(first posted 1/23/2012) I spent many happy days behind the wheel of a Simca Aronde exactly like this one. It was in Colorado, and I drove it on all of the most scenic and challenging roads in the Rockies: over Trail Ridge Drive, Mount Evans (the highest paved road in the US), Pikes Peak, and all sorts of rough jeep trails. And not just once, but repeatedly. It never missed a beat or let me down. Working its four-speed on-the-tree shifter furiously to extract every last horsepower out of the 1290 cc “Flash” four, I was king of the road. Remarkably, the Aronde I drove was almost in the exact same condition as this one, right down to one vital detail:
It wasn’t running. Like this one, it was a discarded junker, sitting under a big pine tree next to the cabin my family rented every summer in the Rockies. I was ten or so, and after our daily hikes in the mountains, I was always eager to get back into its musty and dusty cabin, slip behind the wheel, and “take off”. Mastered that column shifter…no wonder I ended up with a (real) Peugeot 404. My travels are best approximated in this video:
although it’s the bigger V8 Vedette, and has the Rush-Matic automatic overdrive. Close enough.
Now, I’m a firm believer that we are very capable of learning new tasks by just playing them out in our imagination. And if anyone was ever over-qualified to slip behind my parent’s Dodge wagon a few years later, and just take off, it was me. Not that the Simca was my only set of mental training wheels, but I certainly logged more hours in it; well, maybe that and the junked ’48 Dodge on the Yoder’s farm. I shudder to think of just how many hours were spent that way; enough, on to the the Aronde.
First though, a brief message from its sponsor: Simca’s history is a bit convoluted. It was Fiat’s extension into France, wholly owned for its early years, including the beginning of the Aronde era. Until the Aronde arrived in 1951, all Simca’s were actually Fiats, like this Simca 8 Sport, which was really a Fiat 508C, despite the Simca badges and its proud and very French-looking owner. And don’t let the long hood fool you; it had all of 50 hp under the hood. Tasty, nevertheless.
The Aronde arrived in 1951, Simca’s first non-Fiat mobile. But the engine was still the Fiat-designed Flash four, with 1221 cc and 45 hp. And I suspect that under the skin, it probably bore more than passing resemblance to the Fiat 1400. Typical for Fiats of the time, it was very conventional in its design and construction; not the stereotypical exotic Frenchie-mobile, like the Panhard. And don’t let those midgets in this rendering fool you; it was sized like a typical mid-level European sedan of the times.
That first version was the Series 9. In 1955, an updated 90A was introduced, which our featured car represents. It was built through 1958. I’m just guessing its exact year of manufacture.
The Flash engine (this picture is not from the featured car) was now packing 1290 cc, and between 55 and 58 hp. Enough to take an Aronde to a top speed of 82 mph, and not just in one’s imagination. Zero to sixty: 24 seconds. Typical for the times.
Now it should be noted that Arondes were not unusual in America during the mid-late fifties import boom. And after Chrysler bought a 15% share of Simca from Ford in 1958 (which they got from selling their French ops to Simca, which resulted in the flat-head V8 powered Vedette), Simcas were typically sold by Chrysler dealers, although not always.
It wasn’t just all sedans like these being off-loaded the old-fashioned way at a US harbor. A charming hard-top coupe was available for lovers of that genre.
And for even more zest (and money) Simca also sold sporty variants, like this handsome Coupe De Ville. Cars like this were a bit of a challenge to sell in the US, because their coach-built bodies were expensive, yet with some 60 or so hp under the hood, it was hardly a threat to that domestic Coupe De Ville.
The convertible here sports the moniker “Week End Convertible”, which was a bit of a departure from the the name it carried back home. Odd. Simca.
In 1959, the final version of the Aronde, the P60 appeared, along with a new/revised and delightfully named “Rush” engine, now with five main bearings. The Super-Rush even boasted 70 hp.
And a new sports convertible, the delightfully breezy Oceane evoked a touch of Thunderbird as well as Italian in its designer suit. Nice.
The Aronde pretty much “made” Simca, turning it from a small Fiat outpost into substantial operation. Which is of course why Chrysler wanted it, in their ill-fated effort to match GM and Ford in Europe. In the US, the Aronde met the same fate as so many other imports, dwindling away in the face of the Big Three compacts, as well as the domination of VW.
The Aronde was replaced with the Simca 1300/150). If any found there way to the US, I’ve never seen one. The baby-Corvair rear-engined 1000 (above) gave Simca a genuine Renault-fighter, and some of them made the trip stateside. And Simca’s last hurrah was the brilliant 100/1204, the true winner of our 1971 small-car shoot out.
It was a nice surprise finding this Aronde on the side of a back-country road. My only regret was that I didn’t get a chance to “drive” it. I know it would have started right up for me.
An interesting little car. My mother recalls a neighbor from Ypsilanti who owned a Simca in the late 50s, so it was probably one of these. To me, this would be one of the more attractive cars from that import boom.
You bring back some great memories of all the hours I spent on imaginary drives. Most of my wheel time was in old but still functional cars, like my Aunt Eula and Uncle Bill’s 52 Chevy Styleline. I became an expert with a 3 on the tree in that car. Looking at the interior photo of the Simca brought back to mind the “old car” smell of that old Chevy, that was probably around 20 years old at the time. I am sure that I logged the mental equivalent of 20,000 miles in it.
Re: the imaginary driving: Isn’t that the way we all start out? Probably most of us of a certain age had a crib toy with a steering wheel on it, and then we made the natural progression to ‘driving’ our fathers or someone’s car.
When I was a kid, one of the hillbilly neighbors had a collection of 1963 Fords in the backyard. They had two 4 door sedans and a wagon. This would have been in 1970, and by then most of their contemporaries would have been off the road. IIRC, the one running car WAS a 1963 Galaxie, these must have been parts cars.
Many of the neighborhood kids would play cops and robbers throughout the whole neighborhood, eventually someone would say “let’s go to the Burnett’s and use their cars as the getaway cars” and the whole troop would ramble down there and pretend to be involved in car chases with the police.
Guess who always got to be the driver?
“Probably most of us of a certain age had a crib toy with a steering wheel on it,”
Mine had a shift lever too. And the horn squeaked.
I recently found an engine for sale can you tell me what these may be worth and would it be worth buying for resale as I’ve never seen one before
Cool little car. If only someone would build a modern variant with a 1.4 liter 4, disc brakes, and four wheel independent suspension. If the weight could be kept low, it would be a fun ride.
I had no idea these cars ever were sold in America! They are popular classics in France now, and good value for money. There are quite a few of them left, especially 4-door models. They are rather easy and cheap to buy and to maintain, since they don’t have the cult status of Citroens for instance. They are the kind of classics that bring smiles on people’s faces. You can leave them unattended in a parking lot (try to do that with an E-type).
My grandfather bought his in 1955. He was the local schoolteacher and his Aronde was the fastest car in the village (not much competition around, if truth be told), therefore he was an important man. Beside status, that gave him the extra responsibility of driving pregnant women expecting imminent delivery to the hospital in the nearest smalltown 15 miles away. The little “Flash” engine did what it could (and so did my sweaty grandpa behind the wheel), but these were 15 miles of downhill, winding, dirt mountain roads, and in several instances the woman’s waters broke in the backseat of the Aronde somewhere along the way. Each and every mother and baby came safe and sound to town, though. That’s what a great little car it was.
Here in Australia they were extremely popular when new, but I only saw the 4 door sedans and locally-made wagons. The P60 was the last Simca sold here, so few people remember the name.
An Aronde, a Sidekick and a late 80s Ski-Doo snowmobile makes for a very odd collection.
For some reason I really don’t remember this. I suppose Dodge City was a remote outpost for some of these imports. Since I left in 61 for places overseas I just don’t remember them. I guess this one is easy to forget for the short time it spent here.
So the simca serves as your training wheels, eh Paul? Cosiderably cooler and more realistic than a little tykes, for sure! Though a little tykes arguably is more mobile… If only I had something so real to play with as a kid…
Well, Paul, does this approximate the movie in the balloon you had over your head when you were “driving” it?
Did it have the mysterious floating gloved fingers?
BTW- the phrase “genuine Renault fighter” is a real ROTFL.
Yes it does! Perfect; I’m going to have to embed it in the piece now. Thanks.
Marvelous commercial! I don’t recall hearing Vivaldi in any American commercials. What’s with the RUSH / ROUTE buttons? Is that overdrive?
Yes; overdrive. Actually, having done some research, it only worked on second gear, giving a “third” gear to fill the big hole between second and top, which was made slightly “longer”. Typical French!
Sounds a bit like the variable pitch arrangement Austin and Wolseley used on their 110 models using a DG auto
It was called “Rushmatic” transmission. Really an overdrive system operating on third speed, not 2nd. Lower differential ratio (higher numerically). Tire size was slightly reduced to avoid problems with 1st and 2nd gears. With “Rush” button OD enclenched at 70 mph for better acceleration and mountain driving. On highways one used “Route” and the change varied between 32 and 55 mph, depending on throttle opening. Also used on the later Brazilian version but the system acted upon the 3 speeds, meaning six forward ratios; named 6M (6 marchas).
I got to wondering about the name Aronde – my Mac’s translation software says it means Swallow. Apparently not all that many Americans ever swallowed one of them. I certainly don’t remember seeing many in western WA when I was a kid.
My own training wheels were an abandoned mid-1920’s coupe with nothing but chicken wire left of the roof and a weathered hard-rubber steering wheel. Oh, the places I drove that thing…. Eventually someone dragged it away, and I mean “dragged” – the narrow wood-spoke wheels left their marks on our oil-mat road, and they were there for years.
Maybe the swallows was more present in the Eastern coast?
And I spotted this French vintage ad of the Aronde from 1960 at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3ozi7_1960-simca-aronde_news
Is that the official CC Cadillac with its hood up at 0:48? Sacré bleu!
Yep, “Aronde” is an archaic form of “Hirondelle” (ie. swallow), which is no longer used except in “queue d’aronde” (which is what you call dovetail joint). Originaly the car was called “Simca 9 Aronde” but everybody called it just “Aronde” so the “9” was soon scrapped officially.
Come to think of it, Simca in the 1950s might be the last example (give or take) of a French carmaker still giving “true” names to its cars, names that actually referred to something real (animal, place, whatever).
So that’s what the name of the literary Saint’s car meant. (In the Leslie Charteris novels, Simon Templar drove an eight-cylinder Hirondel.) Hmm — I never knew that.
I can’t believe I’m not the only one who made that connection. Haven’t read those book in decades, but still instantly recognized it.
I remember at the ’64-5 New York World’s Fair,the Chrysler Pavilion had two rides.One was supposed to be an assembly line,where you sat in a Simca 1300 body shell and rode past cartoon images of workers.That was as close as I ever got to a Simca! Oh,the other ride? A few laps around a small track in a Turbine car!! Not for the general public,mind you.You had to be Invited.And I was!!
Quite pleasant looking cars. I wouldn’t mind one myself.
I do remember the Calgary Pick and Pull had a Simca 1300 about 6-7 years back. It was fairly rotten and they crushed it pretty quickly. So there was at least one about but no idea if it was officially sold in Canada or not.
OMG I havent seen one of those in years I owned one for about 3 months a $ 80 rust bucket but it went ok for what it was and got me to and from work on memorable outing in that car resulted in an engine fire so I had to do a rough rewire for ignition to get home I never went far in it again. The p60 was a popular car in NZ back in the day my uncle had an Etoile which I think used the lower power Flash engine. While hunting Morris parts in Tassie I ran across several of these on a farm including a P60 wagon and 2 Vedettes. All Simcas are very rare here now rust took most of them out especially the rear engine models.These are unusual survivors
hi may i ask bryce how he got these photos of 3 simcas 1000 as they are mine from new zealand and woul like to talk to him and other simca owners thanks ivan
Wheels on Windsor we spoke you live near me Ivan
hi give us a contact for and leve on my trade me site cheers
Does anyone know who is interested in a 4 cylinder 1956 Simca Aronde 90A engine with 3 speed on column transmission I have? My phone number is 860-961-5028 in Connecticut USA
here are them in new zealand
What a remarkably conventional French car. That must be unconventional to the French then, huh?
I have never seen 2 people less happy to pose with car than the people in the black and white photo.
I spotted this vintage Australian ad from 1964 (last year of the Aronde), the Aronde got a 4-door station-wagon version who was only available Down Under.
and there additionnal pictures of the Aussie Aronde at http://www.fregate.info/article-21178745.html
I saw a P60 wagon a few years ago, I believe I have a photo of it, I’ll have a look this weekend
My grandfather drove a 1204 but it was just before I could remember things, too bad.
That Oceane looks a lot like the Sunbeam Alpine/Tiger other than both ending up in Chyslers incapable hands do they share a design history?
Probably not. That look was “in the air” at the time. The merger with Rootes didn’t come until some years later.
And Chrysler’s purchase of Rootes Group spelled the end of the Alpine Tiger, since they weren’t keen on buying motors from a competitor.
The supposed reason that Chrysler killed off the Tiger is that Chrysler’s new for 1964 light weight small block LA 273 V8 had a distributor located at the rear of the intake manifold which created an insurmountable interference conflict with the firewall. Even if it could be somehow made to fit there was no clearance to perform maintenance. The Ford small block used in the Tiger is narrower and has its distributor in the front where it can be easily serviced just as god intended.
Chrysler had been slowly increasing its stake in Rootes since 1964 and took control in 1967, The Tiger was in production from 1964 to 1967. I have always wonted to know if Chrysler actually purchased any 289s from Ford? I have seen a Chrysler ad from the time which shows a Sunbeam Tiger. I find it hard to believe that Chrysler couldn’t solve the the distributor problem. I think that the new Chrysler UK had so many new bits and pieces to integrate together that it was and easy accounting decision to make. Do we have resources to devote to update this one low volume specialty product? Unfortunately they eliminated the entire category of Tiny Hot Rod Terror completely without developing a new version.
Didn’t the Dodge/Plymouth Omni/Horizon have an extremely large Simca content?
Not so much content as design philosphy. The Simca design was the basis for the OmniRizon, which was a fresh design. The engine was U.S. built out of blocks sourced from VW, and the transaxle was a re-juggered Torqueflite. But you are correct, that the Simca served as the template.
Actually, the answer is a bit more complex than that. There were really two Horizons; the American one and the European one. They shared the body, more or less, but the European version had the Simca 1100’s suspension, as well as engine, transaxle, etc.. It was very much based on the Simca. Basically, an update of it, with a slightly larger body and new styling.
Chrysler decided to “Americanize” the French Horizon, to lower production costs, among other reasons. It got a much more conventional suspension, not the long-travel torsion-bar suspension that the Simca and euro-Horizon had.
There’s probably hardly any parts between the two Horizons that would interchange.
Rightfully so, the Simca engine was not deemed up to US demands, as it had a maximum capacity of 1500cc, and was known to be a bit fragile. It’s roots go back to the Fiat design from way back.
Claytori: See my response above to jpc.
The self-driving Simca wasn’t a fantasy, it was a prediction:
I ran into this by accident looking for info on Simca dealers in the 50s and wondering if the marvelous photo of the Gateway Motors Simca dealership was the same dealer currently selling Fords in Vermont since their website has no history section. I actually own a pretty unique, totally americanized 1956 Simca Aronde Grand Large….leadsled…complete with top chop, total dechroming, all corners rounded, lights frenched etc and painted bring yellow..it’s called the “puffy omelette”. It was built as a magazine project car for Rod et Custom magazine between Dec 1981 and June 1983. When I move to the US in 84 I went back to get the car out of storage in Paris and shipped to Los Angeles where I have been enjoying it ever since . The car became quite famous in france after it appeared in some TV and movie commercials, one made-for-TV movie and several TV news pieces with ZZ Top when they first toured in France in the fall of 1983… Hope you like it. Thanks. Philippe
My God, are you the Philippe Danh who wrote for the monthly French Rod & Custom Magazine in the early1980s? L’homme à l’omelette baveuse! I can’t believe it!
I was in high school then, and that mag was my bible. It was just so good. I still have all the copies from day 1, in mint condition and with the posters and everything.
You bet I remember the “Puffy Omelette” project, it was totally radical at that time (and still is, come to think of it). Can’t believe you still have it and drive it in LA! Seeing this car again feels like catching up with an old friend. So, 30 + years on, congratulations, and thank you!
What a wonderful and nostalgic posting to find! A 1958 Simca Aronde was my very first car. My father had bought it used in 1965 with about 120K miles on it, and drove it 25K a year for the next three years. He put it on the market to sell it a month before my 16th birthday. It ran, sort of, but everything on the car was worn out and leaky, from the radiator to the tires. When the best offer he got for it was $15, my parents returned the sweater they bought for my birthday and gave me the car since it was a cheaper present! With 200K and ten years on it, it wasn’t supremely reliable. I bought another Simca in non-running condition, towed it home, and stripped it. I wound up with a hulk I sold for scrap for $10, a garage full of cleaned and boxed assorted parts I sold for $75 to a Simca collector, and a running car I drove for about 18 months and then sold for around $100. Turned out to be a pretty great present for a 16-year-old, though I had to stay off the highway — it did zero to 50 in about 20 seconds and topped out at around 58 mpg downhill with a tailwind.
In some ways, my Simca was like an F-16 fighter jet. The F-16 requires 15 maintenance hours per flight hour — so did my Simca. After countless scraped knuckles in a frigid garage during Colorado winter evenings getting it running again so I could make to school the next day, I decided I had had it when I finally sold the car after graduating high school. That was June of 1970, and I haven’t changed my own oil since. Isn’t it fun to look back on miserable times and remember how wonderful they were?
to J.K. : great story sir ! Thanks. Breaking news…on the verge to drive 90miles East to go rescue a 1958 90A 4 door sedan after I missed a very rare Intendante pickup here in the LA area…
Mr. Danh — thanks for the note; hope the “new” Simca turns out to be fun purchase and project. Will it be a complement to the “Puffy Omelet?” I hope it turns out to be in better shape that my ’58…
My kids (who are now in their late 20s and early 30s) still laugh at some of ol’ Dad’s tales of teenage driving in a beater.
Like the time a friend getting out of the back seat put his foot through the rusted-out body pan and planted the rubber floor mat on my driveway, necessitating some work with a jig saw and a piece of 3/4 inch plywood to cover the hole and prevent the car from becoming a foot-propelled Flintstonemobile.
Or the time a cotter pin in the fairly-complicatied column-mounted four-speed shift linkage broke, scattering parts along the road and leaving me stuck in first gear. I had to walk the road for about a block picking up the linkage parts and reassembling them. Fortunately, I was wearing a old and tattered flannel shirt that had a safety pin replacing one of the buttons. I discovered a safety pin made a pretty good cotter pin — it was still in the shift linkage when I sold the car several months later! My kids still think it was pretty funny that Dad safety-pinned his car back together to get home…
Good luck with the rescue trip to fetch the 1958 sedan! Might want to have a safety pin or two with you just in case….
In 1957, I was young and even more naive than I am today. I had gotten the “sports car craze,” but with family, an MG, an Austin-Healey or a Mercedes 190SL were out of the question. A car mag praised the Aronde to the sky,especially for its handling and road-holding. The writer also implied that the engine sounded “happy” at speed. I bought a new ’57 Aronde and had a ball. It handled wonderfully on twisty roads, and it also made nice noises. It was so different from the clumsy-but-sturdy ’52 Chevrolet I traded in. The four-speed transmission got full use, as did the clutch, which couldn’t take the boy-racer treatment and began to slip after maybe 3 years. The big error was thinking that such a tiny car could take a high-speed run across the country, with a roof-rack loaded with luggage sticking up about 3 feet into the wind. Top speed with that rig was about 60, and that was a struggle. In the summer of 1961, we started off from N.J. for California. As we were crossing the desert in Arizona, the engine suddenly became silent and we drifted to a stop. Opening the hood revealed a big HOLE in the battery, and some visible fumes coming from the hole. The lead cell-connector bar visible through the hole was completely melted through. An obvious short circuit, but where? I always carried tools in those days (most cars then were understandable and most of their parts were accessible). I put screws in each side of the lead bar, wrapped some copper wire around them, and had my wife operate the starter. Voilà! the solenoid moved, but of course the copper connector in the switch was no longer making contact, so there was no starter sound. I took the solenoid apart and discovered that the the bar attached to the solenoid shaft had come apart and short-circuited the starter switch, causing a massive flow of current which was responsible for the melted battery part. I think this bar was probably riveted to the solenoid shaft, but somehow it didn’t occur to me then to try to put it back. I took it out, put everything back together, and found that by having my wife operate the solenoid, I could put a big wrench across the terminals on the starter switch itself. The motor went off with a roar and off we went, with a hole in the battery and copper wire hooking the cells together! I am a modest guy, but I have to admit I felt pretty clever that day. In L.A., I got a new solenoid switch and eventually a new battery. When we reached the house of a family we were visiting, the motor began to miss, and it was fairly obvious that a valve had burned. This tiny engine turned at 3700 rpm at 60 mph, and I can only assume that 3000 miles at that speed, with a heavy load bucking the wind, was just too much for a car designed for European conditions. I have vivid memories of driving on the winding roads of France in the 1960s. You might sometimes get up to 60 mph, but not usually for long, and no doubt these little engines held up fine under those conditions. The Simca engine is extremely simple, and I was able to get the head off, buy a new valve and have the whole thing ground-in at a local garage. Careful re-torquing resulted in an engine that ran again like new. But…..the same thing happened after the return East in a few days of all-day driving at 60 mph and 3700 rpm. Off with her head, again. Chrysler had just taken over Simca sales in the U.S. at that point. The head mechanic at the Chrysler dealer told me not to worry about the torque figures–“just tighten her down.” Well, I learned to my chagrin that that might have been acceptable practice with a cast-iron Chevy head, but not for a small aluminum head. The head gasket began to leak water into the oil. I had started graduate school and was going crazy trying to keep up, so I let my wife drive the car to work, with frequent oil changes, until things calmed down at school and I had time to shop for another car (a new ’63 VW Beetle). A GI who had been in France bought the car from me, for parts (I happily accepted $25.00!). This was a delightful car to drive, but it just wasn’t made for American conditions. I still don’t consider it poorly-made, although there might be reasons to think that some cost-cutting was involved in the design (like a starter switch that could come unriveted–never happened to me before nor since). I expect a lot of people in this country discovered that high-revving small engines would give trouble if driven hard in this country, and that may be part of the reason that sales of European cars began to dwindle. American manufacturers got the message, too, and weighed in with small cars that probably helped push the Europeans out of the market.
Len; thanks for sharing that! Yes, your story pretty much sums up the reality of so many imports during the fifties: cars designed with very different operating and maintenance standards. There was a reason the VW triumphed, and why the US compacts of 1960 spelled the death of many of the imports, or at least a serious setback.
hi any simca people want to talk email me cheers
Hi Ivan, Not sure this is even still active but I am trying to find out your paint colour on your Aronde – is that Turquoise Green? Would you have a colour code at all?
Hallo, ich habe einen Simca Aronde Grand Large in fast original Zustand, bei Interesse an Fotos oder dem Auto bitte melden.
Über jede Information wäre ich sehr dankbar.
simca vedette and ariane
our simcas in napier
These were pretty common in Australia and I think there was some local assembly involved as they differed in some details from the French versions, aside from the right hand steering of course. Some time about the end of 1956 a neighbor bought an Aronde. A few months later, his wife, driving the car with a driver’s licence only a few weeks old skidded off a banked up dirt road, with her elderly father and three children aboard. The car rolled a couple of times and came to rest on its side. They all scrambled out with minor cuts and bruises. Every panel was dented, but someone came along, they pushed the car back onto its wheels and drove it back on to the road. A few weeks later it was entirely repaired and repainted. They still had it in 1968
Impressed by this, my father bought a used ’57 Aronde Elysee in 1963, it was out first car.
I traveled all over the west coast (age 11) when I was “driving” my brothers ’56 TR2 parts car in the backyard. The weather was always perfect, it never broke down and I was driving at top speed passing everybody else on the road. If only it had a radio.
I got a chance to drive an Aronde once. My father was considering it as a second car. I enjoyed the 4-on-the-tree, but I especially enjoyed the French approach to ergonomics. The turn signal control was on the steering wheel hub; it was translucent plastic that flashed along with the actual bulbs; and it centered itself by a bimetal timer, not by a ratchet on the wheel. No perpetual signals.
Unfortunately Dad didn’t buy the Aronde; he realized that parts and service would be impossible.
Now I suspect Dad wasn’t REALLY considering buying the car, because he must have understood the service problem in advance. He just wanted to have a fun little expedition. Belated thanks, Dad.
The Oceane is a beautiful car.
All of them are nice really, but that one is very nice.
There was a kid named Sean in my grade school whose parents would pick him up in a nifty Aronde sedan in white over red. It was a new 1957 model with wide whites. I remember liking it’s little duck bill grill a lot. There’s been a black one around the net for a while (on ebay as I write this).
As far as fantasy driving is concerned, does this pic of me, age 1 at the wheel of my Dad’s ’48 Dodge count?
I’ve got a picture just like that of myself… wish I still had a scanner. I think it’s even a late ’40s Mopar vehicle that I’m “driving” ! Although my ride was like Paul’s – rotting and immobile on an old farm.
I am surprised at so many responses on this vehicle. We are cleaning up a 100 year old farm and pulled one out from under the trees. A four door. It is rather destroyed but the front and back windows, gauges, maybe a couple other handles etc that maybe salvageable. Feel free to make contact. I dont like to see history go to scrap yards
Message from France, I am a member of the French SIMCA Club, since 1998 I am trying to do an inventory of the Aronde, I know now 4145 of them including 460 out of France.
Can you say me the VIN of this SIMCA please ?
I am Philippe Chabassiere, firstname.lastname@example.org
You can write my name plus SIMCA on google and you will see my work.
I had a Simca back in the early 60’s, I don’t remember the model, but it had an engine in the front and a column shift. One problem was that the column shift linkage was connected on the engine mount and the engine would come loose and I would have to open up the hood and re-connect it. So, eventually we cut a hole over the transmission and welded a still rod to it and changed gears that way. It also had a 6 volt battery and I was delivering Chicken Delight, mostly at night, and the battery often died, but it was light enough that I could put my foot out the door and get it going. I got rid of it when I enlisted in the Army for a sort of paid trip to Vietnam.
It has always mystified me how French (and Italian) cars can be so well received in Europe but emit the odor of loose equestrienne offal in the USA.
I think that has been summed up in an earlier post where poor maintenance on unfamiliar engines and a penchant for not understanding metric led to the premature failure of many sound cars and marques.
Fess up time: A man on my paper route let me sit behind the wheels of the cars in his junkyard a couple miles away. Having been raised in ’60s trucks, that was the first time I ever saw a trip meter on a car.
The one I remember most was an automatic Buick, so I didn’t pre-learn a stickshift, but I did get to play with tuning and setting the presets in the Sonomatic radio, so when we acquired a truck with a radio I was ready!
We did get the Aronde, rear-engine 1000, including a cute little 1000 Bertone coupe, and the FWD 1204 in North America. Freeways, poor dealer support and rust pretty much killed them off.
As for the Omni/Horizon, when Chrysler quit using the 1.7 OHC VW engine, they offered a French 1.6 OHV mill just for the base model, only in 1986 IIRC. I’ve only seen one. Where I worked it come in for an oil-change, and I recall we had problems finding an oil-filter!
Your thoughts about the Flash 1290cc motor being related to the FIAT 1400 motor are quite wrong. The 1290 was a Fiat 1221 motor bored out another 2mm to 74 x 75 stroke. The 1400 Fiat motor was an altogether different beast with wet sleeves and an 82mm bore and 66mm stroke. That line of motors actually lived on as the 1900cc in petrol and diesel stroked out to 90mm and installed in light trucks and Campagnola (Jeep) models.
I am also surprised that there has been no talk of the Rush motor which was the 5 main bearing variant used in the Montlhery Aronde models.