talbot Alpine

The Talbot 1510 (known as the new Alpine in the UK) was the first new model to be unveiled by the revived Talbot marque, and appeared at the Paris Motor Show in October 1979. The most noticeable changed compared with the previous Alpine/Simca 1307 was the restyled front end. Instead of the leading edge of the bonnet protruding forward above the radiator grille, the grille sloped back to meet the bonnet top, bringing the car into line with the appearance of the Horizon and Sunbeam models, and increasing the overall length of the car. Cleverly no sheet metal changes were needed for this new look.

At the rear, new larger light clusters completed the external modifications. Early cars featured the name "Talbot" on the radiator grille rather than on the bonnet lid. Inside the car, a more inviting interior awaited new owners. The excellent seats and dashboard were retained, but new trim and revised minor controls were provided. More interesting was the 1592 cc engine supplied in the top of the range SX model. Initially only available with automatic transmission, later models had the option of a manual box.

Four versions of the 1510 were available. At the bottom of the range was the LS with the faithful old Simca 1294 cc engine developing 67 bhp. Both the GL and GLS models used the 1442 cc power unit, producing 84 bhp. To distinguish it from the GL, the GLS was equipped with electric front windows, rev counter, digital clock and velour upholstery. Options available included power assisted steering, tinted glass, a headlamp wash/wipe system and a trip computer.

Besides its larger engine, the top of the range SX version had the GLS options as standard, together with cruise control and a sliding sunshine roof. The trip computer was an ingenious device which calculated distance travelled, average speed and fuel used as well as consumption in either metric or imperial units. In practice it did not operate accurately enough to be of real benefit.

Restyled Alpines did not arrive in the UK until early 1980, and the model name remained the same. Cars assembled here were identical to the versions produced in France, except that the GLS and SX models were supplied with vinyl roofs as standard, something that owners in recent years were to regret, as corrosion in this area became widespread. All models built after the summer of 1980 carried the now familiar ‘T’ logo on the radiator grille, with new, bolder scripts on the bonnet and rear saying "TALBOT".

From September 1981 the LS model was fitted with the 1442 cc engine. In turn, the GL and GLS were supplied with the 1592cc engine as standard, developing 89 bhp. A five speed gearbox designed for the Citroen CX was fitted to the GLS, representing the first non-Chrysler mechanical component in a Talbot. The same gearbox was also available as an option on the SX model.

Sales of the Talbot 1510 range in Europe did not match those of its predecessor, the Simca 1307/8, and the launch of a booted version of the car, the Talbot Solara, signified a shift in buyer behaviour. In continental Europe, demand for the traditional "three box" Solara steadily overtook that for the 1510, and Talbot stopped production at Poissy in the summer of 1982, with only 75,753 cars built. Production continued in Spain, purely for the Spanish market, and production also continued in Britain at Ryton, again just for the domestic market.

 

There were some UK market special editions such as the ‘Arrow’, ‘Stereo’ and ‘Summertime Special’

October 1982 saw the launch of the ‘Series 2’ range of Alpines in the UK, with all cars fitted with the Peugeot BE1 gearbox originally designed for the Peugeot 305. The top of the range SX models were discontinued and new "entry level" LE models appeared. While primarily aimed at the fleet market, a number of these LE cars soon fell into private hands. In October 1984 the range was cut to just two models, confusingly badged "Minx" and "Rapier", although the only connection with Rootes Group models of the same names was the fact that they were built at Ryton. The cars were further "Peugeotised" with 305 steering wheels and indicator stalks replacing those of Chrysler Simca origin. Production of these models lasted only six months or so and by the summer of 1985, Ryton was building Peugeot 309s.


 

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