Saturday 12 February 2011
The Horizon was a subcompact automobile developed by Chrysler Europe and was sold in Europe between 1977 and 1985 under the Chrysler, Simca and Talbot nameplates. A derivative version of the Horizon was also built in the United States under the Dodge and Plymouth marques until 1990.
The Horizon was designed by Simca, the French division of Chrysler Europe in the 1970s and introduced in 1977. It survived in various guises until 1990. In France it was initially sold under the Simca brand, whilst elsewhere in Europe it was initially badged as a Chrysler (including the United Kingdom, where it fitted into a Chrysler range which also included former Hillman models). As a result of the acquisition of Chrysler's European car division by Peugeot in 1978, both the Chrysler and Simca brands were dropped and the car was then sold under the Talbot brand in all its European markets.
The Horizon, or Project C2 as it was known inside Simca during development, was intended to be a "world car", meaning that it was designed for consumers on both sides of the Atlantic, but in execution, the European and North American versions of the vehicle actually turned out to have very little in common.
Born largely out of the need to replace the ageing Simca 1100, the Horizon was essentially a shortened version of the larger Alpine model, giving the vehicle an unusually wide track for its length. Featuring the familiar range of Simca-designed 1.1, 1.3 and 1.5 L OHV engines, and torsion-bar suspension, the Horizon gained praise for its crisp styling, supple ride, and competent handling. It was voted European Car of the Year in 1979. Its launch saw to the end of the 1100 and the rear-engined Simca 1000.
The Horizon was the first British-built hatchback of this size — launched two years before the Vauxhall Astra, three years before the European Ford Escort Mark III and five years before the Austin Maestro. It did not officially replace any of the British Chryslers, despite being a similar size to the traditional rear-wheel drive Avenger saloon and estates which had been on sale since 1970 and did not finish production until 1981.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1905 cc
- horsepower: 90 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 175 km/h