Simca 1307 GLS
|Manufacturer||Chrysler Europe (1975–79)
PSA Peugeot Citroën (1979–86)
|Also called||Simca 1308 / 1309
Dodge Alpine (Colombia)
Ryton-on-Dunsmore, United Kingdom
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Large family car (D)|
|Engine||1.3 L Type 315 ohv I4
1.5 L Type 315 ohv I4
1.6 L Type 315 ohv I4
|Transmission||4 speed manual all-synchromesh
|Wheelbase||102.5 in (2,604 mm)|
|Length||167 in (4,242 mm)|
|Width||66 in (1,676 mm)|
|Curb weight||2,314 lb (1,050 kg)|
|Predecessor||Simca 1301 / 1501|
The Simca 1307/ Chrysler Alpine was the name under which Chrysler Europe launched its new large family car in July 1975. Codenamed C6 in development the car was styled in the United Kingdom by Roy Axe and his team at Whitley and the car was engineered by Simca at Poissy in France.
A modern, front-wheel drive hatchback, it was one of the first such cars in that class, along with the Volkswagen Passat, and became the 1976 European Car of the Year. It had been in development since 1972.
The model was sold under a variety of names, including Simca 1308 and 1309 models (with larger engines), Chrysler Alpine (UK, Ireland and New Zealand), Dodge Alpine (Colombia), Chrysler 150 (Spanish market), and later Talbot 1510 / Talbot Alpine / Talbot 150 (a facelifted version launched by PSA after its takeover of Chrysler Europe) and Talbot Solara (the saloon version).
Originally the car was powered by 1294 cc and 1442 cc versions of the "Poissy engine" with electronic ignition and a four-speed gearbox. From launch it was available in three trim levels: GL, S and GT. Equipment levels were high, with the later GLS version featuring central door locking and electric windows, accessories that up until then had only generally featured in larger more upmarket cars. Having won the Car of the Year award, it was initially a success both at home and in the export. Production levels shot up from a daily 400 at introduction in September 1975 to 850 in December of that year, to 1100 a day in late 1976. The 1307 (7 CV) had the smaller engine, while the 1308 (8 CV) received the larger version. Unlike the other models, the more sporting 1307 S received twin Weber carburettors in continental European markets to provide a more powerful and revvy engine while remaining in a lower tax category. In the UK, the 1307 S has the same single Solex carburettor as the GL.
More upmarket models were designated 1308 (1508 in some markets) and 1309. All of the models replaced the Simca 1301/1501 range in France, while on the British market it was sold alongside the ageing Hillman Hunter, a rear-wheel drive range of saloons and estates which would continue until 1979. This type of car was generally more popular in Britain in 1975, with the best selling cars in this sector being the Ford Cortina and Morris Marina. The Chrysler Alpine was first sold in Britain in January 1976, going on sale just after the similar-sized Vauxhall Cavalier, a rear-wheel drive saloon which went on to consistently outsell it.
Styled by Roy Axe, the Simca 1307, along with the recently introduced Volkswagen Passat, was one of several full-size European family hatchback inspired by the Renault 16 that had defined the sector back in 1965. In the 1970s the most popular mid-size cars in Europe were still traditional sedans like Ford Taunus (Ford Cortina in Britain), Opel Ascona B (Vauxhall Cavalier) and Morris Marina, and indeed it would be the next generations of those competing vehicles (the Ford Sierra and the Ascona C) before the concept became fully accepted in the mainstream. The car was originally manufactured in Poissy in France, in Ryton in the United Kingdom, from 1977 in Villaverde in Barreiros, subsidiary of Chrysler Europe in Spain, and assembled from CKD kits by Todd Motors (later Mitsubishi Motors NZ) in New Zealand between 1977 and about 1983. Between 1979 and 1985 the car was also built by Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki factory in Finland and assembled in Colombia as Dodge Alpine between 1978 and 1982 at the Chrysler Colmotores in Bogotá.
In New Zealand, Chrysler, Talbot, Alpine and 1510 badges were used on the car during its lifetime, though it was officially in price lists as an Alpine, following the UK convention. In 1982 the car was facelifted and renamed SX there.
Facelift and Solara
For 1980 the car, which was now sold under the Talbot-brand, received an extensive facelift. The new model, shown at the Frankfurt Show, was known as the Talbot 1510 (the Talbot Alpine name was used in the UK). It received new front and rear lights and the new top of the range SX featured alloy wheels, cruise control, headlamp wash/wipe, power steering and trip computer. Automatic transmission and a five-speed gearbox also became available. The lineup became clearer, with the 1307 GLS replaced by the 1510 LS, the 1307 S by the GL, the 1308 GT by the GLS, and finally the 1309 SX by the 1510 SX (automatic transmission only at first).
A four-door saloon version, called the Talbot Solara, was released in the same year, with either 1.3 or 1.6 engines, and was produced alongside the hatchback version. Trim levels were similar to the Alpine. It effectively took over from the Hunter, axed a year earlier, as the four-door large family saloon in the range. In the Benelux countries, a well-equipped "Ultra" special edition with metallic paint, alloy wheels, and velour interior, appeared in December 1983.
French manufacturing of 1510, Alpine and Solara, along with the smaller Horizon, ended in 1985. In the United Kingdom the last cars were rebadged as the Rapier and Minx which were badged depending on trim level rather than body style. The names were sourced from the corporate ancestor of Chrysler Europe, the Rootes Group, having been used on the Sunbeam Rapier and Hillman Minx. Supply of these models was limited and in 1986 production ceased, with the Talbot marque being shelved soon afterwards on all passenger vehicles. Thus, the Alpine/1510/Solara series was not directly replaced; however the Citroën BX (already released in 1982) and the forthcoming Peugeot 405 (launched in late 1987) were effectively its de facto successors as PSA's entries in the D-segment.
Whilst exceptionally popular in France the Chrysler Alpine did not fulfill its potential in the UK, intially losing out to contemporaries such as the Ford Cortina/Sierra and the Vauxhall Cavalier primarlily due to the lack of of larger engines (Ford and Vauxhall offered 2.0L engines in their products, whilst the Alpine/Solara range topped out at a 1.6L unit). The Alpine's OHV Simca engines were particularly "tappety" and unrefined compared to the more modern overhead camshaft units of its rivals with further dented its appeal. In later life, due to corrosion problems similar to those of the Horizon few Alpines have survived in the UK, as of 2017, only 19 examples (including the later Talbot badged versions) were still licenced on British roads However, the car has fared better in its native France, where it still has a cult following among Simca enthusiasts and many hundreds of examples are still in service.
- "Chrysler's new Alpine". Autocar. Vol. 143 (nbr 4107). 26 July 1975. pp. 20–23.
- Chrysler Alpine: remembering the most unlikely Car of the Year, The Daily Telegraph, 9 April 2016
- "Development of the Chrysler – Talbot Alpine cars". Rootes-chrysler.co.uk. 2 April 1976. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
- Wheels of misfortune: the rise and fall of the British motor industry, Jonathan Wood, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1988, page 215
- Thevenet, Jean-Paul, ed. (January 1977). "30 jours d'automobile" [30 days of the automobile]. L'Automobile (in French). Neuilly, France: Societé des Editions Techniques et Touristiques de France (367): 4.
- Armstrong, Douglas (December 1975). "International Exchange". SA Motor. Cape Town, South Africa: Scott Publications: 18–19.
- Importaciones de automóviles y camperos: documento para Consejo Directivo de Comercio Exterior, INCOMEX, Instituto Colombiano de Comercio Exterior, 1982, page 20
- Automotive News, Crain Automotive Group, 1980, page 4
- Costa, André & Georges-Michel Fraichard, ed. (September 1979), "Salon 1979: Toutes les Voitures du Monde", l'Auto Journal (in French), Paris: Homme N°1 (14 & 15): 108
- de Jong, Nico, ed. (24 December 1983). "Autokrant" [Car Gazette]. Autovisie (in Dutch). Hilversum, Netherlands: Folio Groep B.V. 28 (26): 14.
- "How Many Left? Chrysler Alpine". Retrieved 5 May 2017.
- The East European motor industry: prospects & developments, Economist Intelligence Unit, 1989, page 46
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Simca 1307/1308.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Talbot Solara.|
- www.1307–1308.org (French)
- Simca Talbot Information Centre, featuring Chrysler Alpine and SIMCA 1307 / 1308, Talbot Alpine / Talbot 1510 and Talbot Solara
- Chrysler Alpine and related models @ Rootes-Chrysler.co.uk
- Club del Chrysler 150 (Spanish)
- Simca Automobile Club Netherlands (in English and Dutch)
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