Saturday 15 June 2013
The Talbot Tagora is an executive car developed by Chrysler Europe and produced by Peugeot Société Anonyme (PSA). The Tagora was marketed under the Talbot marque after PSA took over Chrysler's European operations in 1979. PSA presented the first production vehicle in 1980 and launched it commercially in 1981. The Tagora fell short of sales expectations, described as a "showroom flop" just a year after launch, and PSA cancelled the model only two years later. Fewer than 20,000 Tagora models were ever built, all of them at the former Simca factory in Poissy, near Paris, France. Despite its reputation as a "duffer", the car has acquired a cult following.
Chrysler Europe began development of the Tagora in 1976, under the code name C9, with the goal of replacing the unsuccessful Chrysler 180 series. Following the same development pattern as with the Horizon and Alpine models, the responsibility for the Tagora's technical development remained in France, while the styling was devised at Chrysler's design centre in the United Kingdom. An early proposal for the name of the car was "Simca 2000".
The original C9 prototype was a modern-styled saloon with a low beltline and large interior dimensions made possible by the long-wheelbase. The British design team initially proposed some stylistic features inspired by the Citroën SM, including a front glass panel between the headlights to accommodate the number plate, round front wheelarches and rear spats. However, Chrysler management in the United States deemed these features too extravagant, so the design of the C9 became more conventional: front and rear wheelarches were squared off and the spats lost, and the license plate was placed on the front bumper as on most cars. To better balance the tall silhouette, the beltline was raised. Over the course of development, the C9 also lost its vertical taillights in favour of more "fashionable" horizontal ones.
Following the renaming of Chrysler Europe's models to the Talbot marque, the C9 was christened the Talbot Tagora, and the first batch of cars rolled out of the former Simca plant in Poissy in 1980. The same year, PSA presented the Tagora at the Salon de l'Automobile in Paris. Following a hands-on demonstration of the model to the press in Morocco in March 1981, the car went on sale in France in April and in the United Kingdom in May. The British billboard advertising campaign boasted "The new Talbot Tagora. Luxury and performance redefined."
The Tagora was priced to overlap with high-end Peugeot 505 and low-end Citroën CX models, while slotting in beneath the Peugeot 604. Its pricing was also comparable to the Renault 20/30 and Ford Granada. The Tagora was in the 20,000–30,000 Deutschmark bracket in Germany. The initial production run in 1981 (combined with some pre-production runs from 1980) was only one quarter of Chrysler's initial projections. Sales proved insufficient even for this production level, and production continued to sharply decline throughout 1982 and 1983, prompting PSA to cancel the model altogether. By the time the Tagora was discontinued, only about 20,000 had been built; by comparison, over 116,000 Peugeot 505s and 74,000 Citroën CXs were made in 1981 alone.
- engine: V6
- capacity: 2664 cc
- horsepower: 166 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 170 km/h