Simca Talbot Information Centre
This car first appeared in France as the Simca Horizon in January 1978 and was a development
of the Simca 1100.
Initially just two engines were offered; the well known Simca 1118 cc and 1294 cc units,
and three models: LS, GL, and GLS. The GLS could only be supplied with the 1294 cc engine,
but a choice of engine was available on the LS and GL versions. Not only were the engines
the same as the 1100 range, even the wheelbase of the two cars was identical, as was the
overall length bar half an inch. The Horizon was over 3 inches wider however, reflecting
the trend of 1970s cars being wider than their earlier counterparts. GLS models were very
well equipped by 1978 standards, featuring tinted glass, velour upholstery, remote
control door mirror, digital clock and cut pile carpet.
A disappointing feature of the new Horizon range at launch was that unlike on the
1100 range, there was no performance model. While the 1294 cc Simca 1100 Special produced
75 bhp and the 1100 TI 82 bhp, the same power unit in the Horizon was detuned to produce
only 67 bhp, presumably for economy. Nevertheless, the Horizon sales got off to an
excellent start in France, and by the time the car was launched in the UK in October
1978, it was obvious Simca had another success following on the heels of the Alpine/1307.
Confirmation of this was indicated by the Horizon winning the Car of the Year award for
Unfortunately much of the momentum of Horizon sales was lost by the change from
Chrysler Simca to Talbot across Europe on 10 July 1979. Both in the UK, in France and
other key European markets like Belgium, Holland and Germany, customers were confused by
the name change. Expansion of the range of Horizons continued with the introduction in
late 1979 of the SX, which had a 1442 cc engine developing 82 bhp. This was available
only with automatic transmission, and was fitted with a trip computer. Equipment levels
were very high for the time, there being few small hatchbacks in the same sector of the
market. While the trip computer was not very accurate, it was of some use and was used as
a key feature by Talbot salesmen.
In 1982 another new model appeared, only for the European market. Called the Horizon
EX, it had a 65 bhp version of the 1442 cc engine and was marketed as a luxurious but
very economical car. By this date the French range was quite different from that offered
in the UK, with all models other than the LS having the 1442 power unit but tuned to give
varying power outputs.
Horizons were assembled in the UK at the Ryton plant from 1982 and a number of
important fleet orders were secured by Talbot once it was seen as a British built car.
The range was widened by the introduction of a diesel engined model, the LD, for the 1983
model year, although all the diesel cars were built in France. At the same time, the rear
seat design was changed, increasing legroom in the rear of the car. The rear parcel shelf
was changed and located higher than before, increasing luggage capacity. Such cars can be
identified by looking at the rear hatch window, as the bottom part is blanked off with
Also launched in 1983 was the most interesting of all Horizons, the Premium. It
was equipped with the Talbot 1592 cc engine and developed an impressive 90 bhp, giving a
top speed of around 110 mph. Central locking, electric windows, power steering and alloy
wheels with 175/70SR13 tyres were all standard. Unfortunately this model was never
imported into the UK.
Commencing with the 1984 model year, all Horizons with the exception of the 1118 cc
engined models were built with the excellent Peugeot 5 speed BE1 gearbox. In the UK these
cars were marketed as Series 2 Horizons, and the GLS model was deleted. Final changes
were made in October 1984 when the French cars received deeper bodyside mouldings, new
instrument graphics and revised upholstery. A full range of Horizon models was still
available for the European markets, including the GLS and Premium. For the UK market just
two versions of the new range were available from April 1985, these being the 1294 cc LX
and 1442 cc GLX. Both models were well equipped, the GLX having power steering, central
locking and tinted glass.
In June 1985 these two cars were joined by two limited edition models. These were
the 1118 cc LE, with a 4 speed gearbox, and the 1294 cc GLE, with the 1294 cc engine and
5 speed box. The interior trim was much simpler than on the LX and GLX models.
Production of Horizons finished in both France and the UK in the summer of 1985, with
842,078 cars built. By the end of 1985 all the limited edition cars had been sold,
leaving only the LX listed as being available in 1986. By June of that year these had
been sold and the Horizon's replacement, the Peugeot 309, was on the market. Part of the
Simca tradition continued, as the 1118 cc and 1294 cc engines were used in a number of
Thanks to a combination of improved rust proofing on later cars, low running
costs, compact size and versatility, the Horizon has become a popular car in Simca Club
UK, with over 40 on our books. A good number are still on the road, and there are
probably many more Horizons around whose owners continue to use them as everyday cars.
Dick Husband has some spares for Talbot Horizons. Please contact Dick at CB Motors on 02476 325577 or email him at email@example.com.
Colin Hill also has parts for Horizon models. Contact him on 01473 737325 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for the next chapter in the Talbot story.
Simca Club UK | Overseas Simca Clubs | Home page |
Spares locator page | Route UK | Club Forum
Design & production by Novaspan Systems Copyright © 2003. Notes by David Chapman, Simca Club UK. Not to be reproduced without permission