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Simca 1301 Special
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Large family car (D)|
|Body style||4-door saloon|
5-door station wagon
|Engine||1.3 L Rush ohv I4|
1.3 L Type 345 ohv I4
1.5 L Type 342 ohv I4
|Wheelbase||99 in (2,500 mm)|
|Length||175.5 in (4,460 mm) |
1301 / 1501 saloon
169.5 in (4,310 mm)
1301 / 1501 estate
|Width||62 in (1,600 mm)|
|Height||55 in (1,400 mm) unladen|
History and Profile
The Simcas 1301 and 1501 were first presented to the public in October 1966, and a preview presentation to the press took place on August 31 of that year. The 1301 and the 1501 were the natural evolution of the previous 1300 and 1500 models with which they shared engines and mechanical parts.
Compared to the two predecessors, the 1301 and 1501 kept the same stylistic approach, although they were slightly modernised: they were then characterised by the same 3 square four door saloon and 2 square 4 door wagon body styles. The most obvious design differences were in the front and rear ends of the car: the front end was longer by 6.9 cm, while the rear end on the sedan bodies was increased as well by 13.5 cm in order to allow a greater baggage capacity. The result was that 1301 and 1501 sedan models were longer by 21 cm compared to 1300 and 1500. Other differences were both in the front, where it was given a new grille, and redesigned in the side indicator area. Differences stand out in the cockpit instrument panel with a new horizontal and straight design. Despite the disappearance of some luxuries such as the courtesy light inside, they did improve the overall quality and comfort of the seats and their upholstery.
At first, even the engines used were the same from the 1300/1500 models, although they had in part been revised. The 1301 was equipped with the 1,290 cc, 4-cylinder "Rush" engine, with overhead valves, and powered by a single barrel carburettor it was capable of delivering 54 hp DIN and allowed the car to reach a top speed of 135 km/h. Similarly, the Simca 1501 was equipped by the same Type 342 engine of the previous Simca 1500, a 1,475 cc 4-cylinder originally powered by a single barrel carburettor, and capable of delivering 69 hp DIN. The maximum speed for the 1501 was improved slightly, reaching 147 km/h in its earliest rendition.
Range and trim levels
At the start of production, the range 1301/1501 was composed as follows:
- 1301 Sedan and 1501 Sedan, with the trim levels LS, GL and GLS;
- 1301 Break and 1501 Break, with the trim levels LS and GLS;
- 1301 Familiale and 1501 Familiale, with only one trim level, LS;
The first deliveries began in late 1966 and early 1967: in March, the range was completed with the arrival of the 1301U, an unprecedented version of the car, a van with the rear windows replaced by sheet metal and only two seats, while the rear part of the passenger compartment has been completely emptied to make it a load compartment.
Like with the 1300 and the 1500, the new 1301 and 1501 was came with a two-year warranty on the engine, gearbox and suspension. This was done in order to attract new customers and establish the commercial success of the two models. Unfortunately, the shadow of Chrysler ended up covering the traditional methods of Simca and went to be a problem for the development of subsequent projects of the French Company.
In autumn 1968 the range was revised and simplified: the Sedan 1301 LS and GL remained on the list, while the 1301 Break and Familiale were merged into a single model, the 1301 GL. As for the 1501, the LS and GLS were cancelled, leaving in the existing list only the GL and the new 1501 Special, which was also available as station wagon. The 1501 Special was equipped with a redesigned version of the Type 342 engine that came in the GL, the Type 342S, which came with a revised head design and a double barrel carburettor, it delivered 81 hp DIN, and had a 160 km/h top speed. Another feature of the Special was an increased rear differential ratio. The special also came equipped with boosted brakes and a sporty steering wheel. What also disappeared from the lineup was the 1301 U, which received little interest as a commercial vehicle.
In September 1969, for the 1501 there was another redesign, focused mainly on the front end of the car, where it found a completely redesigned grille and headlights which now incorporated a pair of fog lights as factory equipment. The 1301, however, on the outside, remained visually unchanged. Internally, for the whole range there was a new dashboard and a new instrument panel with round elements (two for the 1301 and four for 1501), and also a spot for a radio. Another significant change in the cockpit concerned the use of fabrics and tints that were coordinated and harmonized. Mechanically, all the 1501 trims benefited from the 342S engine with 81 hp, which had until then only equipped the Special. The latter then differed from the other trims only in the interior and equipment.
In early 1970, the 1301 saw its Rush engine replaced by a more modern engine based on the Type 342: the Type 345. The Type 342 was a debored version of the Type 342 engine, with only 1290cc, which now came in all standard 1301 models, delivering 60hp DIN. The 1301 Special would now come with the Type 342S, a version of the 342 with a twin barrel carb and increased compression, delivering 70 hp DIN. This was in essence the only real news regarding the 1301 range since its debut. Other improvements helped to increase the reliability, while lowering power consumption. The 60 hp 1.3 engine went to equip the only other 1301 sedan remained, namely the LS. The latter remained in the list until August, only to be replaced by 1301, without additional acronyms. In September 1970, the range was as follows:
- 1301, with the 1.3 litre, 60 hp engine;
- 1301 Special, with the 1.3 litre, 70 hp engine;
- 1301 Break Special, with the 1.3 litre, 70 hp engine;
- 1501 Break Special, with the 1.5 litre, 81 hp engine.
Note the disappearance of sedans in 1501, commissioned by Chrysler (which already held a 95% stake in the Simca) to not hinder the commercial career of the Type 160. A lot of copies of 1501 with sedan bodywork continued to be produced for a bit of time for some foreign markets and marketed as 1501 GLE, where the E was for export.
In 1971, the new grille was also adopted by the 1301. This was part of a rationalization program wanted by Chrysler Europe, which aimed to standardize as much as possible Simca models, to reduce costs and check the best possible profits. Also in 1971 came the outside rearview mirror and a new steering wheel with horn cup concentric. Among the new options of more details, the vinyl roof should be mentioned, which emphasized the elegance of the car. In the same year, however, the 1301 base and the 1501 Break left the list at which point the range resulted composed solely and exclusively of the 1301 Spécial in sedan and Break'.
In 1972 there were only updates to the detail of the range for the 1301, aimed essentially to the interior (cigarette lighter, rear-view antiglare, better internal soundproofing, etc.) and mechanics (reinforced gearbox, rear brakes, etc.).
In 1973, however, there were more substantial changes: the lack of success encountered by the Type 160 pushed the leaders of Chrysler to resume production of the 1501, then returned to the list as the Special (and always in two body variants), but with its engine detuned to 73 hp. For its part, the 1301, not to stand too close to the "big sister", deprived itself of some horsepower and went from 70 to 67 hp. The weakening of the models, however, was mainly to decrease fuel consumption, given the oil crisis erupted in that year and brought down the intentions (and models) of many car manufacturers.
The only notable update for 1974 was the introduction of the entire range of the taillights, which become obligatory from September of that year. There was also another, but much less visible: in 1501 the power down to 71 hp.
In 1975 Simca presented the 1307, 1308 and 1309: in July the 1301 production was stopped, it was followed in September by the 1501, but the range still resisted enough to face its last Paris Motor Show. In January of 1976 the Break also disappeared from the list, while the last examples, in both body configurations, were disposed of by the first half of the following year.
The following summarizes the characteristics of the various versions of the range of 1301/1501:
|Simca 1301 / 1501|
|Years in production|
|1301||Sedan||LS, GL and GLS||Type 312T (Rush)||1290||54/5200||87/2600||990||135||1966-69|
|Spécial||Type 345 S||70/5400||88.3/4600||1.010||152||1970-73|
|Station Wagon||LS, LS Familiale, GLS||Type 312T (Rush)||1290||54/5200||87/2600||1.150||130||1967-68|
|Spécial||Type 345 S||70/5400||88.3/4600||1.170||145||1970-73|
|1501||Sedan||LS, GL, GLS||Type 342||1475||69/5200||100/2600||1.010||147||1966-68|
|GL||Type 342 S||81/5200||122/4000||1.020||160||1968-70|
|Station Wagon||LS, LS Familiale, GLS||Type 342||1475||69/5200||100/2600||1.190||142||1967-68|
|Type 342 S||81/5200||122/4000||1.210||150||1969-71|
- Les Simca 1300-1500 et 1301/1501, Christian Cazé, ETAI
- Simca - L'aventure de l'hirondelle, Adrien Cahuzac, ETAI