was not an immediate starter when hot. They were also prone to rear-axle whine. The engine worked very audibly if really thrashed, and despite how hard you worked it there was not enough passing torque in tight places, and it was not aided by a catchy shift which took most drivers some getting used to. There was a definite power drop off if you held third gear right to the end. Although apparent, the sturdy five-bearing motor never sounded in any danger. Solid value was the obvious Simca aim, not sports, though built-in reliability and durability seemed to tempt plenty of family-sports drivers.
Simca 1300 Quick Specifications:
Four cylinder; Bore and stroke - 74 mm by 75 mm; Capacity - 1290cc; Power - 65 (SAE) at 5200 rpm; Torque - 73.8 ft/lbs at 2600 rpm; Compression - 8.5 to 1.
4 speed manual, Ratios: First - 3.65; Second - 2.06; Third - 1.38; Top - 1 to 1; Final Drive - 4.44.
Wheelbase - 8 ft, 3.5 in; Front track - 4 ft 4 in; Rear track 4 ft - 3 in; Length - 13 ft 11 in; Width - 5 ft 2 in; Height - 4 ft 7 in; Clearance - 5.3 in; Turning circle - 32 ft.