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The Chrysler Simca Horizon (Dodge, Plymouth, Sunbeam)

Chrysler Simca Horizon
ER Classics Desktop 2022

The Chrysler Simca Horizon was intended as a 'world car'

That means it was designed for rows of buyers on both sides of the Atlantic. But in execution, the European and North American (Dodge and Plymouth) versions of the vehicle actually turned out to have little in common. The Horizon was actually born to replace the Simca 1100 in France because it was getting a bit outdated. The Horizon had the transversely placed Simca “Poissy engine” of resp. 1, 1 and 1 liter pushrod, overhead valve engines, a 3-speed gearbox, torsion bar suspension, the Horizon received praise for its sharp styling, smooth ride and friendly handling.

The SX version that joined the Motor Show series in October 1978 attracted a great deal of interest because of the then highly innovative on-board computer. That piece of thinking got its information from three sources, a clock, a 'débitmètre' (flow meter) mounted on the fuel supply to the carburetor and a distance meter via the drive for the odometer. With the help of these three components, the "computer" was able to calculate the current fuel consumption and average speed plus provide information about distances and times.


And in 1979, that Horizon was the car of the Year, a title that has never given a guarantee of success. But still ... The Chrysler Simca Horizon scored 251 points, the Fiat Ritmo took second place with 239 points.

The Chrysler Simca proved that a car of the year does not necessarily have to be a powerhouse

On the test bench the four-cylinder only delivered 45 hp to the front wheels. It was funny that apparently at that time 'the environment' was already thought of by making the mixture lean. The engine really needed its choke and also asked for the time to warm up. But in the 'catch-up area' between the 80-120 km / h, the car did well thanks to the good spacing of the four-speed gearbox. The spacing was fine. But the operation of the box and the whole was a bit vague.

Behind the engine room, the Horizon was really French

The dashboard knew the clear, but sober features of a Simca. The suspension and the seats were very soft. The explanation for this was found in the then far from optimal quality of the French road network. The shock absorption was found to be in order and thus prevented seasickness.

The rapid pollution of the rear window was characteristic of this type of obliquely sawn-off cars. And the necessary rear window wiper was optional. Just like a windshield made of safety glass.

When Chrysler Europe collapsed in 1978 and the remains were taken over by Peugeot, the Chrysler-Simca Horizon became the Talbot Horizon. The successor of the Horizon, the Arizona, which still dates from the old nest, was marketed as a Peugeot 309.

Meanwhile, 'Horizons' are fairly rare appearances

They were never consciously preserved and most will have been reincarnated at least once through the blast furnaces. But such, let it be a 'Chrysler Simca, Sunbeam Talbot' Horizon, is now an endearingly dated classic with historically charged naming and extremely limited commercial value. And that does not detract from the emotional value that a lover has or gives to it.

 

4 Comments

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  1. A few club members of the Simca Automobiel Club Nederland cherish this model. There is even one that is less than 100 !!! kilometer on the clock. A bright orange specimen.

  2. The car is a Chrysler Sunbeam and that is an Avenger-based rear wheel driver, in contrast to the front-wheel drive Chrysler / Simca / Talbot / Dodge Horizon as the successor to the Simca 1100. Chrysler Europe had an English and French branch before the acquisition by PSA.

  3. Have I ever driven one during the vacation to France. Was a free replacement car. Nothing wrong with that, but everything is said with it. I wouldn't spend a dime on it and it will never be a classic.

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