Theme: Brochures – “Of the Same Noble Breed as the Fabulous Cheetah”

From the Parazitas collection, a journey into a gentler time.

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It is quite possible that I have never seen a Simca 1200S, nor its tamer 1962 predecessor the 1000 Coupe, in real life, but this English language brochure from around 1970 is testament to its existence. Checking a November 1970 issue of Motor confirms that it was indeed offered in the UK at a hefty £1595. Just £1398 would have bought you a Capri 3000GT. The Simca’s more natural rivals, the Alfa  Romeo Guilia 1300GT, and Lancia Fulvia Coupé Rallye S are listed at £1848 and £1871 respectively.

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The little Franco-Italian coupé , engineered in the era of Fiat’s ownership, has some claim to its place in such exalted company. Its Bertone manufactured body is one of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s first works to be realised in series production, and its highly tuned, oversquare, Poissy engine turns out 85bhp from 1204cc, alimented by a brace of twin-choke Solex carburettors.

For its first five years, as the plain Simca 1000 Coupé, a tamer 944cc engine had to suffice although four-wheel disc brakes ensured it would stop better than it could go.  1967 brought a 30bhp power boost, and a front mounted radiator with conspicuous bonnet grilles to demonstrate baby supercar pretensions.

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The brochure could be described as a modest masterpiece of a certain genre. It’s centred around the story of its own photoshoot.

“Our appointment was for 11:00.  I had chosen an amusement park for the pictures, and we were all there; my assistants, the factory technician, and a bevy of the most beautiful models I could collect. My assignment was to photograph the new coupe Simca 1200 S. I had photographed other cars before and thought this would be the usual thing;  pretty girls, handsome men, etc. 

But I hadn’t yet seen the Simca 1200 S…”

Some cheetahs make an unscripted appearance.  Perhaps they ate some of the “bevy of beautiful models”. There’s a feeling of Paris trying to do Swinging London, maybe rather late in the day.

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I’m not au fait with PSA’s current publicity material, but if it even exists in paper form, I doubt if Baudelaire is quoted in the midst of a relentless stream of heady brochurese.

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5 thoughts on “Theme: Brochures – “Of the Same Noble Breed as the Fabulous Cheetah””

  1. I’ve never seen one in the metal, but this brochure does conjure up an era when I could get so excited about cars. Looked at it through today’s eyes, there’s a cheesiness about some of it, but also a sense of fun and inventiveness. Obviously my interest in cars persisted, or I wouldn’t be here, but I’m pretty sure that, were I the age I was back then today, it’s unlikely I’d have much interest in cars at all.

    I’d also add the Simca, probably in 1000cc form, to my list of slow sports cars that it might be nice to run on today’s roads.

  2. Lovely stuff. Utilising the photographer’s perspective is highly pertinent for a styling-led car.

    One wonders why manufacturers do not often take a more languid approach? The brochure is perfect for a long form meditation on the merits of a product and its wider context within people’s lives. The closest we get now are in-house magazines; for example, the Mazda magazine Zoom Zoom is particularly good. Any one of the journalists moonlighting within that publication’s pages could write a very good brochure for the MX5.

  3. That´s simply choice material. It´s a lovely little car of which I was previously unaware. Jaeger dials too. There is so little text in car ads these days that it is a surpise to find any details at all. The mention of writers and philosophers would be astonishing. Who do that today? Such obvious intellectualism is very much out of fashion. And I expect if it did appear it would be laughed at.

    1. I’ve seen a few in the metal, and they are quite pretty little things, especially with the yellow headlights.

  4. The text reminds me that the once-inevitable use of the group term ‘bevy’ to describe a congregation of attractive women has fallen into disuse of late. I wonder why?

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