Theme : Simca – Le Mini

The Simca 936 is a bit of a mystery, and I’m not going to clear up much of that mystery.

Simca 936 Prototype - Image :
Simca 936 Prototype – Image :

It was obviously Simca’s proposal for a Mini competitor. You’ll find it dated on the ever-reliable web as coming from 1963, or 1966 or 1967 which possibly results from Simca toying with idea for a long time. It wasn’t a hatchback, but it was a four door and was to have the Simca 1000 engine mounted transversely with a 3 speed automatic option.

Like most prototypes that are cut off mid development, it shows a mixture of crude and refined detailing. The door handles are rather good in a minimalist sort of way but the dashboard isn’t. Other information is scant, but one source suggests that some of those who worked on the project went on to join Renault.  Certainly the curved door frames, C pillar and general rear treatment have definite hints of the Renault 5. Was Michel Boué involved?

Chrysler, showing the typically wobbly grasp of product planning it had in the late 60s, put an end to it in favour of retaining the rear-engined Hillman Imp and Simca 1000. Th0se two models went on far too long and Simca never did get a Mini, or more relevantly by then, Renault 5 competitor. The nearest thing was the 1982 Talbot Samba, based on the Peugeot 104 – too little, too late.

11 thoughts on “Theme : Simca – Le Mini”

  1. Renault 16 door handles!

    Is there any evidence that Michel Boué worked for Simca?

    1. Information on Boué seems unfairly scant. There is mention of ex Simca people going to work on the Renault 5, but whether he was one of them isn’t mentioned. However someone took some of the 936s cues with them. To me they look too square for Renault 16 handles.

  2. In the course of discovering not very much, I found this picture of a Projet 928 (Simca 1100) development hack.

    It’s described as being a reworked 1300/1500 but only the doors look as if they were carried over. The rest looks very like a Renault 12 and even more like a Ford Corcel. Is that mere coincidence?

  3. Another unfortunately canned small car project was the Horizon-based Chrysler C2-Short, until they decided to instead produce the Peugeot 104-based Talbot Samba as well as the Talbot Sunbeam before that. The Talbot Sunbeam in reality being an Avenger-based design that was conceived around the early-1970s with the intention to replace the Hillman Imp.

    It would have been interesting to see how the Simca 936 and Chrysler C2-Short prototypes would have fared with the engines Chrysler Europe had available, ranging from the Simca 1000 to Hillman Imp engines and more. Especially any possible warm hatch to high-performance variants.

    Based on the styling it is likely that the Simca 936 prototype was from around the early/mid-1960s rather than the mid/late-1970s.

    1. Regarding the C2-short, it’s amazing how quickly engineering principles go out the window when the UK government comes up with £50 million to save a factory with no Fwd production equipment.

    2. Yes Bob. Typo now corrected. 1977 should, of course, have read 1967. Simca/Rootes/Chrysler/Talbot small car project planning seems to have been very random.

  4. The Project number is puzzling. 928 is the 1100, instigated in 1962, 929 is the big car project which started around 1966. So why 936 on a design which looks early rather than late sixties?

    Perhaps Simca were trying to “confuse enemy aircraft” – that was Lord Stokes’ excuse for the Maxi being allocated the out-of-sequence ADO14 code number.

  5. Seems Simca soon looked at a slightly larger car to replace the Simca 1000 (albeit as a Renault 7/VW Derby-like three-box saloon instead of a hatchback) before it drifted away from its original brief to Project A+ as it were in an attempt to replace both the Simca 1000 and Simca 1301/1501, whereupon it grew to a similar length as the 1100-derived C6/Alpine before losing out to Chrysler UK’s A-Car project aka the Avenger (despite the Avenger being smaller then Project A+).

  6. “Isabelle”, the Simca Mini was a stunning concept. Maybe the most interesting part is inside. It was overseen by Claude Genest, who succeeded to Mario Revelli di Beaumont in the late 60s. Of course, Michel Boué wasn’t involved in the process as he was working at the Color&Trim department at Renault’s CTR.
    However, several bridges existed between Simca Design Center and Renault, especially when Simca design studio closed its doors. In the early 70s, the half of people working at the Centre Style Renault came from Simca and earlier from the Loewy’s CEI. In my opinion, it is likely possible that Jacques Nocher was the lead designer of this project.

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