Simca 1500

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Simca 1500

1963 - 1975
4 cyl.
81 bhp at 5400 rpm
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
90+ (approx)
Number Built:
2 star
Simca 1500
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2


The Simca 1500 was a strictly conventional model with a sedan body which adhered faithfully to then current styling conventions, but managed to achieve a certain distinction through purity of line and absence of non-functional ornamentation. 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. We have covered the Simca 1300 in some detail in a seperate article, however the 1500 was arguably the car that faced the biggest competition if it were to succeed, and that competition came from the Fiat 1500.

Behind the Wheel

Slim pillars gave the four-door body good all-round vision and the rear extremities were sufficiently prominent to guide tlhe driver without producing any dated tail fin effect. The suspension was by coil springs and wishbones at front, with anti-roll bar. The rigid rear axle was carried on two longitudinal arms, one each side, plus two shorter ones connected to the differential casing. Lateral location was by oblique Panhard rod and the springs were coils. Telescopic dampers with double action, thermostatically controlled, were used all round.

The brakes were discs in front, 9fin diameter, and 10 in drums at rear. The steering was by worm and roller and the tyres were 5.90 by 13. Simca switched to a five-bearing engine for tlhe Aronde years before the 1500 was released, so this type of construction was retained. So why the 1300 model? At the time there were taxes based on engine size, so it was not so much a case of creating a cheaper car, but one that would be cheaper to own. The 1300 engine was 74 by 75 mm (1290cc) and had a compression of 8.5 to 1, it producing 62 bhp (SAE) at 5200 rpm - midway between the outputs of the previous Rush and Monaco engines.

For the Simca 1500 the swept volume was increased to 1482cc and a twin-choke downdraught carburettor was used, raising power output to 81 bhp at 5400 rpm. A centrifugal oil filter is built into the fan pulley on both engines. Transmission was through four-speed, all syndhro-mesh gearbox with steering column lever. Maximum speed of the 1300 was claimed to be over 80 mph and the 1500 substantially higher.

Simca 1500 Wagon

The wagon versions of the Simca 1500 had some interesting features. All had split tailgates - the rear windscreen would wind down into the bottom part, which could then be folded down. The benefit of the design was that it allowed the access to the cargo compartment without opening the full tailgate. The downside, however, was that this design made it impossible to fit a rear window demister - not such a good thing in cold climates, where the 1500 was mainly sold. Another quirky feature was that the 1500 GL version's cargo floor, which doubled as the cover for the spare wheel (stowed flat), could be removed and, thanks to four folding legs, converted into a picnic table. A 1500 Familial version had two child seats (facing each other) in the cargo compartment, and a luggage rack on the roof.

1976 European Car of the Year

In September 1966 Simca presented updated both the 1300 and 1500 models, these becoming the 1301/1501. The sedans featured a new, extended front end, and a significantly stretched rear, which resulted in a larger boot and a more stately profile. The wagons, while also receiving the new front end, retained their previous rear design. All models were also given new interiors. In 1969 and 1970 respectively, Simca presented the more "sporty" Special versions of the 1501 and 1301. The range continued to be produced until 1975, when Simca unveiled a replacement, the Simca 1307, which went on to become the 1976 European Car of the Year.

While being quite popular, especially in France and Germany, the Simca 1500 is best remembered for its idiosyncrasies. Both models came with column shift for left-hand drive markets, but the right-hand drive versions were converted to floor shift. The conversion for some reason resulted in a "mirror" shift pattern, with the first and second gear being closer to the driver, and the third and fourth farther to the left.

Simca 1500 Quick Specifications:

Dimensions: Wheelbase, 95.25in; track, front, 52 in; rear, 51.2 in; length, 167.1 in; width, 62.1 in; height, laden, 53.35 in; kerb weight, 2110 lb.
Engine: Four cylinder; Bore and stroke - 74 mm by 75 mm; Capacity - 1482cc; Power - 81 bhp at 5400 rpm.
Transmission: 4 speed manual, Ratios: First - 3.65; Second - 2.06; Third - 1.38; Top - 1 to 1; Final Drive - 4.44.
Dimensions: 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.
Simca 1500 Sedan
Simca 1500 Tourist
Simca 1500 Wagon

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Also see:

Simca 1300
The History of Simca (USA Edition)
1969 Sinca Sunbeam Color Codes
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