Simca Talbot Information Centre
Work on Project C9 started in 1976, when Chrysler Europe agreed a replacement for the slow
selling 180 and 2 Litre models.
By the time of the Peugeot takeover in 1978, a large amount of the work on the new car
had been completed, including the styling. To be called the Simca 2000, the C9 was to
utilise the Chrysler 2 Litre engine and Simca designed suspension.
Peugeot's soon to be released 505 2 litre model would have been in direct
competition with the then unnamed Tagora. To avoid this clash, the new management decided
to upgrade the Tagora and to offer the top model with the Douvrin "co-op" V6 engine
developed jointly by Peugeot, Renault and Volvo.
To accommodate the new power unit, the engine compartment was extended and at the
same time it was decided to adopt the MacPherson strut front suspension as used in the
Peugeot 505 and 604 instead of the Simca-designed double wishbones. Semi-trailing link
suspension of Peugeot origin was fitted to the rear. As Talbot wished to provide better
handling than on the 505, the suspension was adjusted accordingly.
No one would deny that the Tagora looked distinctive when it first appeared at
the Paris Motor show in October 1980. The car's most unusual feature was a steeply raked
windscreen and falling bonnet line. At 5ft 11ins the new Talbot was very wide, but its
overall length of 15ft 2ins was no longer than a BMW 5 Series or the Ford Granada. Talbot
succeeded in making the most of the short engines employed to leave a vast area for five
people and large amounts of luggage.
By using three different engines, a range of Tagoras was available. There were
two models powered by the Simca-derived 2155 cc unit. This was fitted in the GL and GLS
models. A single twin-choke carburettor was fitted and the engine developed 115 bhp. The
next engine was the 2304 cc turbocharged diesel fitted to the DT model, which was not
imported to the UK. Top of the range was the Douvrin 2664 cc engine fitted to the SX
model, which developed 165 bhp.
The Tagora range was launched in France in April 1981. The UK launch was a month
later, and large posters appeared across the country with a picture of the car carrying
the message, "The new Talbot Tagora. Luxury and performance redefined". Only the 2.2
litre cars were available at launch in the UK, the SX did not appear until October 1981.
The GL model came with a 4 speed gearbox and power steering was listed as an option, but
the few examples of this model seen have all had power steering, so it may have been
fitted to all. The GLS had a 5 speed box, tinted glass, power steering, tachometer,
velour upholstery and central locking.
Both Motor and Autocar tested the 2.2 GLS in their issues of 16 May 1981, and
both were impressed with most aspects of the car. The fuel economy was particularly good
for the time and engine size, with Motor achieving an overall average of 24.3 mpg. They
considered the Tagora to be an outstandingly spacious car for passengers and luggage with
impressive economy and refinement. Criticism of the ineffective ventilation system was
quite justified, Tagoras being hot places to be in warm weather.
In October 1981 the 2.6 SX model finally arrived in the UK. In addition to the
much more powerful engine, the SX had alloy wheels, electric windows front and rear,
height adjustable driver's seat, disc brakes all round, headlamp wash wipe system,
chrome-topped inserts on the bumpers, trip computer, and delayed timing for the interior
light. In France, leather trim was an option. The SX was certainly quick. Some
journalists achieved a 0-60 time of 8.3 seconds with this model. Unfortunately, enquiries
from prospective purchasers took rather longer.
To say that sales of the Tagora were slow would be an understatement. Months
after the model was introduced, one would be hard-pressed to see one on the road in the
UK. The position was only slightly better in France, helped by the availability of the
diesel turbo model, and customers in other European countries also turned their backs on
the Tagora. Few would disagree that the early 1980's was probably the least appropriate
time to launch a completely new car in the over-2 litre class; the world was in the
depths of a recession. Taken together with the poor reception the revived Talbot marque
enjoyed, it was not surprising that the Tagora was a sales failure. This was a great
shame because, poor ventilation apart, it was a very good motor car. 1982 saw the 2.2 GL
dropped from the range, and production of the other models at the former Simca factory
ceased in June 1983, with only 19,403 completed.
Today few right hand drive Tagoras have survived, and the car has a small but
enthusiastic following in Simca Club UK. There are also some excellent examples belonging
to members of Club Simca France.
Dick Husband has some spares for Talbot Tagoras. Please contact Dick at CB Motors on
02476 325577 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colin Hill also has parts for Talbot Tagoras and has much experience of working on these
cars. Contact him on 01473 737325 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Click here for the next chapter in the Talbot story.
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