1957 Simca Aronde
Year of manufacture1957
1957 Simca Aronde Plein Ciel
Introduced in 1951, the Aronde is historically significant as Simca's first own design and its first model to feature unitary construction of the chassis/body. Simca (Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carrosserie Automobile) had been founded in 1935 by Italian-born Teodoro Pigozzi, FIAT's distributor for France, who was already manufacturing cars in France using FIAT components. The Aronde was a conventional front-engine rear-drive design powered by a 1,221cc four-cylinder overhead-valve engine. Its arrival marked the start of an increasing independence from FIAT, and by March 1953 some 100,000 of this pretty four-door berline had been sold. Estate, commercial, and coupé models followed before the range was updated in October 1955 with the new and more powerful 1,290cc 'Flash' engine. In October 1957 two new models were added to the Aronde range: the Océane two-seater cabriolet and Plein Ciel two-door coupe, both with bodies by Facel. By the time production of these two models ceased in 1961 some 11,500 had been made compared with a staggering 1.4 million Arondes of other types (up to the end of production in 1964), making them the only truly collectible variants.
It is believed that the Plein Ciel offered here was delivered new to Belgium through the dealer Robri in Brussels, as evidenced by the old-style supplier's plaque fixed to the back of the car. The Simca's early history is not known but it is believed to have stayed in Belgium where it was bought and restored at the end of the 1990s by the lady vendor's late husband. This sympathetic restoration was carried out by former employees of the famous Van Hool bus-company in Belgium, and following its completion the car was driven regularly by the (now deceased) owner. An old photograph on file taken prior to restoration shows the car in the same lovely red and black colour combination as it has today.
An older restoration that holds up very well, the car starts and runs instantly and has been dry-stored and battery-charged since restoration. Ready to enjoy, it comes with old Belgian registration documents (dated 1998) in the name of the lady owner's late husband; recent Belgian registration papers; Simca Technische Daten booklet; Contrôle Technique dated 2016; an invoice for work carried out in 2016; and a Simca 'notice d'entretien'.