FIAT, Simca, Chrysler and Talbot

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Talbot, another poor child

Once, in 1926, the management of FIAT - then with capital letters as in “Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino” - sent Henri Theodore Pigozzi to Paris to set up the FIAT importership for France. Three years later, the enterprising Italian managed this so well that he started assembling FIATS in Paris.

With that he earned so much money that he could take over the Donnet brand in 1934. That was also the time to really become your own boss. That is why the Société Industrielle Mécanique et Carrosserie was established. And let that be the first letters of Simca.


It took until 1936 for the first Simcas to come up for sale. Those two years were actually used to tweak FIATs a bit. For example, the Simca 5 was actually a FIAT Toppolino. After the war, Simca continued to play on loan at FIAT. The first very own Simca only appeared in 1953, the Simca Aronde. Because marketing had not yet been invented at the time, the factory was very surprised at the good sales of their first fruits. Up to the end of production in 1961, more than a million units were sold. In the meantime, Simca had taken over the French Ford factory in 1954. This also changed the Ford Vedette into a Simca. The Ariane and the Chambord were Simcas derived from the ex Ford in a somewhat later phase.

In 1961 Simca presented the extremely successful Simca 1000, the first Simca with the rear engine. The stylishly elegant 1300 and 1500 cc models followed in 1964. The 1100 - with its advertising campaign that was quite characteristic for that time - was also very successful after its introduction in 1968.


In England, the Rootes group had existed since 1932. Hillman, Humber, Commer, Singer and Sunbeam were among the group that Clement-Talbot joined in 1935. But that brand disappeared soon after the merger. The aforementioned brands continued to exist under their own banner. In 1967 the Rootes concern was completely taken over by the American Chrysler concern. In the Benelux, this resulted in the disappearance of all Rootes brand names except Sunbeam. And the Rootes name changed to Chrysler UK. In 1970 Chrysler acquired a majority stake in Simca, which therefore became Chrysler France. Then it became a somewhat unclear mix in terms of take and models that is too complicated for this text.


In the meantime, the Chrysler group had run into financial difficulties and the former Chrysler France households were transferred toCitroën concern. In 1979 the whole event was once again christened as the new, umbrella brand 'Talbot'. And despite the extensive advertising campaign, that was not a success. Talbot should have become an independent brand alongside Peugeot and Citroën. But the acquisition made the new group the largest car manufacturer in Europe. But since 1979 more and more people came to Talbot. With the Tagora as a typical low point. In 1981 it was decided to fully integrate Talbot in Peugeot.


In the meantime the Talbots were little loved and the quality level for the potential buyers was not in doubt. Survivors are now relatively scarce. And not very wanted. Or very unloved. But a nice Talbot for a low price? That is a nice classic with an interesting history.


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Dynamic and elegant: The Simca 1301-1501
Not very exciting: a Arizona Talbot


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  1. And don't forget the Simca Matras. You can still see these sports cars driving regularly in France. I think that is also sweet cars: sporty lines, advanced construction and sharp steering, without the bombing that adorns German sports cars. By the way, wasn't the Simca 1000 rally 2 the first sporty family car (and not the VW claimed as such)?

  2. It is a shame that the beautiful brand Simca has been destroyed by the greatness of Chrysler. The latter was taken over by Fiat, which was Simca's birthplace. And so the circle is round again.

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