Simca Vedette

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Simca Vedette
1961 Simca Vedette Chambord
Automotive industrySimca
Also calledFord Vedette
Production1954–1961
Car classificationLarge car
Car body style4-door Saloon car
5-door Estate car
2-door Convertible
4-door Convertible
Automobile layoutFR layout
Internal combustion engine2.4 L Ford Flathead engine V8
Transmission (mechanics)3-speed Manual transmission
Rush-Matic Automatic transmission[1]
RelatedFord Vedette
Simca Ariane
Simca Esplanada

The Simca Vedette is a large Automobile, manufactured from 1954 to 1961 by the French Automaker Simca, at their factory in Poissy, France. It was marketed with different model names according to trim and equipment levels. The Vedette was Simca's largest model at that time and it spawned a more economical version, the Simca Ariane.

Simca acquired the Poissy factory from Ford SAF (Ford S.A. (corporation) Française, the French subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company), along with the model line, in 1954. The Vedette was therefore initially still marketed as the Ford Vedette.

The Vedette was manufactured in Poissy until 1961 and the Ariane until 1963. After that, production continued in Brazil, where the Vedette finally evolved into the Simca Esplanada,[2] following Simca's takeover by Chrysler.

Contents

Origins


In the early 1950s, Henri Théodore Pigozzi was looking to expand the manufacturing operations of his Simca company, which was enjoying much success at the time, thanks to the popular Aronde. At the same time, Ford was seeking to divest itself of its French subsidiary, Ford SAF, which had a factory in Poissy, close to Paris, where it had been manufacturing a large car called the Ford Vedette. The Poissy plant was large and there was capacity for further expansion. The Vedette was a larger car than anything that Simca had on offer at that time. These points attracted Pigozzi, who decided to take over the entire factory, along with the rights to the cars manufactured there.[3]

The first Vedettes


Simca Versailles
1956 Simca Vedette
Also calledSimca Trianon
Simca Régence
Simca Marly
Production1954–1957
Wheelbase2690 mm (105.9 in)[1]
Length4520 mm (178 in)[1]
Width1750 mm (68.9 in)[1]
Height1480 mm (58.3 in)[1]
Curb weight1150 kg (2535 lb)[1]
Fuel capacity60 litres (Convert/LoffAonSoffUSre; 13.2 imp gal)[1]

The acquisition by Pigozzi took place in July 1954, just when Ford was poised to launch its new, modern Vedette,[3] with a 4-door Saloon car body of 'United States' style, much like the contemporary British Fords or Vauxhall Motors. The car was powered by an unusually small 2,351 cc displacement Sidevalve V8 unit called Aquillon in France, which stemmed from Ford's Ford Flathead engine. Equipped with a Carburetor Zenith Carburetters 32NX Carburetor, it produced 80 hp (60 kW), which slotted the car into the '13 CV' French tax class. Power was transferred to the rear Live axle through a 3-speed Manual transmission with Manual transmission. The Vedette had Independent suspension (by MacPherson strut) and Drum brake on all four wheels.[1]

As with the Aronde, Simca marketed different trim levels of the Vedette under different model names, this time with references to the grand period of baroque in French history. The basic version was called the Simca Grand Trianon, the mid-level was the Simca Versailles and, atop the range, sat the Simca Régence. An interesting option on all those versions was a large glass Moonroof that would slide into the roof, called Vistadome[1] The Vedette range was still marketed under the Ford brand in some markets, including the Netherlands and Germany, until 1956.[4][5]. As the new model caught on, Simca was able to increase production from the 150 daily achieved during Ford's ownership of the factory to 250 cars a day.[3]

Pigozzi maintained a schedule of year-to-year model revisions, much like American manufacturers. For 1956, an Estate car version joined the line-up, called the Simca Marly and the whole range was revised. A new License plate holder was added to the front bumper and the rear license plate now concealed the Fuel tank filler. A peculiar addition was a pedal-operated Windscreen washer, while other more ordinary changes included a second Odometer, also known as a 'trip meter', for measuring partial distances. The Versailles and Régence were made even more comfortable, with the addition of central armrests (Versailles in the rear only, Régence in front and rear), while the Trianon was simplified, losing Bumper guard and chrome windscreen decor. In 1957, an option of the Gravina automatic clutch was added, along with more effective brakes and more direct steering. The Trianon regained the chrome decor around the windscreen, while the other models acquired slimmer tail lights and the front ornament was replaced with a new design. Fender-mounted V8 badges were introduced but, although the whole range featured the same V8 engine, the new badges appeared on the fenders of only the Régence and Marly.[1]

Production figures

  • 1955 - 42439
  • 1956 - 44836
  • 1957 - 17875[1]

New models


Simca Chambord
1960 Simca Beaulieu
Also calledSimca Beaulieu
Simca Présidence
Simca Marly
Production1958–1961
Wheelbase2690 mm (105.9 in)[1]
Length4750 mm (187 in)[1]
Width1770 mm (69.7 in)[1]
Height1480 mm (58.3 in)[1]
Curb weight1260 kg (2778 lb)[1]
Fuel capacity60 litres (Convert/LoffAonSoffUSre; 13.2 imp gal)[1]

After three years in production, the Vedette was given a new, elongated body, with a more ornate front end and large Tailfin, making it even more American-looking than before. This was part of a styling trend shown by most large Europe cars of that period, which were, to some extent, inspired by American styling, as tailfins appeared on Peugeot, Fiat, British Motor Corporation models (Pinin Farina-styled), Fords and even Mercedes-Benz cars of that era. The engine was uprated to 84 hp (now called Aquillon 84) but the fiscal qualification of the car remained unchanged.[1]

The three-year-old body of the previous Vedette found a new use, in April 1957. Fitted with the 1.3-litre Aronde engine, it became a new model in the Simca range — the Simca Ariane.[3] Later, in October 1957, a V8 version with the Aquillon 84, called the Ariane 8, joined the range, replacing the Trianon. The Versailles was replaced by Simca Beaulieu and the Régence by the Chambord, while the estate retained the Marly name.[1]

1959 brought a new option - the Rush-Matic Automatic transmission. This transmission featured two modes: Rush (fully automatic) and Road (manual gear selection). The same year, assembly of the Vedette started at Simca do Brasil.[2] Also during 1959, a new top-of-the-line model joined the Vedette range - the Présidence, featuring a luxurious interior, a Radiotelephone (a European first) and a Continental kit. French Coachbuilder Henri Chapron built two 2-door Présidence Convertible for a governor of one of the French Colony. Chapron had another order the next year, to build two four-door convertibles for the French President Charles de Gaulle himself. The Beaulieu was dropped in autumn 1960 but the other models remained unchanged until the 1961 model year, when they received new seats and new chrome decor and the engine was fitted with a new anti-vibration crankshaft.

Production of the Vedette ended in the Summer of 1961, with a total of 173,288 cars having been produced, although the model was continued for longer in Brazil. The Ariane survived until 1963, with 166,363 produced.[1][3]

Production figures

  • 1958 - 28142
  • 1959 - 15966
  • 1960 - 13914
  • 1961 - 3813[1]


References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 Bellu, René. Toutes les Simca. Le Conquet: Studio Gernot.  (published and distributed privately, no ISBN)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Les SIMCA Vedette". Club Simca France. http://www.clubsimca.com/vedette/vedette.htm. Retrieved on 2006-08-13.  (French)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "SIMCA VEDETTE and SIMCA ARIANE". Simca Talbot Information Centre – Simca Club UK. http://www.simcatalbotclub.org/vedette.htm. Retrieved on 2006-08-12. 
  4. "Ford Vedette". Ford Oldtimer und Motorsport Club Cologne. http://website.webcenter.lycos.de/www.fomcc.de/vedette.htm. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.  (German)
  5. "Vedette (1955-1961)". Phil Seed's Virtual Car museum. http://www.philseed.com/simvedette.html. Retrieved on 2006-08-13. 
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