By on October 7, 2014

01 - 1964 Simca 1000 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDuring my recent trip to Sweden, I took in a Folkrace, saw many old American cars on the street, visited a farm full of restored classic Chryslers, and, of course, went to the junkyard. We’ve seen this 1966 Toyota Crown station wagon and this 1963 Ford Taunus 17M at Bloms Bilskrot in Söråker, and now here’s a very rusty example of a car that was popular in Europe but never made much of an impression in North America: the Simca 1000.
LNV11-Simca-10We have a single Simca racing in the 24 Hours of LeMons, but it’s a front-drive Simca 1100 (which was badged as a 1204 in the United States). I hope to see a Vedette racing in the series someday.
06 - 1964 Simca 1000 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWas the last owner of this car named Greta Swedin?
02 - 1964 Simca 1000 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe top-down rust, no doubt caused by decades of birch-forest leaf mulch building up on the car, is pretty scary.
05 - 1964 Simca 1000 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, some pieces for a Swedish Simca restorer remain (if there are any Simca restorers in Sweden, that is).
04 - 1964 Simca 1000 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 1000 has a rear engine with water cooling.

The 1000 has a respectable racing heritage in Europe, so perhaps some of the parts on this one may go into a rally car.
Room for the relatives!

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42 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1964 Simca 1000...”

  • avatar

    What I remember of Simca was that they were unbelievably cheap price-wise, I mean less then VW beetle cheap

  • avatar

    Someone should take those mudflaps for their vintage Omni/Horizon!

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Were the Simcas Swedish?
    I was under the impression that they were French.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought they were a small branch of Chrysler which sold in Canada. Maybe I’m thinking of something else.

    • 0 avatar

      Your impression was right. Simca is short for Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carrosserie Automobile.

    • 0 avatar

      Simcas were French. At the time this car was built, Chrysler had a big stake in the company but didn’t control it yet. That came in 1967.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        As a young lad in the late 60’s I remember our local Chrysler/Plymouth/Imperial dealer sold Simcas. They were quite a sight parked in the front of the lot next to your work a day Valiants,fuselage Chryslers and winged beast Superbirds. The Dodge dealer down the road sold Rootes Group Sunbeams up until the Alpine version compact fastback replacement (Mark IV) for the legendary 2-seater.

        Mopar should have stuck with these through the 70’s gas crunches, they might have staved off the 79 bailout though the Mitsubishi partnership gave us the Colt and the Rootes based Plymouth Cricket was only around from 71-73.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    This is one of the more direct adaptations of the original Corvair. I wonder if the reduced size and weight mitigated the handling issues of the original?

  • avatar

    My mother bought a new 1965 Simca 1000 in Columbus, Ga. We were going to buy a new VW and ended up with the Simca with a free radio for about three hundred less than the Beetle. That was a good bit of money back then. My brother wrecked it about six months later and totaled it. She bought another one to replace it and I wrecked it a few months later. She got a 61 Ford after that. I remember it would blow the doors off a beetle, a real performance machine.

    • 0 avatar

      The Ancient Ones were wise and wonderful, providing their motorists with lovely, tall greenhouses and vent windows.

      I’d bear any skeletal misery required to fold into this cute little tub and tootle away.

      • 0 avatar

        skeletal misery? believe it or not, the simca mille is actually quite spacious, and has comfort to rival the french ass pleasure couch.

        as for the radiator location, CJ is correct, the factory location on most simca 1000 has the rad in the engine bay against firewall/gastank compartment. later, in the sporty “Rallye” models, the rad was relocated under the hood, up front. there will be more than one Simca in LeMons, just you wait.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    It looks to me that the top down rust happened when the car was running. Probably helped by a build up of mud and lack of fender liners. The red “lead” primer is probably a vain attempt to halt the rust.

  • avatar

    I mocked Simcas in a JF find post the other day but this little car is very appealing. I wonder where the radiator is? That engine was used in varying configurations until 1991!

    • 0 avatar

      The radiator is to the right and forward of the engine. Air is forced through it with ducting and a fan. I think some racers relocated it elsewhere, maybe in the back seat.

  • avatar

    I went to some club races at Zandvoort in 1984. Simca 1000s were still popular racing cars, although they weren’t fighting at the front of the pack. The MG Metro was in the process of taking over as the cheapest popular racing car, but the Simca 1000 was more in evidence on tracks than original Minis at the time, at least in the Netherlands. I saw lots of Minis every day on the road, but only one or two racing. I’m not sure I saw any Simca 1000s still in daily driver use. Minis were still in production, and cheap European cars didn’t seem to have very long service lives.

  • avatar

    Always liked these, a shame the French could never sand the rough edges…… that early Corvair style went a long way….

  • avatar

    What is the car to the Simca’s right with the angry tail light?

  • avatar

    Thanks Murilee for the laugh, I enjoyed the irony of “The 1000 has a respectable racing heritage in Europe” vs the video which showed the somewhat brutal lift off oversteer characteristics of this car..

  • avatar

    In your “Unexpected American vehicles appear on the streets of Sweden” photos, the third one in the series that you identified as an early ’60s Chrysler or DeSoto is actually a ’58-’60 Lincoln Continental. I can imagine the buyer of a 1960 model seeing the new, iconic 1961 and throwing up in his mouth a little bit.

  • avatar

    Tati’s ‘Playtime.’ Lots of Simcas stalled in the Paris city airport traffic. Color coded, going up & down on hoists in a mechanics bay. Spot his spoof on the traffic circle. You’ll be glad for leu de circulation.

    To be honest don’t recall Simca being anything special in its time.

  • avatar

    saw more than few of these in eatern france in 1981. looked so boxy and with bright colors and ralleye stripes a bit odd to my american eyes. by the time i left 7 months later they were pretty cool. never got to drive one or drive in one.

    a renault 4 wagon on the other hand was a cool ride with the dash mounted stick shift.

    also occaisionally saw a renault alpine – just parked on the street. had no idea what it was.

  • avatar

    What? No love for TARP Racing’s Simca(ish)?

  • avatar

    in europe the simca 1000 sold well, was much cheaper than the vw beetle and a bit faster, also was more versatile due the 4 dors. at the same time it was much bigger than basic cars like the fiat 600.

    before the simca renault used to sell the dauphine wich was similare and had some succes, infact immediately after the 1000 the renault 8 was launched, a bit bigger but same concept.

  • avatar
    lOmnivore Sobriquet

    Very, very funny car to drive.
    Think about it, the manual shift plugged on the floor !
    Race !
    Must be compared with its clone of course, the Renault 8.

    All these car being very reliable have no doubts, except we’re in the era of rust-takes-it-all winning generation.

    The Simca 1100 however is a completely different breed (pronounced “onz’euh’cen\'” if you please.)
    Real modern and nervous, good, really good road handling double carburator front wheel drive. We’re talking about pre golf Gti era of course.
    But handy, familly compliant, modern and young and so new then (launched 1967, settled the (cheap) fashionuntel mid 70’s here.)

    The double carburator didn’t like slow traffic however, y’had to pump the gas pedal to keep it running, not stalling, then some happy saturdays tune it just to have start reliably, and then again, then pump again, in the red light traffic etc.
    But just let it have open roads in front !

    A real masterpice, used to be common, all ended up in the steel crusher however, sooner or later, many not that later…
    And now it’s a rare collector. Line is perfect early 70’s.

    Chrystler had just bought Simca then (late 60’s), so you had those 4 cadrans ‘American’ dashboard. The onz-euh-cen’t is that rare exemple of a ‘loosing’ company staff rigidly defending their last time project, and the new ‘shark’ one , well, admitting it all fine, and letting it run. Result being successful ! Decent commercial success, common car. Young jeans-wearing working class couples, with a real man at the wheel, to sum it up…
    A true gem.

    Many went to the steel crucher already in their own time (accidents..), the rest disappeared totally in the few decades afterwards, to make microwave ovens and the like…
    Oh, and the Talbot “Horizon”, in other words the “Dodge Omni” or “Plymouth Horizon” of our 80’s are no more than a relooked ‘onze cent’ did you know that ?
    A bit loose the shifter yes, not a Peugeot obviously.

    The earlier Simca 1000 (“meel”), well, is just, fun.
    a friend of mine in my twenties fancied to buy one , circa 1987 or smthng, just to finish it, and how we were lining to take the weel…
    (the true legend actually is the Renault 8, although very very similar.)

  • avatar

    Wow, that picture sure brings back memories for me! When I was a kid in the 1970s, my mother drove a Simca 1000. They were fairly common on the roads in the Northern VA area where I grew up, and there was even a repair shop in the area that specialized exclusively in Simcas. IIRC, it was run by a guy named Varheeti, and I remember looking at the dozens of cars in various states of disassembly on the lot as a child on the not infrequent occasions our car was in for service.

    What I remember most was the complex sequence of steps necessary to start the car on rainy mornings — pull the choke knob (on the floor near the shifter – a knob protruding from an odd half spherical bump on the floor the size of a tennis ball), press the gas pedal a certain number of times while turning the key, release and press the pedal a fractional amount, re-crank the engine, make various angry utterances, etc. It was also under powered, and the daily left turn from a stop sign onto a 35mph two-lane road was truly scary. I still remember my thighs being burned by the black vinyl seats in the summertime, and being impressed by the concept of carpeting in the car that replaced our Simca, which had black vinyl flooring.

    Another memory I have is my mom having to drive the car backwards up a hilly road because the engine kept stalling when driving forward due to fuel in the partially full tank not getting to the engine when going up the incline.

    The car was intriguing because it had a rear engine. Under the front hood was a storage space with a spare tire, which was unusual. One of the two grills on the rear hood was an air intake to the engine compartment; the other grill was cosmetic and had a blocking plate under it.

    Despite the low budget design and hard starting, my parents kept that car running for at least a decade. I still remember that car’s last gasp – a loud shriek my brother, father, and I heard at home when the car was a quarter mile away and the engine seized, stranding my mom.

    Back then, it seemed that all that mattered was getting from Point A to B; we had no expectation of amenities in a car. How times have changed!

  • avatar

    I owned one of these for several years. I bought it new for $1700. It was the GLS model. One of the most comfortable cars I ever owned. It got 44 mpg and came with a bumper to bumper 50,000 mile warranty. I ended up giving it to my younger brother when I started work after college.

    It was stable at 75 on the interstate and handled pretty well. I wish I could buy one today

  • avatar

    I’ve got a 77 Simca Rallye 2 coming to Canada _eventually_ it’s in Holland at the moment waiting for a mate in the container.

    To clear up some misinformation, there were Rallye 0-3s the 0 and 1 being more look fast than go fast. The GLS had the exact same output as the Rallye 1. The 2 and 3 got front mounted radiators and they made 16k of the 2 (72-78) and only 1k of the 3 (78 only).

    They made about a million of the body style. Another fun fact is that it’s a rejected Fiat 850 design (Fiat apparently thought it was too big of a step from the 600).

    And if anyone thinks they’re ill-handling enter ‘simca rallye wins’ not ‘simca rallye fails’ into youtube ;)

    • 0 avatar
      lOmnivore Sobriquet

      Simca and Fiat were quite connected in the old days. During the fifties, the small Simca 8 was actually a Fiat 500 (pronounce it Italian plz) of the first generation.
      Mother used to ride in one when young.

      • 0 avatar

        NSU also built a Topolino as their first car. I’m hard pressed to think of a car manufacturer that helped out more companies than Fiat. Renault got a around a lot as well, but not sure to the same extent (Dacia, Hino, might be forgetting one or two) The Renault Alpine A110 was built by half a dozen? manufacturers

  • avatar

    “Why you filthy little Simca !” … quote (paraphrase ?) from A Clockwork Orange.

  • avatar

    First car. Everything the Beetle wasn’t. High compression 52 hp rear engine had the most wonderful rising and falling hum. Geared so low you started it on the street in 2nd. Would hold at 90 — but so lightweight, a strong wind would put you instantly in the other lane. Required rotating tires frequently. Mileage: can’t remember. Think in those days — the late 60ies — you would commute to school for about $3.50 a week. These got dumped on the local Chrysler garages before they had metric tools in the shop, so there were problems if you needed anything done and didn’t know an import garage. Little plastic looking heater would run you out of the vehicle in about two minutes: it really worked.

  • avatar

    Simca 1000. Rear engine car, almost done right. Simca sold nearly 1.6 million of these fascinating little cars. You can read all about the design and evolution of the Simca 1000 here:

  • avatar


    Late to the party here .

    Good to hear these were good little econo boxes .

    Looks cute to me .

    French cars are…..’different’ (means weird), once you understand this they’re wonderful ~ I’ve owned and loved Peugeots and Citroens, a Machinist at my last workplace was a Cajun who loved his 196? Simca .


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