Tintin and Captain Haddock had taken a Fiat 1400 Taxi to Hotel Cornavin in Geneva. They missed Professor Calculus while he was leaving the hotel. On inquiring the hotel staff they realised that Professor Calculus had left for the station to catch a train to Nyon. The duo hurried to the station but missed the train by a whisker. Once back in hotel, further inquiry revealed the address in Nyon where Professor Calculus was headed to. Tintin and Captain Haddock took a cab to Nyon in pouring rain. The taxi was a Simca Aronde. I have already introduced my readers to French manufacturer Simca in my post on Simca Cinq, so I shall move on directly to the Aronde.
Simca had been manufacturing cars since 1934, but they were mostly based on Fiat designs, like the Cinq which was based on the Topolino. The Aronde was Simca’s first original design. It was manufactured from 1951 to 1963. It had a monocoque body design and was offered in a vast range of body shapes like:-
- 4-door saloon.
- 2-door hard top coupe.
- 2-door coupe.
- 2-door convertible.
- 3-door estate.
- 2-door pickup.
- 2-door van.
- 5-door station wagon in Australia.
The Aronde was a very successful model and made Simca the second largest French automobile manufacturer by the late 1950s. Nearly 1.4 million Arondes were put on the road by Simca. During its life time of 12 years, three generations of the Aronde were manufactured, the 9Aronde which is the topic of this post, the 90A Aronde which was introduced in 1955 and the Aronde P60 which was introduced in 1958.
This car was powered by 1,221 cc (74.51 Cu-inch) 4 cylinder inline naturally aspirated petrol engine. Each cylinder breathed through two push-rod operated overhead valves. This engine could produce 44 BHP of power at 4,500 rpm. Pulling power was provided by 83 N-m (61ft-lb) of torque produced at 2,600 rpm. All this power and torque was transferred to the rear wheel to move the car through a four speed manual gear box. This gearbox was offered with synchromesh on the top three gears. The Aronde had a near perfect weight distribution of 51% on front and 49% on rear wheels.
The Aronde was a large and comfortable car measuring 4,064mm (160″) in length, 1,549 mm (61″) in width and 1,524 m (60″) in height. It could seat five people in comfort. Coach built models were offered in the 1950s also in the form of the “Facel” built 2-door coupe. Simca introduce the “Figoni” built 2-door cabriolet for 1953 model year, but could never build it because of excessive weight penalties in the production model. The 1.2 litre engine could push the 1,140 Kg (2,513 lb) car to a top speed of 117 km/h (73 mph) accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 29.4 seconds. Stopping power was provided by hydraulically operated 250 mm dia drum brakes on all four wheels.
The Aronde was a modern car at its time and offered a moulded plastic instrument panel as compared to metal instrument panels offered by most of the manufacturers at the time. It offered independent suspension at the front which used coil springs and a semi-elliptic leaf spring suspended live axle at the rear which turned the rear wheels.
In 1952, the car broke five international records by covering a distance of 50,000 km (31,000 mi) at an average speed of 117 km/h (73 mph). It returned in 1953 when an Aronde, randomly selected from the manufacturing line completed 100,000 km (62,000 mi) at an average speed of more than 104 km/h (65 mph) over a period of 40 days and nights. This attempt broke 30 international awards.