Sunday, August 12, 2012

1954-1957 Simca Vedette Régence

"Specially built for the discerning motorist, the Vedette RÉGENCE competes on an equal level with the world's finest luxury automobiles."

If our pictured car, at first glance, looks like a Ford to you, then you are wrong and right at the same moment. You are wrong, because the Simca Vedette was born across the English channel in Poissy near Paris. And you are right, because it was assembled in a former Ford plant that was sold to Simca in July 1954, together with a newly developed car which was ready to be launched for 1955. The new factory owners licensed not just the production rights of the Ford Vedette, but also its name. Incidentally, the Simca was even sold as a Ford though 1956 in some european markets.

The Simca Vedette was powered by a tiny V-8 engine that sported just about two litres of displacement, good for 85 horsepower, and good for a low tax classification in France. Compared to its siblings from America, it didn't have much punch, but in postwar Europe, this was enough to power a "luxury automobile".

Because the Simca Vedette was developed as a Ford, its design came entirely from Detroit. The resemblance to american Fords of the era is most evident in the similar roof treatment. What other Fords didn't have, though, was the sensuously sculpted rear fender kick-up that was further accentuated by a chrome trim piece which originally separated the different hues of the Vedette Régence's two-tone color scheme. Ironically, the Simca Vedette was the most modern looking "Ford" in Europe for about two years, until Ford of England should eventually draw level with the modern styling of the Simca when they presented their similar looking new Ford Zephyr and Zodiac models in 1956. But by then again, soon the facelifted Vedette leaped ahead, and now sported very American looking tailfins...

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