Sunday 20 September 2015
The 1100 was the result of "Project 928", started in 1962, finalized by engineers Philippe Grundeler and Charles Scales. The design was a result of Simca's market research in the early 1960s, which showed the increasing popularity of front wheel drive cars that provided better utilization of space and comfort in small cars. In Spring 1962, Simca organized a 1966–67 launch of a new range of front wheel drive cars with saloons, estates cars and light commercial vehicles to be included, all fitting into France's 6CV tax class – between the Simca Mille and Simca 1300. Both transverse and longitudinal engine placement were tested, and in 1963 the transverse-engine design was approved. The Simca 1100 was one of the first designs outside Fiat to feature a transverse engine with an end-on gearbox and unequal length driveshafts (now near-universal amongst small cars), a possible result of Fiat influence as a major shareholder.
In 1963, Chrysler took a controlling interest in Simca, approving the project in 1964, with a production target of summer 1967. The short timetable included developing a new transmission, and using a larger version of the rear engined rear wheel drive Simca Mille (Simca 1000) "Poissy engine", displacing 1118 cc (the Mille used a 1.0 litre engine, the 1500 a 1.5 litre engine).
During the first full year of production 1968, volumes were already strong with 138,242 vehicles made. Importantly, incremental sales appeared to come mostly from competitor manufacturers, since overall Simca production surged from 251,056 cars in 1967 to 350,083 in 1968, and volumes for the slightly smaller Simca 1000 were virtually identical in each of these two years.
Production peaked in 1973, with nearly 300,000 Simca 1100s rolling off the assembly line. However, production fell rapidly through 1977, when over 142,000 1100s were made, and in 1978 (with the Chrysler Horizon launched in February 1978), just half that number (72,695) of Simca 1100s was made. Volumes dwindled to below 20,000 in 1981 which was the last year of production in France, though in Spain production continued through to 1982 of the car and 1985 for the van version.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1118 cc
- horsepower: 52 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 145 km/h