Simca Rallye. Beloved rejuvenation treatment for a proven recipe

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In 1970 Simca caused a sensation by introducing the 1000 Rallye. Simca developed this sporty 1000 version herself, and the time of launch was striking to say the least. The 1000 concept has been running for nine years and, according to prevailing opinion, no longer lived up to the spirit of the times. But Simca cleverly dived into the market for young drivers. It came up with the sporty version, and the technical principles lent themselves well to it. The rest is history, the Rallye versions were very popular.

Simca put a very attractive price tag on the first Rallye. This was possible because the 1000 concept had already been well developed. It made its debut as Simca in 1961, and had links between Fiat and Simca at that time strong Fiat genes. The 1000 was born out of the project 122 that was developed to succeed the 600, but Fiat chose not to put the car into production. Simca did. And the 1000 was in demand and successful.

New impetus for youthful target group

The prelude to the 35s saw a growing demand for affordable sports cars. The upgrade to an additional Rallye version was very cheap. In addition, the engineers did not have to adjust too much to the cart. The weight distribution 65-XNUMX and the rear engine made for an upset character, and that was a nice basis for making the Simca even more cunning and youthful. And sporty driving was now also financially within reach, partly thanks to the low development costs. Thanks to its favorable proposition, the Simca Rallye grew into a great success in the XNUMXs, not least because buyers outside the youthful target group were also attracted to the Simca. 

The first: the Simca 1000 Rallye

The Rallye series started in 1970. The Simca 1000 Rallye kicked off. Simca adapted the 1118 cc engine from the 1000 Special. The power became 53 HP and a single Solex carburettor was fitted. The small Rallye accelerated to a top speed of 150 kilometers per hour. To enhance the sporting aspirations, Simca provided the youthful variant with the necessary sporty and black accents. The wheel arches were filled with tires with black rims, the boot lid was painted matte black, racing mirrors were fitted and two vertical stripes across the rear showed the speed aspirations. Two iodine spotlights also pleasingly filled the front. From real bucket seats, the motorist had a view of a sporty clock shop, which was hiding behind a sports steering wheel. The chassis was set tighter than that of the 1000 series brothers and sisters. Furthermore, the primal Rallye got the front stabilizer bar of the Special.

More power: the Rallye 1

In 1972, in addition to the first Rallye, the Rallye 1 variant was also available. It was equipped with a 1294 cc engine that brought 60 hp to the rear wheels and was good for a top speed of 155 km / h. The arrival of the Rallye 1 soon heralded the end of the primal Rallye. Virtually nothing changed in the exterior and interior. The Rallye 1 was the signal for Simca to come up with an even faster version.

The Rallye 2

That was Rallye 2. It came in September 1972 and distinguished itself from its tamer brother by the use of a modified camshaft, 2 twin Solex carburettors, a forward-positioned cooling radiator, a cooling opening under the front bumper, a ribbed crankcase, a separate brake circuit with disc brakes all around and the laminated windscreen fitted as a passive safety device. The motor adjustments resulted in an output of 82 hp and a top speed of 168 kilometers per hour. An oil pressure gauge was visible inside. In addition, a fuel tank increased to 50 liters in the Rallye 2. The fuel capacity in the Rallye 1 and other 1000 variants was 36 liters.

Modifications and even more potential for the Rallye 2

In 1976 some cosmetic changes were made. The Rallye 1 and Rallye 2 got a different look from the maker. Rallye 1 remained unchanged. The Rallye 2 got horizontal livery and a matte black bonnet, as well as wheels painted in white. In addition, some motor adjustments were made to the Rallye 2. From model year 1976 it had access to 86 horsepower. The modifications also led to the same maximum torque of 10,8 mkg, but that was now reached at 4600 rpm instead of 4400 rpm.


For model year 1977, the entire Simca 1000 range received another facelift, and the effects of this were also visible on the Rallyes. The front now carried two large rectangular headlights. Racing seats with an adjustable backrest, built-in headrests and seat belts were fitted in both Rallye variants. The Rallye 1 version was particularly distinguished after the modifications of the model at the rear: it got a matte black plate between the rear lights. Various performance-enhancing sets were available for the Rallye 2. Those tuning kits formed the basis and especially the source of inspiration for the very last and most potent variant: the Rallye 3.

Impressive ending: the Rallye 3

Inspired by the tuning kits available for the Rallye 2, a special version of the Rallye was introduced. In an edition of 1000 units, the Rallye 3 was built, also for homologation purposes. The Rallye 3 had an add-on kit and alloy wheels enclosed in two different sizes of tires at the front and rear. The color “Blanc Ibiza” and a clearly visible cooling inlet in the front spoiler were also typical features of the latest Rallye version. From a technical point of view, a sharper camshaft, an intake manifold with two twin Weber carburettors and a transverse rear silencer under the bumper were some of the knockouts. The motor adaptations provided a power of 103 HP from a displacement of 1294 cc and a top speed of 187 kilometers per hour.

Demanding piece

The Simca 1000 Rallye and its stronger brothers became an icon for many. This car helped extend the lifespan of an entire generation of Simca 1000 models by eight years. And provided unadulterated fun and certainly the stronger versions put drivers to the test. Given the state of the art in those years, the success of the sporty little ones from Simca was a major achievement. Get that over again today. 

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Give a reaction
  1. At the time, it was a beloved and hated car for novice drivers at Zandvoort in the standard class up to 1300 cc.
    If you made an over correction when you went sideways, the rally would sometimes go on its roof, especially in the back of the circuit where the Panorama corner later came, that things went wrong almost every race weekend.

  2. Oranje Rallye 1, This was my first car in 1976, nice memories of it.
    I bought for fl 800, - and there was an almost just as expensive radio with speakers.
    Only driver's seat was a fairing.
    On a windy ride on dike Lelystad Amsterdam, a piece of basalt from the dike in the luggage compartment was placed between the front wheels, was a lot better on the road.
    You can safely call it a forerunner together with the Gordini's on the later GTIs, GSIs.
    An acquaintance of mine was based in Germany and had a yellow Rallye2 on NATO registration, an incredibly fast thing (for that time then).

    • Autosalone Chianucci in Italy has Rallye 1, 2 and 3 for sale, a total of about 8 units.
      Rosaldo Chianucci
      VIA FIRENZE N.11
      52016 RASSINA

  3. Been to my brother's car. Brother died in a motorcycle accident in 1974, so I do have an emotional bond with this Simca. Have also been looking for it for years but unfortunately. Was offered Simca rally 2 but that is not 1. Have a lot of fun and we thought it was a cool car at the time in 1971

  4. These simcas were the max myself, I still raced with them, first on Nivelles until this track was closed, then had a lot of fun at Zolder

    • The Rallye versions were developed by Simca itself, the 1000 originated from one of the projects that was intended to succeed the Fiat 600. Fiat decided not to build the 1000, but Simca did. And this could easily be achieved, also because of the strong ties between the two manufacturers. Fiat continued with project “119”, which would eventually lead to the 850 and which had been shelved for several years. I think they could have coexisted in the Fiat program.

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