The last Talbot

Stylistically the Samba continued the simple square lies of the other models together with particular finishes; mechanically it had a transverse front engine and front-wheel drive.

The Talbot marque, founded in 1903 by Adolphe Clément with the financial help of Lord Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, remained active from 1905 until after the Second World War, when the Rootes Group, at that time the marque’s owner, made the decision to retire it. The fate of the French division was different, being purchased by industrialist Antonio Lago in 1936, who then marketed his road cars as Talbot and competition cars as Talbot-Lago; his activities continued until 1958, when his company was acquired by the French manufacturer Simca.

Subsequently Simca itself was purchased by the American giant Chrysler, becoming Chrysler Europe. Sadly this adventure, discussed in other articles (Click HERE, HERE AND HERE for more information) was not a happy one, resulting in big losses for the Chrysler Corporation, which then ceded their European division to the French manufacturer Peugeot. Finding themselves having to relaunch the inherited Chrysler models they decided to dust off the Talbot marque and from July 1979 re-branded all the models in the old Simca range, the name disappearing completely after declining during the Chrysler era.

Between major restyles and new models it was the Samba’s turn to appear in 1982, and in this article we will talk about this model, which was presented as a replacement for the old Talbot Sunbeam which, in its sports Lotus version, had won the world rally title the previous year, driven by Henri Toivonen and Guy Frequelin.

Stylistically the Samba continued the simple square lies of the other models together with particular finishes; mechanically it had a transverse front engine and front-wheel drive. To contain costs and take advantage of economies of scale it was developed on the floorpan of the long wheelbase 5-door version of the Peugeot 104, but the Samba was only available with 3 doors, like its other sister from the same house, the Citroën LN / LNA, which was, however, shorter. The Samba had a wide range of options and engines of various displacements and power outputs with 4- or 5-speed gearboxes.

The range started with a 954 cc engine producing 45 bhp, available in Style and GL versions and extending to the 1360 cc 70 bhp (single carburettor) and 80 bhp (twin carburettor, available from 1985) Rallye sports versions (also available with a 1200 cc engine).  It was also offered as a Cabriolet (also produced with the 1124 cc engine). This latter version was the only one of the three PSA city cars to offer this type of bodywork and was the product of a collaboration with the Italian design house Pininfarina, who were also entrusted with production. 

In 1986 the 104 and LNA models ceased production and the Samba met the same destiny, becoming the last car to be developed by the Talbot marque. That year the brand was withdrawn from all markets apart from Britain, where it continued to be used to market the Express van until 1995.

Text by Tommaso Lai

Translation by Norman Hawkes

Copyright © Cars Forgotten Stories. All rights reserved.


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