Bonjour, et bienvenues dans le dernier épisode de la semaine des Simcas! We are ending this series with the very last model from Simca do Brasil, made for a very short period between 1967 and 1969, the Esplanada.
The name Esplanada isn’t anything close to “Espada” or something like that. It reffers to the Esplanada dos Ministérios, a very large area on Brasília, our capital, where all ministeries buildings are located:
After quite a long time producing the Chambord and its derivatives, in the São Paulo Auto Show of 1966, Simca do Brasil finally presented its sucessor: The Esplanada. Since the début of the Chambord, new luxury cars arrived, like the Willys Aero and the Alfa Romeo (FNM) 2150.
The outdated and weak Chambord quickly lost terrain to these new players, and Simca do Brasil wasn’t going very well. They needed a new product, updated to fight the new kids on the block. The answer came as the Esplanada, nothing more than a huge facelift of the Chambord.
Yes, that right. Underneath the new body, this was still a Chambord. New exterior, new interior, the new Emi-Sul 2.4l V8, but the same chassis and mechanical bits and pieces. But Simca was in such a dire situation that in the same month the Esplanada was introduced, Chrysler bought Simca do Brasil.
Back in the time, our market was close shut. An international company couldn’t simply get into Brazil to produce whatever they would do, but instead the Brazilian government fixed a number of companies that could operate here. The only way for a new player to enter the market was buying a already installed company. Exactly what Chrysler did.
And they came to win the game. Since Simcas weren’t well known for their build quality, the crew from Chrysler sent some Esplanadas to the US for studies, and they made 53 modifications on the original project to make it deserve a Chrysler badge! The sportier version, this model, was introduced in the 1968 Auto Show. The main differences between this one and the regular Esplanada were the colours, the black stripes and a black grille. The only mechanical modification was the adoption of a four on the floor gearbox. But, as an option, you could get a rev counter. This was such a novelty, such a new thing, that pretty much everyone who bought one got the rev counter too.
When Chrysler got control of Simca, they ended the production of the Jangada. They built prototypes (rumours say 3) of an Esplanada Wagon, but the project didn’t went further. It’s hard to get photos, but what a beautiful wagon!
The GTX was the very last new thing to be announced for the Esplanada. In 1969 Chrysler start testing the Dodge Dart, which was introduced right in 1970 and replaced it. The rest, the history of Brazilian Dodge/Chrysler, is stuff for another special week ;)
The lineup wasn’t only composed of the vanilla Esplanada and the GTX. A very luxurious version, the appropriately named “Luxo” had vynil roof, leather clad seats and steering wheel, jacarandá wood trim, Ray-Ban polarized windshield (!!!) and radio. There was also the Regente, a stripped down version with only what was essential.
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed the series and learned something new. I surely had a great time writing, researching and photographing for it! Now I take my leave, as the Esplanada did in 1970. Thanks!!
Bonus: Some advertisements
- Guess who makes this car...
- You’re wrong!! Now it’s Chrysler.
Bite the apple. Buy the GTX.
“Dear, ask Chrysler who designed the interior of the Esplanada. I want to redecorate our home.”