King of the Mountains, Abarth Simca 2Milla GT

With its low weight and its rear engine, the Simca 1000 not only became one of the best-selling European utility vehicles, reaching two million units, but it was also the perfect base for some sporting developments. In fact, in Spain we knew it very well because of the GT, GT Rallye and Rallye versions. All of them were the protagonists of one of the most famous single-brand cups in the early seventies: the Simca Challenge.

However, while Chrysler of Spain attempted to hold the said competition, the head office in France had been leading the way for years. Furthermore, although it may seem surprising to a certain segment of fans, some of the most successful light GTs in the history of mountain racing started with the popular Simca 1000. Of course, it’s all thanks to the collaboration of Abarth, which began working closely with the French house in 1961. To be exact, the same year that the Simca 1000 was released.

But let’s go in parts. So, the first thing to keep in mind is that none of this should surprise us at all because, after all, the relationship established between Simca and Abarth was very similar to the relationship between Fiat and the Scorpion builder. That is to say, to build sports cars based on excellent weight/power ratios with semi-artisan work, starting with models that are not only massive, but small, both in terms of bodywork and cylinder capacity. are also

Similarly, Simca and Fiat had close ties with roots before World War II, when the French manufacturer assembled various models from the Italian house under license. Furthermore, the origins of the Simca 1000 have a lot to do with Fiat, even counting on the involvement of Dante Giacosa himself in the tuning of the basic block with four cylinders, 944 cubic centimeters and 35 CV. Coincidentally, tributaries of the design created by the same engineers for the apparently successful Fiat 600.

With all this, it is not difficult to understand how the management of the French brand saw from the very first moment the commercial potential – but above all the advertising – of a sports version of the Simca 1000 in collaboration with Abarth. At this point, a few weeks after the launch of this model, the Simca 1150 Abarth Evolution appeared. In this case, in fact, nothing significant was touched in terms of the frame beyond mechanical improvements, since the name of the Italian preparer was in last place.

However, the experienced French pilots already had a new choice concerning the smallest displacement; Perfect for national championships, mountain races and rallies. In any case, at Simca they wanted to go even further, so in 1962 they commissioned Abarth to produce a GT suitable for success in international racing. Thanks to this, the Abarth Simca 1300 GT appeared.

This time with not only different bodywork from the series model, but also extensive revisions to the frame by Mario Colucci. One of Abarth’s strongmen after working at Alfa Romeo managed to go down in history for its outstanding design in relation to the development of tubular chassis. Likewise, since the successes in the competition were not long in coming, a new development was presented with the displacement being increased to 1.6 liters after a few months.

With all this, the joint project between the two brands managed to put on track one of the most successful competitive models of the sixties. Furthermore, in 1963, of the 535 victories achieved by Abarth vehicles, 90 belonged exclusively to the 1300 GT. Thus, in exactly the same year the most performance version of the entire saga came out in the form of 2000 GT. Presented at the Geneva Motor Show, its production was expected to reach 100 units in order to gain approval in the two-litre GT category.

With regard to the engine, the empty four-cylinder of the original Simca 100 was developed to approximately 2,000 cubic centimeters to deliver 204 hp of power at 7,200 revolutions per minute. All this is powered by double-body Weber carburettor which is capable of running this car up to 250 kmph. More than enough mileage to successfully measure the Porsche 904 GTS or the Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2 on various occasions. In short, a true legend of the track that, ultimately, has a lot to do with any Simca 1000 for the everyday.

Photos: Bonhams

Source link

Leave a Comment