I was trying to come up with more automotive doppelgangers to add to the conversation when I remembered the SIMCA 1300/1500. When I first saw it, I thought it looked a lot like the contemporary Fiat 124.

When I GIS'd it today, I realized that, while there is a passing resemblance, the SIMCA is actually much, much prettier than its Italian competitor.

The SIMCA's shoulder line is much lower. Its stance is much wider, proportionately speaking. While still upright and boxy, it almost has an M-B W114 quality to it. Yet the SIMCA bowed 5 years prior to the Benz.

Above is the extended 1501 version, with a longer tail. I think the W114 resemblance is quite clear from this angle. And look at the gentle, yet elegant wheel arches. The delicacy of the roof pillars. The softness of the curved belt line.

The way the hood drops between the fender lines, giving it a lower look. The purity and simplicity of the horizontal bar grille. The fact that you could get it as a sedan or a wagon. RWD, no less!

Eventually, the line would get a facelift that made it a little less elegant, but more distinctive.

Then SIMCA debuted sportier "Special" versions. With a rather fussy two-tiered blackout grille design that emphasized the "angry eyes" look of the hood line, even more character was added, without spoiling the delicate purity of the overall shape of the car. The 1300-1500 design ran from 1963-75.


The stretched 1501 would be replaced - eventually - by the rather ungainly-by-comparison, and slow-selling Chrysler 180/2-Litre:

The standard cars were eventually replaced by the awkward Chrysler Alpine for 1976:

Neither of those cars portended happy times for their makers, although the Alpine did win Euro COTY in 1976. So I prefer to look back at happier, more optimistic times in this tribute to compact grace, simplicity, and attainable elegance.

I prefer to rest my gaze on the SIMCA 1300/1500 instead.