Friday, April 22, 2011

1951 Simca 9 Aronde

Simca was a subsidiary of Fiat, established in 1934 in France to avoid the high Customs duties on imported cars, as the European Common Market wasn't created until 1957. 

The Simca Aronde was built from 1951 to 1955. The first series (9 Aronde) was produced for models from 1951 to 1953 (podium grille) and second (Aronde) for models from 1954 to 1955 (arc grille).

The 9 Aronde presented on 31 May 1951, the first Simca à carrosserie monocoque or with unibody construction. Unlike previous Simcas produced under the Fiat license, it had almost nothing in common with an existing Fiat model, although the Fiat 1400 from the year before had an identical structure. In fact, the Simca 9 Aronde and the Fiat 1400 were developed jointly at the great American specialist sheet metal stamper of all-steel bodywork, Budd.

The Simca seemed decidedly modern against the Citroen Traction Avant or the Peugeot 203 of the era. The bodywork was completed by Rene Dumas whose style showed strong Italian influence with wings integrated into the rest of the bodywork. This was one of the first such French car. For its time, it had a large area of glass.

Despite its apparent modernity, the 9 Aronde was technically classical. It was driven by the same Fiat engine of 1221 cc as that fitted to the Simca 8 it replaced (1200 cc) but had 45 hp.

Its strong points were precise steering, good braking, lack of sluggishness and agreeable driving compared to its rivals.

Its faults were rear axle hopping, uncomfortable ride, imprecise gear box control and a non-synchronized first gear.

The interior of the 1951 Simca 9 Aronde models was lined with a striped fabric quickly nicknamed "drap de déporté" (sheet of deported person) because WW2 was still on everyone's mind. The early versions had the distinction of having their 12 volt battery under the front seat. The 9 Aronde 1951 was distinguished by the  black grille monogram and one piece rear bumper, against three from 1952.

Some specifications:
Engine: 4 cylinders in line
Displacement: 1221 cc
Bore x stroke: 72 x 75 mm
Power: 45CV at 4500 rpm
Alimentation: 1 Carburetor Solex inverted 32 PBIC
Distribution: OHV and rockers
Ignition: Battery and coil
Transmission: 4 speed manual gearbox unsynchronized first

Tyres: 5.50 x 15 
Wheelbase: 263 cm 
Length: 407 cm 
Width: 156 cm 
Height: 152 cm 
Weight: 880 kg
Maximum speed: 130 km/h

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