Chrysler Horizon

From Academic Kids

The Horizon is a subcompact hatchback automobile, designed by the European division of Chrysler from 1977. It survived in various guises until 1990; in France it was badged as a Simca, whilst elsewhere in Europe it was badged as a Chrysler. From 1979 onwards it was badged as a Talbot in all European territories.

The Horizon, or Projet C2 as it was known inside Simca during development, was intended to be a "world car", meaning that it was designed for consumers on both sides of the Atlantic, but in execution, the European and North American versions of the vehicle actually turned out to have very little in common.

Born largely out of the need to replace the ageing Simca 1100, the Horizon was essentially a shortened version of the larger Alpine model. Featuring the familiar range of Simca-designed 1.1, 1.3 and 1.5 litre overhead-valve engines, and torsion bar suspension, the Horizon gained praise for its crisp styling, supple ride, and competent handling. It was voted European Car Of The Year in 1978. Its launch saw to the end of the 1100 and the rear-engined 1000.

The North American versions of the Horizon were known as the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon. Although they appeared to share the same external panelwork as the European Horizon (the panels were in fact not interchangeable), they were vastly different mechanically - using larger American engines and MacPherson strut suspension at the front instead of the costly torsion bar arrangement. They also sported much heavier looking bumpers so as to comply with stricter US safety legislation. Despite the car's European origins, the then Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca played this down, claiming that features such as the trip computer and electronic ignition were of American design.

In Europe, the Horizon had a turbulent existence. The collapse of Chrysler Europe in 1978 and its subsequent sale to Peugeot meant that the car was hurriedly rebadged using the exhumed Talbot brand for the remainder of its life.

In 1981, the 'Series II' models were introduced, with some minor improvements.

The Horizon was sold in Europe until 1985, when it was replaced by the Peugeot 309, a car developed in the UK, originally destined to be sold as the Talbot Arizona. The American version of the car continued to be produced until 1990.

The 1905cc Diesel engine fitted to certain models of the Horizon was the first to be specifically designed for use in a car. Previously, diesel cars had modified van engines fitted. Horizon production ceased at the end of 1985, and it was replaced by the Peugeot 309 - a car which was originally going to be called the Talbot Arizona. Within a few months of Talbot Horizon production finishing, production of Talbot-badged passenger cars finished. But the Peugeot 309 used much of the Horizon's drivetrain and body parts until a facelift in 1989 saw these mechanicals replaced by Peugeot's own power units.


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