The car for two worlds – Part 1

In 1979 the Horizon was voted Car of the Year, but that didn’t help it to achieve satisfactory sales after being re-branded under the “new” marque.

Designing a car for two completely different markets: that was the goal of the “C2” project initiated by Chrysler in the first half of the 70s. The definitive car, for the European market, was introduced in 1977 and its name was Horizon. The car was compact, with a length of 3.96 m, and its task was to support, then replace, the Simca 1100. The Horizon had modern but restrained lines, as if to emphasise its role as a sensible car suitable for the family. It was front-wheel drive and had independent suspension, with transverse Simca engines starting from the small four cylinder 1100 cc producing 60 bhp and with larger displacements such as the 68 bhp 1294 cc and 83 bhp 1442 cc.

It was produced from 1977 to 1978 under the Chrysler-Simca brand and subsequently, after the acquisition of the European division of the American brand by the PSA Group, with the glorious Talbot brand dusted off for the occasion, but that was far from a good choice. In 1979 the Horizon was voted Car of the Year, but that didn’t help it to achieve satisfactory sales after being re-branded under the “new” marque. In 1982 the engine range was expanded with a new 90 bhp 1592 cc and a Diesel, derived from the Peugeot XUD type, with 1905 cc and 65 bhp.

In 1983, in an attempt to boost sales, some updates were made to the styling, mainly concentrated at the rear where the tailgate was redesigned to increase space in the luggage compartment. Despite the virtue of the project the Horizon was deleted from the price-lists in 1986 with no successor. The space it left was filled by the new Peugeot 309, a choice dictated by the fact that the PSA bosses had decided not to invest in the Talbot brand and the updating of its range. Although it was not really a commercial success, the Horizon remains an important part of the European adventure of the Detroit manufacturer.

Another story, however, that of the derivatives of the Horizon for the American market, will be discussed in the next article.

Text by Tommaso Lai

Translation by Norman Hawkes

Copyright © Cars Forgotten Stories. All rights reserved.


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