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Talbot Solara. Forgotten French elegance.

When in 1978 “PSA Peugeot Citroën”Takes over parts of Chrysler, which leaves Europe, and the end of the Simca brand name is cautiously heralded. From 1979 the existing Simca models are provided with the “Talbot” badge. At that time, the go-ahead was also given for a thorough modification of the existing model line.


An upgrade in the model range is also an important spearhead. One of the cars that will shape the “premium avant-la-lettre” ambitions is the Solara. In the spring of 1980 this sedan debuts as “Talbot Simca Solara”. To then continue his career as Talbot Solara.

Talbot Solara
Sympathetic French sedan. Upgrade within the Talbot range with strong Simca genes: the Solara. Copyright: PSA Peugeot Citroën

The middle class is strongly based on the 1510, which succeeds the 1979/1307/1308 series in 1309. However, it is 8 cm longer. And of course, as a sedan that is more highly regarded, it does not have a fifth door. The minimal differences in space reveal themselves in 2 cm more interior space for the Talbot Solara and an increased headroom of 5 cm thanks to the different roofline. The trunk is usable and swallows almost 350 liters.

Debut with two engines for continental market

The midsize car makes its debut for the continental market with a 1442 cc engine and the larger 1592 cc engine. The “1.5” makes its way into the LS, but soon clears the field. The LS can also be equipped with the larger engine. The 1.6 power source is supplied with both single and double carburettors. The most powerful 1.6 engine - with 1 double Weber and 90 HP - is reserved for the more luxurious (and slightly later available in the Netherlands) versions GLS and SX. The Talbot Solara SX comes standard (from model year 1982 also the GLS,) ​​a five-speed gearbox from Citroën assigned. The trim levels LS and GL are ventilated by the 1.6 engine with a single carburettor. Incidentally, an automatic transmission is also available. Initially only for the SX, from 1982 also for the GLS.

Richly equipped top versions

It is striking that the top versions of the Talbot Solara, excellently equipped for that time, further enhance the already considerable typical comfort. For example, the GLS gets electrically operated windows. Top version SX is also equipped with, among other things, light alloy, a trip computer, cruise control, four headrests, high-quality upholstery materials and power steering. Now such features are striking when they are not standard equipment. But in the early XNUMXs those proportions were still significantly different.

Very rare. The Solara Pullman - a French action model - livened up the International Oldtimer Fair in Eelde. Photo: Erik van Putten
Very rare. The Solara Pullman - a French action model - livened up the International Oldtimer Fair in Eelde. Photo: Erik van Putten

Upgrades and action models

Over the years, some upgrades in equipment and technology took place. For example, the GLS gets the pepper mill rims and two-tone paint. Action models are also offered in various countries. Like the Pullman in France. Still, during the mid-XNUMXs, it becomes clear that the end will come for the Talbot Solara.

The speedy “reduction” to the LS, GL and SX variants is a precursor to the demise of the Talbot Solara. Although it also received a few optical retouches from the maker for the last years of construction. The chrome disappears and makes way for matte black frames and accents. While the bumpers and grille are given the body color.

Farewell to model and brand name

Ultimately, the Talbot Solara disappears from the scene. And PSA completely said goodbye to the Talbot brand name in 1986 to make more room for Peugeot models. Like other models with the same brand name, the sympathetic Solara can never quite keep its promise.

The poor build quality (susceptible to rust) of the middle class and other Talbot models is one of the causes. Also the childlike role of Talbot within the PSA Peugeot Citroën concern and the historic farewell to the Simca brand name do not contribute to a steadfast and powerful image.

The last copies of the Talbot Solara are, incidentally, in 1986 in Spain - the only country where this Talbot with a diesel engine is available - assembled from already manufactured parts. In total, the elegant Frenchman was built 184.976 times. Unfortunately, very few of them remain today.


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12 Comments

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  1. In 1984 I bought a second hand car and drove it for 8 years. I would take two big people in the back of the Talbot once. We did not get away because the legs of the backseat sagged through the bottom and were directly on the street. A few aluminum plates on the bottom and we were able to drive again .. this Talbot also had thru axles that sounded well in bends. Later on, an acquaintance took this car from us and drove it for another 3 years. Then the talbot collapsed at 500.000 km.

  2. At the time, such a Solara was exchanged for an Opel Ascona B. The trade barely offered money for it. A wonderfully guided day, very comfortable, smooth enough for its time and emphatically understeer, but yes, those were more front-wheel drives in a time when rear-wheel drive was still common.

  3. My grandfather bought a GL after he had an accident with his Audi 100.
    What a disappointment; unclean gearbox, heavy steering wheel that roughly returned to straight ahead after a bend, slow motorization, etc.
    There was nothing to it except the comfortable seats.

  4. My first car in 1990 was an 85er Solara. Lovely chairs, but that was it.
    Driven 1 km in 20 year, and tinkered, ground and welded a lot.
    It was an educational car😫

  5. I also drove the Talbot Solara. It was a lot of car for little money because I bought the car second-hand. When I noticed a big hole in the bottom, I had to say goodbye. It was a nice family car.
    Also very curious was that the beige trim around the dashboard turned dirty brown.
    I bought the car with warranty for the sheet metal and yes, the doors had to be replaced due to rust. It was also a nice holiday car.

  6. The Solara was modern and comfortable, a typical French touring car.
    It is a pity that Simca did not end up in an enthusiastic bed at Chrysler after the dismantling (= planned demolition) at Chrysler. Indeed, if you as a manufacturer already have doubts about your brand (also in this case was a must for the Alsatians Simca), it will be difficult to achieve success.
    Silly joke (from the car world at the time). Is it Talbot or Talboo? Answer: If I throw your glasses on the floor and on the stairs are the glasses broken or kapoo?

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