It was known as the world’s first seven-day-a-week-car. What makes this the “car of the year” in 1976?
This car was originally manufactured by Chrysler Europe and its name was Simca 1308 or 1309 but it was more famous to British drivers as the Chrysler Alpine. It was sold in different countries and its name was changed depending on the location. Like in Colombia, this car was known as Dodge Alpine while Chrysler 150 in the Spanish market.
During the car’s development, its platform was based on the 1967 Simca 1100 and the car’s design was credited to Roy Axe of Chrysler UK. He was also the one who made the clean-lined 5-door saloon that was well-favored by French motorists while they were looking for a substitute for Renault 16.
This car was released in October 1975 and its name was Chrysler-Simca 1308. Its release on UK was a little bit delayed because it became available in UK on January 1976. Since its release in UK, it was marketed as Chrysler Alpine, not Simca 1308. This was because its name came from the heritage of Roots Group.
This was the first of “Chrysler-Simca” cars and the Simca 1308 GT comes with an electric ignition, front and rear brakes. It was a front-wheel drive vehicle with a top speed of 102mph. Also, this Chrysler Alpine has electric window and it was powered by 1442 cc (8CV) engine that produced 85hp.
Alpine Sales BOOM!
Poissy plant needs to reach the quota of almost 900 Chrysler Alpine per day since the start of its production in 1976. This incredible number and effort was still not enough to meet the demand.
In France, Chrysler Alpine was also a hit. In just two days after its release, huge numbers of sales were already piling up the stat sheet and almost 20,000 cars were ordered by French motorists. The 100,000th Chrysler Alpine was manufactured and over 200,000 were manufactured in 1976.
From the time that it was released in UK, only two variants of engines were available and the reason behind its incredible outburst in sales during its release. The number of its sales was declining due to the limited options on its engines.
The Car Of The Year
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. The Chrysler Alpine’s decline in UK affected the following models of these cars and the production of line was ended in 1986. With its success in sales in 1976, another thing to be proud of was that it defeated BMW, VW and many other cars to win the Europe’s Car Of The Year Award in 1976. Who could have thought that a simple clay model in 1974 would suddenly become an international hit?
Here are the specifications:
- Model Year: 1976 (UK)
- Date Of Introduction:
- July 1975 (France)
- Unitary construction (Monocoque), 5 door hatch
- Boot capacity: 10 cu. ft. / 49 cu. ft.
- All models had fabric upholstery.
- Engine Specifications:
- Alpine GL:
- 68 bhp
- Alpine S:
- 85 bhp
- Alpine S:
- 85 bhp
- Alpine GL:
- Unladen Weight:
- GL: 2318 lb.
- S: 2340 lb.
- GLS: 2359 lb.
- Vehicle Dimensions:
- Length: 13 ft. 11.1 inches
- Total width: 5 ft. 6.1 inches
- Height at kerb weight: 4 ft. 7.1 inches
- Wheelbase: 2746 mm 108.1 inches
- Turning Circle:
- 34 ft. 6 in (approx)
- Max Payload:
- 880 lb. (all models)