simca 1300 & 1500
It is always difficult to replace a successful car, but Simca did well with the 1300 and 1500, which both appeared in 1963 to take over from the Aronde, and to a certain extent, the Vedette. The 1300 used the Aronde Rush engine, while the 1500 had a new 1475cc unit. Both models shared a new elegant body shell with a very large glass area, which was one of the most distinguishing features of the cars. Apart from the engine and trim levels, differences between the two models were confined to radiator grille and bumpers.
Both models were imported into the UK from an early date and the British motoring press were very impressed, at a time when they tended to be highly critical of European designs. The only aspect which drew criticism was the gear change mechanism. Continental European 1300/1500 models were fitted with column change, but for the UK a floor mounted change was standard. The conversion resulted in a mirror image gear change, with 3rd and 4th on the left of the gate, and 1st and 2nd on the right. The testers found this took a bit of getting used to, but no doubt owners mastered it in time.
In 1964 an estate version of the 1500 was introduced. Again a very elegant vehicle , the down tailgate featured a wind down rear window, while the spare wheel cover in the floor could be lifted out to form a folding picnic table. Late 1965 saw the introduction of a 1300 estate (not imported into the UK) and the 1500 GLA, a car with the Borg Warner automatic gearbox. UK cars for the 1966 model year had a conventional gear change. The 1300/1500 design was face lifted in mid 1966 to produce the 1301/1501, which were made until the mid 1970s.
1300s and 1500s are very rare in the UK, very few of either known in the Club. A good number of examples remain in France and they seem to have a keen following in Germany.