French automaker Simca unveiled its compact family car, the Simca 1000 at the Paris Motor Show in 1961. Simca 1000 was a compact, rear engined, four-door saloon. It featured four wheel drum brakes, Gemmer worm and roller steering and 5.60 x 12 tyres. It was a compact car with a wheelbase of 86.6 inches, a length of 149.6 inches and a width of 58.3. The car was inexpensive, and at the time of launch, quite modern, with a brand-new inline-4 engine.
The original 944cc engine (45 hp) with bore and stroke of 68mm x 65mm was used from 1962 through until the end of production in 1978. Over the course of time, the 1000 was available in a number of versions featuring different equipment levels and variations of the original Type 315 engine. The low-specification version was sold as Simca 900, and it was later replaced by Simca 4CV (also marketed as Sim’4), powered by a 0.8 litre unit. On the other end of the range, the 1.1 L version from the larger Simca 1100 was added in 1969 (the Simca 1000 was marketed in the USA as Simca 1118). Finally, the 1.3 L version, used in the biggest Simca, the 1300, made its way to the little 1000 in the early 1970s. Apart from the standard manual transmission, some versions could be fitted with a three-speed semiautomatic developed by Ferodo.
Simca 1000 gathered immediate interest since its launch. By the beginning of 1962, 250 Simca 1000s were rolling off the assembly line every day and by the end 1962 Simca had sold more than 160,000 of the little cars. In 1962 Coupe 1000 Bertone and the SIMCA-Abarth 1150 were shown at the Geneva Salon and next year Simca 900 was introduced as a lower priced and equipped entry model in the range. Despite some changes in the model range during the years, Simca 1000 remained pretty much unchanged.
However by the end of the 1960′s sales started to drop. Therefore the decision was made to entirely renovate the 1000 line for 1969. The entire line finally benefited from a number of long awaited modifications. New front and rear styling was introduced giving the 1969 1000 a very up-to-date look. The front was visually enlarged with a larger grille, bumper and 7″ as opposed to 5” headlights. The front parking lights / blinkers were moved to a wrap-around position, low on each wing. At the rear, the round taillights were replaced by very contemporary trapezoidal ones. Wheel diameter increased from 12″ to 13″ (except the Sim’4 which retained 12″ for another year) and were half an inch wider. Radial ply tyres too made an appearance too.
The front suspension was reinforced and improved. Front disc brakes became available and the steering became rack & pinion instead of the former Gemmer worm-and-roller type. The steering column had a two-piece jointed safety shaft that allowed the shaft to bend instantly in the event of a front-end collision. The new, transverse mounted, multiple leaf front spring had one centre clamp which resulted in a softer ride. A front anti-roll bar was added as well. The rear suspension was greatly improved. A second outer universal joint was added on both rear axleshafts, to assure negative rear wheel camber at all times, resulting in a substantial improvement in lateral stability and in cornering.
The battery was moved to the front boot to improve weight distribution although that further reduced what precious little space there was for luggage. Stuff loaded into the boot was protected from battery spills by a sheet-metal surround and a heavy plastic cover. For 1969 the range was reduced to just three models: the Sim’4, the 1000 and the 1000 Special. All 1000’s carried the new 349 motors replacing the original 315 series. The 1000 Special had 50 hp engine and featured long-distance iodine driving lamps, a wood trimmed dashboard, sporty steering wheel and top speed of 89mph. Simca showed interest towards sporty automobiles and launched 1000 Rallye in 1970. It had a 1118cc engine (53 hp) in a Sim’4 shell. There were no hubcaps or grille, and was made all the more sporty with a matte black painted bonnet, sporty bucket driver’s seat and a unique dashboard with round, full instrumentation. Different variations of Rallye model stayed in production until 1978.
For 1975, the 1000 got a rejuvenated interior. The dashboard now had modern, round instruments. The door panels and headlining were also re-done. Only the LS retained four-wheel drum brakes. All models got a 35-amp alternator, replacing the anachronistic dynamo. In 1976 a larger oil pump and and anti-pollution equipment was installed. There were new colours inside and out. Two new 1000 SR models were introduced for just the one year. In March 1976, the 1000 Extra was unveiled in France as a Limited Edition model. It included as standard equipment special wheels, iodine headlights, long-distance driving lights, special tyres, tinted glass, velour seats and metallic paint. Buyers could also choose between a sunroof or a radio. The Extra was available in blue, brown or grey.
The production of small, rear-engined cars was near the end and in 1977 the Simca 1000 was replaced by the 1005 and 1006. These two new cars weren’t really new automobiles but facelifted 1000s. At the front, huge rectangular headlamps were located in a huge matt black plastic grille and the bonnet was given a smoother line. Both models included as standard radial ply tyres, heated rear window, slightly higher rear bumper and dual circuit braking. The 1005 LS was the base model including a folding rear seat, the optional Automatique transmission and a 944cc, 40 hp engine. In France, the 1005 LS De Luxe replaced the 1005 LS in January 1978 and featured metallic paint, tinted glass, long-distance driving lights and velour upholstery. A more luxurious 1006 LS De Luxe featured metallic paint, tinted glass, velour upholstery, folding rear seat as standard and, at last, a radio!
After almost two million cars made, the production of the rear engined Simca 1000 ended in 1978.