Category Archives: Simca

Billy G’s French post-cars from Spain

Aronde, Aronde, he gets Aronde..

Aronde, Aronde, he gets Aronde..

We were delighted to receive an incoming message from Spain where ZZ Top’s Billy F Gibbons was spending a few weeks on break from touring, recording and being ultra-famous.  Well, he’s still ultra-famous but he did get some time off from the other stuff.  A dyed-in-the wool fan of FeralCars.com — he hosted our “DRIVEN” art ‘n’ cars event in Palm Springs last year — BFG sent us a snap shot of a SIMCA Aronde found parked at a curb in mid-Madrid.  We’ve determined it’s a ’61 or ’62.  The marque’s emblem is a swallow as can be seen in the steering wheel center.  “Aronde” is a corruption of hirondelle which means swallow — the bird, not the gulping kind.

Swallow. Hard.

Swallow. Hard.

Billy’s field notes:

“On any usual day while cruising the streets in Madrid, the sidewalk spotting may be a bit on the skimpy side when anticipating an encounter with anything classic or custom.  However, sometimes luck may be on one’s side when an unexpected runner of the road is seen sitting quietly curbside awaiting an admiring glance from any pedestrian or passerby. He continued, “In this case, this tantalizing visual treat tiptoed around a bustling and busy avenue to seek solace from an unusually oppressive Spanish summer heatwave to sit out the sangria-like sanguine sizzle with a sigh of relief. And so it sat, awaiting a smile as we strolled by.  See ya’ again soon, SIMCA…!  Now back to Cali to call out for a custom…!”

Back on the streets again

Back on the streets again

SIMCA was, for a time, marketed in the United States as the firm had been acquired by Chrysler which paired its “captive import” with select Chrysler,Plymouth, Dodge and DeSoto (!) dealers.  While some have suggested that the brand derived its name from a relatively obscure Jewish holiday, we’re here to tell you that SIMCA is actually an acronym for Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carrosserie Automobile. So that’s your French lesson for the day.

Horsing around España

Horsing around España

Well, not really as Billy also sent a shot of  a Citroën 2CV (deux chevaux = two horses) careening down a Spanish street. Our best guess is that this is a mid-1980s Dolly model, meaning it had special paint and a cushier interior than the base car. ¡Ay, caramba! meets Ooh La La!

The Pope's is white, of course.

The Pope’s is white, of course.

While we’re on the subject of French cars in Spain we thought we’d share this shot of a Renault 4L, called quatrelle in the land of its manufacturer, that we found in a picturesque alley in the Catalan town of Girona.  It’s the same type of low-end Renault that Pope Francis was given a few years back as, one supposes, a commentary on meek inheritance.  We think it’s pretty cool that the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion people drives a 30 year old car with almost 190,000 miles on the odometer.  How’s that for humble?

Goddess-like

Goddess-like

We close with two more Citroëns found on this continent.  That otherworldly DS 21 wasn’t photographed in East L.A., it rides low thanks to its self-levelling hydropneumatic suspension.  DS is, of course, a play on words, it’s pronounced déesse which is French for goddess.  Please don’t tell the Pope.

The other is a 2CV we came upon in real world service, picking up a traveler at Sacramento International Airport. Apparently Its equine propulsion rating has been augmented with canine enthusiasm.

Not one, but deux cheveaux

Not one, but deux cheveux

Here’s our intrepid Madrid correspondent with his very own California Custom, a ’58 Thunderbird he calls Mexican Blackbird.  Feral it ain’t but funky it is!

¡Qué Rico Es!

¡Qué Rico Es!

We actually found this ’63 SIMCA Aronde for sale in nearby Long Beach CA but there’s no indication of the price.  We wouldn’t pay a penny over $25K for it but, then again, it’s a low mileage (48,000) cream puff. Have a look at this video an owner shot of his ’61 SIMCA Aronde at a French supermarket parking lot, real nouvelle vague masterpiece.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

 

Keha’s Plymouth Horizon never sets

The Blue Horizon never ends

The Blue Horizon never ends

We were delighted and amazed to meet lovely Keha McIlwaine the other day as she lounged behind the wheel of her 1986 Plymouth Horizon.  She told us she had driven the car out to California from New York a few months back and encountered no difficulties despite the fact that the odometer is closing in on 150,000 miles.  We especially like the duct tape around the parking light.  This kind of ingenuity worked for Apollo 13, so it would seem  a logical solution for a terrestrial vehicle with certain needs.

Plymouth pride will out

Plymouth pride will out (NOTE: ultra feral ’68 Chevy Caprice just ahead)

Plymouth Horizon and corporate twin Dodge Omni were introduced in 1978 and the same basic car stayed in production for 12 years.  They were fielded by Chrysler to compete with Volkswagen’s Rabbit and, like that bunny, were powered by a transverse mounted 4-cylinder motor via front wheel drive. Most mass-produced cars these days are configured this way but the “Omnirizon” twins were the first American cars of this kind and were jointly named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1978.   We salute Keha who, paradoxically, pronounces her name like a certain Korean car spelled with three letters.

Hop-a-long VW

Hop-a-long VW

Volkswagen Rabbits of this general vintage are much more plentiful than their Plymouth and Dodge counterparts so we offer two such here to underscore the point.  Both of these are diesel-powered which may provide a clue to their preternatural longevity.

Oil-burning sweaty Rabbit

Oil-burning sweaty Rabbit

Diesel-powered VW = Sooty Rabbit

Diesel-powered VW = Sooty Rabbit

For quite a few model years, the Horizon co-existed with its ultimate replacement, Plymouth Sundance.  We’re not sure we’d exhibit the kind of loyalty Keha has for her Horizon if we had to tango with something like this over the long haul.

Unbutch: Plymouth's Sundance

Unbutch

Dappled Sundance

Dappled Sundance

Chrysler touted Horizon with lots of red, white and blue advertising such as this “The Pride Is Back” commercial that has a distinct Springsteenian undertone. The truth is that Simca, its French subsidiary, later offloaded to Peugeot, did the initial development work on this car.  Let’s keep that notre petit secret, d’accord?

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com.  Include your name, location of the car and some thoughts about the vehicle and we’ll look into getting it posted