Different sides, same coin: Paya International Simca 1000 & Norev Simca 1000 Rallye 2

You’ll know by now how much I adore salvaging old and weird diecast. And if you’re one of the 3 people who read my posts often then you’ll maybe recall me covering a SEAT 124 from Spanish brand Paya and also perhaps recall my Norev feature from 2020. No? Didn’t think so. But here’s a Paya and a Norev again, and both are very cool little things. And both are replicas of one of my favourite French cars: the Simca 1000.

Surprisingly the Simca 1000 can trace it’s origins back to a Fiat project to replace the 600. Simca president Henri Pigozzi was a close friend of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli and until 1963 Fiat were the dominant shareholder in Simca. Due to the close relationship, Pigozzi was able to observe design work on the 600 successor which had been narrowed down to two proposals: a two-door design named “Project 119” (which became the Fiat 850) and a four-door model “Project 122”. Realising his vision for the next Simca model aligned well with Project 122, Pigozzi was able to obtain permission to select one of the 4 potential designs to develop as a Simca. With a little reworking, the Simca 1000 was born. Released in 1961, production continued until 1978 with cars built as far away as Chile and Columbia. Engine choices were all rear mounted inline-fours of various capacity ranging from 777cc to 1294cc in the range topping Special and Rallye models.

The Paya car is part of the “International” line that was a contemporary of Lesney’s Matchbox series and even utilised copies of Lesney castings. It came to me with damage, having lost a supporting loop that the back axle slots into. However I’m not averse to tackling a repair job and this is where the damage worked in my favour. As mentioned in my Paya SEAT 124 article, most surviving cars have suffered over the years. On some of the worst examples I have seen, plastic chassis have bent and warped and Zamac bodies rotted to powder. Instead of a metal rivet a small, plastic push on pin holds the chassis to the body. In many cars this has snapped or fallen out. The pin on my Simca was no exception but this meant it was easy to open up and make repairs.

And now in it’s new lease of life it looks superb. There’s a charming simplicity about the model, and the gold paint pockmarked with the patina of a well played with life looks beautiful.

It replicates a non-Rallye model and the proportions are superb for a model of the era. I’m not entirely sure of scale but my rough calculations suggest 1/60 scale. It’s a very pretty little diecast.

From a standard humdrum model, we now turn our attention to the aforementioned Rallye model, in this case the Rallye 2 as replicated by Norev.

The Rallye version of the 1000 first appeared in 1970 powered by an 1118cc engine producing 53bhp. Characterised by a distinctive matt black bonnet and unique and bright colour choices complete with body stripes, the Rallye model set to capitalise on the 1000’s popularity in the motorsport community as well as the hole left by the Renault 8 Gordini. The Rallye 1 followed in 1972 equipped with a 1294cc engine producing 60bhp. 1973 saw the introduction of the Rallye 2 which added twin Solex carburetors upping the power to 82bhp. The radiator was relocated to the front of the car and disc brakes were fitted all round. The 1000 range was facelifted in 1975 and the last Rallye 3 model went on sale in December 1977 now boasting 103bhp. The figures on the Rallye models don’t sound world shattering but coupled with the 730kg curb weight they proved fun and capable little machines on the road, circuits and rally stages.

Norev’s miniature is available in some fabulous colours and liveries. There’s a “Sarde Rouge” road car as well as two motorsport versions; a Simca Racing version in yellow and the 1973 Monte Carlo #34 Chrysler France car of Bernard Fiorentino and Maurice Gelín, a car that Lamley colleague Graham Heeps has covered before. But my favourite shade is this: “Vert Acide”.

It’s a colour perfectly “of the era” and looks fabulous contrast against the black of the bonnet, wheels and body stripes.

It’s a great looking diecast and my favourite Norev miniature, though I wish it was true 1/64. As it is the scale is 1/55 but I really can’t quibble. Aside from the Paya there aren’t any other Simca 1000s in three inch size. And I’m super glad I have these two. Together they make a great pairing and represent two different eras of diecast.

A unique and good looking couple and my kind of pairing indeed!

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(At present there are no Paya Simcas listed on Ebay but check out the Norev listings here)

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