Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Simca Rallye 2

Words & photos: Daniel Bevis

The naming strategy of the Simca 1000 is a little misleading. Yes, the launch model back in 1961 had a 944cc engine, which is pretty close to 1000, but it was also possible to buy an 1,137cc 1000, or even a 1,294cc variant, as we see here.
But let's not get mired in the numbers, eh? Let's just take a moment to drink in the luminous green splendour of this wonderful rear-engined oddball.

One of the last of the line, this '78 model is a Rallye 2 - an Abarth-derived road-racer with a diminutive footprint, a featherweight mass and a bootful of horses. In the early days of the model, Abarth tuned the 1000 for competition purposes (recognising the staid family saloon's potential, no doubt, thanks to its light weight, rear-wheel drive, and superior traction caused by having so much of the weight over the rear wheels), and their work was sufficiently impressive for Simca to adopt the modifications as optional factory fare, with the Rallye model growing through three evolutions.
The original Rallye 1 offered 60bhp and track-honed suspension, but interestingly the Rallye 2 didn't actually supercede this variant, but was built alongside as a quicker, more upmarket version: it boasted twin Solex carbs, a higher compression ratio, and 82bhp. It could do 100mph and had disc brakes all round. Being so light, it certainly showed the Renault 8 a thing or two...

Now, the example we see here is rather special. It's been treated to the expensive, impressive factory 'SRT 77' option. Various internal tweaks, along with the addition of a pair of twin 40 Webers, allow the engine to churn out 110bhp, while arch flares and spoilers beef up the sense of purpose. So what you're looking at here, then, is a very quick little racing car, in the guise of a road car, masquerading as a sensible four-door saloon. Fun, huh?

Spotted at the 2013 Retro Show - more photos here

1 comment:

NSU67 said...

Neat post. Couple notes. The car pictured has a 76 and older front valence (round headlights). The model year actually changed in the early fall.. so it's a Summer of 76 and older car. It also doesn't have the SRT 77 body kit.

I have a '77 Rallye 2.