Monday, November 3, 2014

Simca's Huit-Sport

French carmaker Simca began in 1934 as a branch operation of Fiat, the major Italian transportation conglomerate (historical Simca profile here).  An important model was the Simca 8, produced 1937-51, with a time-out during World War 2.

A sporty version of the 8 was revealed at the 1948 Salon de l'automobile.  It was a convertible coupé designed by Pinin Farina, fabricated (according to some sources) by Stabilimenti Farina, and based on the Simca 8 chassis.  A license was obtained from the design firm, and subsequent bodies were built in France by Facel-Metallon with market introduction early in 1950.  A coupé version was displayed at the October 1949 Salon.  It too entered limited production, and two examples competed in the 1950 Monte Carlo Rally.

The 8-Sport was given a literal facelift in in the form of a redesigned grille by the time of the 1951 Salon.  During 1952, the Simca 8 platform was replaced by that of the new Simca Aronde passenger car.  The name was changed to 9-Sport, and some minor changes were introduced, the most visible being the addition of bumper guards.


An early convertible version.

The coupé.  If you look closely, you will see that the rear window (backlight, in styling jargon) is a three-piece affair.  This was common practice around 1950 because glassmakers were still researching how to manufacture large panoramic windows.

This is the facelifted version.  Some purists might object to the heavy, perhaps American-inspired chromed grille bars.  But the result is a simplification that might appeal to other observers.   I have no preference.  Either way, the design of the 8-Sport is virtually beyond criticism.

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