The Simca marque was a development of a French company which initially built Fiat cars in France under license. Aided by the Simca Aronde (French for the bird Swallow), which was introduced in the early 1950s and styled in the same fashion as American cars of the 1950s, the manufacturer soon became France’s top privately-owned automobile producer. In fact, over the 12-year period that the car remained in production 1.3 million Arondes were sold. This level of sales eclipsed sales of both Peugeot and Citroen at that time.
The Aronde Plein Ciel was introduced in 1957 and remained in production until 1962 as the top model Aronde. It had a steel body styled and built by Facel, who produced the renowned Facel Vega. This body was mounted on a separate steel chassis frame.
It was a real attention getter whose design features included a wraparound windscreen on a cabriolet or hard top 2-door sports coupe body. Both front and rear mudguards had a pronounced fin shape with an abundant use of chrome strips and embellishments. The interior was a tight squeeze for four people despite its sloping rear roof line.
The Aronde Plein Ciel was powered by a 1288 cc four-cylinder pushrod engine with a single Solex carburettor developing 43 kW at 4800 rpm. This Simca’s ‘flash special’ engine which featured a stronger crankshaft and improved lubrication also had a good low range torque. The four-speed manual transmission had a column shift which was copied from American cars and was rather unusual for European cars of that time.
When first released the French motoring press were quite critical of both the ride, which they found not smooth, and the use of drum brakes on all four wheels.
When this range of Simcas faded from the marketplace in 1963 it was replaced by the 1300 and 1500 models.
Over its five-year production cycle 170,070 Facel-bodied Arondes were produced.