Simca 1307 / 1308 / 1309
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
The Simca 1307 was launched in July 1975. A modern, front-wheel drive hatchback, it was one of the first such cars in that class, along with the Volkswagen Passat, and became the 1976 European Car of the Year. It was a classic front-drive, medium-sized, five-door hatchback family saloon.
The model was sold under a variety of names, including Simca 1308 and 1309 models (with larger engines), Chrysler Alpine
(name used for the Irish, UK and New Zealand markets), Chrysler 150 (Spanish market), Talbot 1510 / Talbot Alpine / Talbot 150 (a facelifted version launched by PSA after its takeover of Chrysler Europe) and Talbot Solara (the saloon version).
More upmarket models were designated 1308 (1508 in some markets) and 1309. Styled by British designer Roy Axe, the Simca 1307, along with the then recently introduced Volkswagen Passat
, was one of several full-size European family hatchbacks inspired by the Renault 16
that had defined the sector back in 1965.
It formed part of a then expanding range of such models from Chrysler Europe, and as such faced direct competition in the new car and secondhand car market from the Renault 16
(the 1307's inspiration), and the much more up-to-date VW Passat
. Apart from that, most of the hatchbacks were smaller in size, or (in the case of the Renault 20) were both larger and had bigger engines.
In the 1970s the most popular mid-size cars in Europe were still traditional sedans like Ford Taunus, Ford Cortina
, Opel Ascona (Vauxhall Cavalier) and Peugeot 305. The Alpine was originally manufactured in Poissy in France and, as part of the British Government's automobile
manufacturing survival package, it was decided to re-tool Chryslers Ryton (Coventry) factory, to assemble Alpines, in place of Avengers
(production of which was switched to Linwood, near Glasgow).
Production of right-hand-drive Alpines began in Ryton at the end of the summer of 1976. CKD kits from Ryton were subsequently exported to New Zealand, where they were assembled by Todd Motors (later Mitsubishi Motors NZ) between 1977
and about 1983.
The Simca 1307/1308/1309 (depending on the mechanical specification) used a five-door hatchback bodyshell, with front-wheel-drive, a transversely-mounted four-cylinder engine and four-wheel independent suspension
. Unlike the British built Chrysler Avenger (which was manufactured with 4 speed manual transmission
only), the Europe only 1592cc Simca 1307 could be optioned with a US built 3 speed automatic.
The Simca 1307's wheelbase was 8ft. 6.5in., and the overall length 13ft. 11 in. Front suspension
was by wishbones and longitudinal torsion bars, which were anchored under the front seats, where they had height adjustment control. Rear suspension
was by coil springs and trailing arms. The Simca followed the by then well-established hatchback lines; all models had doors, and the distinctive, white grained plastic bumpers
Under The Hood
The water-cooled four-cylinder engine of the Simca 1307 was conventional in all respects, and had a fine reputation in Simca and later Chrysler models, along with a very lengthy history. Although the front wheel drive
application dated back to the original Simca 1100 of 1967
, when it had a bore, stroke and capacity of 74 x 65 mm, 1,118 c.c., but well before that there was the 1961 Simca 1000
(rear-engined) with 68 x 65 mm, 944 c.c., and going even further back into history was the engine's true origin, in the Simca Aronde of 1951, when it was 72 x 75 mm, 1,221 c.c., and had only a three-bearing crankshaft. It was therefore as venerable, and reputedly as reliable, as British Leyland's old A-Series unit.
Through the life of the Simca 1100
the engine was progressively improved and enlarged. Two versions were available on British-assembled models, and no fewer than six versions throughout Europe. The two British-market units were: 76.7 x 70 mm, 1,294 c.c. 68 bhp (DIN) at 5,600 rpm. 79 Ib.ft. at 2,800 rpm; and the 76.7 x 78 mm, 1,442 c.c. 85 bhp (DIN) at 5,600 rpm. 94 lb. ft. at 3,000 rpm. The 1,294 c.c. engine was sold in 55 bhp and 82 bhp in Europe, the 1,442 c.c. engine in 75 bhp form, and finally a 1,592 c.c. 80.6 x 78 mm 88 bhp unit. Both of the British engines were fitted with single carburettors, that of the 1,442 c.c. unit being a twin choke component.