Simca 1000 coupÉ
With the end of the Aronde range, Simca had no sports model in their line up, and so the designers looked at the possibility of creating a sports coupe based on the Simca 1000. Bertone was the styling house selected, and an attractive two door coupe was first offered to the motoring public in 1963. The car was styled by Giorgio Giugiaro, then starting his career at Bertone. He was later to produce such cars as the Lotus Espirit, original Volkswagen Golf, Passat and Sirocco. At launch Car magazine described the 1000 Coupe as "the world's neatest small coupe". The main mechanical change in the 1000 Coupe compared with the saloon was the adoption of disc brakes all round. It retained the standard 944 cc engine. While only produced in relatively small numbers, the 1000 Coupe proved popular with the younger, upmarket set it was aimed at. The car was an attractive alternative to the similarly rear engined Renault Floride. Production stopped early in 1967.
In September 1967, a revised Coupe made its debut. Called the 1200S, it featured a much larger engine of 1204 cc. By fitting two twin choke Solex carburettors, output was an impressive 80 bhp, giving a top speed of 109 mph. The car gained a more muscular appearance thanks to a clever restyle at the front, with the bonnet line extended over a matt black grille flanked by a pair of auxiliary driving lights. The wheels received stylish black centre caps (later to be used on other sporty Simcas) and the interior was upgraded with leather trim available as an option. Despite a price double that of the Simca 1000 Rallye, the 1200S was even more successful than the 1000 Coupe. For the 1970 model year, power was increased to 87 bhp, giving almost 112 mph. This was the fastest standard production Simca ever built. October 1970 saw the fitting of a vinyl roof, and the offering of optional alloy wheels. Production ceased in 1971 after 14,729 examples had been sold.
While all 1000 and 1200S coupes were only built with left hand drive, six 1200S cars were converted to right hand drive by Warwick Wright, a London Rootes dealer in 1968. Amazingly, no fewer than three of these cars have survived and are owned by Simca Club UK members. A handful of left hand drive 1000 and 1200S Coupes are also known to the UK Club. As you can imagine, in France these cars are highly regarded and even have their own Club (see Clubs listing). Most mechanical parts can be sourced thanks to the car being based largely on the 1000 saloon.