Pardon My French: 1960 Simca Aronde

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My French is a little rusty, but according to Wikipedia, SIMCA is an acronym that loosely translates to Society of Industrial Mechanical and Coachwork Automobile…manufacturers. Or something like that.

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While I’m taking my remedial French language lessons, check out this 1960 Simca Aronde, which is listed for sale here on craigslist in Urbana, Ohio. The asking price is $2,000, which seems reasonable for this nice looking vintage car that appears to be complete…although I don’t have a heck of a lot of prior sales or knowledge of this particular model to compare it to!

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The odometer apparently reads 72,631 miles, and from the looks of it, this car has been put up in mothballs, so to speak, for a long time. The seller says he has not tried to start the engine, which is the “Flash” inline four cylinder, and has a manual transmission, shifted at the column.

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He says the restoration of this car will be a relatively straightforward  and fun process,  due to the basic mechanicals, and large body panels, which is believable.  But with a rare car like this one, having it complete and fully assembled to start with, will save much aggravation later for whoever ends up doing the work.

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The seller is apparently a restorer of cars, but doesn’t seem overly knowledgeable about this particular model. But that’s ok, because he does seem very forthright and honest with the car’s description, and has taken pains to describe rust damage in detail, and has provided numerous photos of the car, inside and out, and underneath. Only a few of those photos are shown here, please check out the ad for more. He says one of the worst areas of rust is in the driver’s side floor, with apparently more located under the battery and elsewhere. He says the previous owner took good care of the car both cosmetically and mechanically, which looks to be the case, considering the car’s appearance.

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It’s easy to harp on ‘lazy sellers’ who don’t bother to roll the car out in the sunshine and take photos from all angles, but I’m not going to do it this time because of the quality of the description and the photos that he did include. And the price is certainly a factor.

As with any classic car, a close-up inspection would be warranted. This is a very unusual, cool little car, that I’d love to see restored. Hopefully one of our knowledgeable readers could take it on as a project, and send us lots of photos and updates. What do you think? Is there any chance that could that be you?

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Comments

  1. Charlie G

    SIMCA was owned by Chrysler Corp back in the early 60’s.

    • Dan h

      Makes sense. I was expecting to see a cool Jeager type speedometer but was surprised see an American styled one instead.

    • Brakeservo

      Before that it was tied up with Ford of France (you could get Flathead V8 powered Simca throughout the ’50s) and they started by assembling Fiat Topolinos in the late 1930s. But consider the Chrysler connection, the Plymouth Horizon and Dodge Omni were basically a Simca design and sold with Simca engines in some markets.

  2. RON

    i have always admired these and i remember they sold fairly well for chrysler despite the fact they were french. i have seen this the 3rd one over the last year and noneas nice as this one. wish it were closer to tn. i would give it a home. would get it dependable cleaned up and maybe a paint job with a sanden compressor and under dash unit for hot summer and be my daly driver last one i saw was in n. ala but too much drive train missing and a lot of rust. cute little “bug”

  3. Gilles

    Hi,
    This car seems to be in very good condition. It has a “Flash” engine wich is 1290 cm3 .
    This motor is robust; On april 9,1956, a same ( serial car, not prepared ) car runned in Montléry during 38 days and 37 nights after 100.000 km with a average speed of 113km/h …
    Simca was bought by Chrysler France in 1970
    But the particularity of this car is , it’s a” coupé” ( two doors ) and it’s quite rare !
    The price compared to a”berline” ( 4 doors ) is easily 4 time more expensive…May be more…
    This modèle could be a “Coupé Elysée” or “Coupé de ville” or “Monaco”.
    I’m not sure.
    On the Dashboard you should see the name of the model on the right side; I can see it but not possible to read.
    So, the second particularity is…it’s price ! Hoping for you the seller will not make enquiries…
    So for me , dont hesitate !
    You can ask information to the french club Simca . you can write in English, they will be glad to help you ( they will give you a quotation of this ( very) rare model..

    http://www.clubsimcafrance.fr/documentations/aronde/aronde.php

    Sinceraly
    Gilles

    • Dan h

      It reads “Monaco” on the dash

  4. john

    This is a very rare little car while the 4 door is more common. Most succumbed to rust and I am amazed once again that there is one in the USA at all. I think this is gorgeous and if I had my buying boots on would be on a plane to buy it, then restore it in France. The earlier Arondes never appealed to me but this did. No ball of fire to drive, but utterly charming. In this car I can see echoes of a 57 Bel Air in its styling. This car was an from an era when the French loved USA and USA style. This is automotive art. Gilles is correct in all he says.

    • Brian

      A friend of mine used to collect these cars. They were sold in Canada and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone shipped this one to the US.

  5. Scotty G

    This is my kind of car, small and unusual. I wonder why the owner / seller, who is an experienced restoration expert, doesn’t restore this car? I guess the money wouldn’t be there for a profit. A very cool car, I have dreams about restoring a car like this someday.

  6. Scotty G

    I thought I had attached a drawing; I must not have. This isn’t the same engine, this is from a Simca Ariane, but..

  7. Peregrine Lance

    I wondered how long it would take before I shook hands with Simca again….and it took from 1960 until today, with your feature!
    My dad bought two Simca’s, between two ’56 Plymouths and two German cars (Mercedes and VW, both 1961); while he drove the Aronde, as pictured here, my mother drove the Aronde OCEANNE, which was a wonderful little sports job similar to today’s Mazda Miata. The Oceanne, like many British cars, had a wooden frame beneath a synthetic floor covering, and a manual ragtop. I don’t remember displacement details; but it had FOUR ON THE COLUMN! (as did that Mercedes sedan before it).
    Quickly realizing his trade-ins weren’t terribly popular, the family rather quickly moved to the German lines; I and sibs were launched on a dozen or so VW’s, and my mom settled for a second Mercedes. (Sorry–don’t remember which sedans they were.)
    The French have–can’t you tell from your narrative?–a rather dizzy approach to automobiles; but the innovations on the Deux CV, the delights in riding on their luniquely-sprung bodies (remember the Renault Dauphine?), and the classic ’30s look of thousands of black Citroens–some ahead of their time with “traction d’avant”–made French cars as delightful as a caricature of DeGaulle!

  8. Ken

    I used to have one of these. With roughly the same miles on it. Parts availability killed it. It needed lower ball joints and we could not find them.

    That manual shift is a four speed on the column. Typical “H” pattern, with reverse as push way forward and down.

  9. JW454

    I can’t say why people have been side stepping this offering for so long. It’s been available on the western Ohio Craig’s listings for quite sometime. It may be the availability of parts in the U.S. or lack of knowledge of it’s value but it remains in storage and unwanted for the time being. Maybe the exposure on a site such as this, will generate more interest. I’d like to see it back on the road. Nice little car.

  10. Matt C

    I’ve also noted it on CL for at least the last year, but sadly don’t have any room for another project after buying the green Glas 1700 GT that was featured here last year. It looks like a pretty easy restoration, but given the general anonymity of the marque here in the US I’m not that surprised it is still languishing.

  11. bcavileer

    Owned a Renault R12TL and a Panhard Levosse PL17. French cars very funky and very cool. Parts were a challange, but never a deal breaker. It can be found, or fabricated. Fear not the French automobile, they are different and will expand your mindset of auto technology. This one is cool, if I were not up to my elbows in a big Healy right now, I would think hard about this ‘Flashy’ motuer. The Alfa Giuletta Sprint Veloce I restored was way harder to find bits for then any of the french stuff encountered. You just need to be focused and utilize all possible sources. The internet is far more than the first search page. Dig deep!

    Like 1
  12. MikeH

    Parts are easy to find. Here is just one site: https://www.auto4a.com/catalogue/simca-aronde.htm

    It says that in ’56, the Aronde was the largest selling car in France.

    • Dominique Legeai

      Is this specific model not called a “P60” rather than the “Aronde” which I believe was a little bigger?

      • Daniel

        This is an Aronde P60
        P60 means personalisation and 60 corresponds to 1960.
        This is the last Aronde evolution

  13. Gilles

    Hi
    After being at Retromobile ( biggest exhibition in France for vintage car ) I met a member of the Simca club and confirm that the car is a “Monaco” model.
    they also told me it’s quite rare and very cheap at this price.
    Gilles

  14. Fred FR

    Very rare bird even in France .. it’s a bargain

  15. brakeservo

    All these comments about this being a ‘bargain’ don’t square with reality. I had a very similar car, purchased from the original 85 year old widow with all the owners manuals etc going back to new, and I was lucky to get $300 for it. Less than two years ago.

    • Marc Danoy

      Hi,

      I’am a member of the french Simca Club (previous president) – http://www.clubsimcafrance.fr/ – and will you please give me all the numbers (engine & frame). One of our member is in charge of registering the Simca Aronde all over the world; now a days more than 4.000 are registered.

      Many thanks to help us.

      Best Regards

      Marc Danoy

      CSF – Public Relations

  16. Gilles

    I just send some pictures taken last Sunday on Retromobile, Paris.Many cars , but few Simca…

    Gilles

  17. Gilles

    Hi

    the right model is : Simca Grand Large export, modèle 1958″
    About the price, may be in USA you can get one for 300 $, in Europe you can x by 10…for this model.
    Gilles

  18. Dominique Legeai

    …remember, Gilles, this car is not in running order, needs a lot of work before it can be driven.

  19. Gilles

    …Ok Dominique , noticed .
    About me I’ve enought work with my 1934 Panhard & Levassor X72…and lack of place in my garage…

    See you.

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