When launched in 1961, the Simca 1000 wasn't a particularly exciting car. It was cheap, it had four doors, and an engine at the rear that was both economical and easy to maintain. Then came the most Italian Austrian, Carlo Abarth, who decided a 64-horsepower Simca-Abarth 1150 SS should be a thing. Too bad that once Chrysler Europe took over Simca's Poissy, France factory, project.
But then came the success of the similarly rear-engined Renault 8 Gordini, and given how the base 1000 was lighter than Renault, Simca decided to tune it for competition. What's more, Renault discontinued the R8 in 1973, which meant people looking for a cheap entry into motorsport had no better option than the still rather slow, but just as enjoyable Simca 1000 Rallye.
Fifty-three horsepower, bucket seats, extra instrumentation and a flat-black hood. That pretty much sums up Simca's first motorsport offering, but the evolution didn't stop there. In 1972, the Rallye 1 was launched with a 1294cc engine producing 60 horsepower. An alternator was standard on this model, and Simca made its suspension stiffer, too, so the the car could reach 96 mph flat-out. Allegedly.
Alongside the Rallye 1, Simca produced the Rallye 2, whose engine had twin Solex carburetors and higher compression, resulting in a whopping 82 horses. It also had disc brakes at all corners, and its radiator moved to the front. For pure competition, Simca introduced the SRT 77 kit in 1977, which included a built engine with 110 horsepower, a plastic body kit, and square headlights from the recently face-lifted 1000.
The Simca 1000's swan song was the 1978 Rallye 3, a road-legal version of the previous SRT 77 cars, made quieter by an extra muffler, a milder camshaft and longer gearing. With two Weber 40 carburetors on the 1294cc four-cylinder, the claimed output was 103 horsepower. Simca only built 1003 units, all sprayed white with flat-black door handles, mirrors, bumpers and rear spoiler. Under those wide fenders, Simca also threw a set of special 13-inch wheels, and each car got its individual production number plaque on the dash.
Why is this interesting? Well, after driving the truly excellent Hyundai i30 N in the woods surrounding Nürburg, we chatted with the father of the Hyundai's N division, and the Korean automaker's current head of R&D, Albert Biermann. He told us he's been going to the Nürburgring for 55 years now, and entered the 24 Hours once, although his team's race only lasted twenty hours due to their engine blowing up. The weapon of choice for the trio of in 1982? A Talbot-Simca 1000 Rallye 3.
Hat tip to and .