By on March 1, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is the European luxury sedan you’ve never heard of. Plush, brown, and boxy, it’s the Talbot Tagora from 1982.

The Tagora was born at a difficult time for its owner, Chrysler Europe. Chrysler’s European branch was formed in 1967 from a combination of three brands, all hailing from different countries in Europe. France contributed Simca, Rootes hailed from the U.K., and rounding out the trio was Spanish manufacturer Barreiros. Chrysler had the job of consolidating three different brands together into a profitable enterprise, which proved a tall order.

Throughout the Seventies, Chrysler’s large European sedan offering was the 180. It was branded in various ways by Chrysler, Simca, and later on, Talbot. The model proved unsuccessful, so by the middle of the decade Chrysler was working on a replacement. Said replacement was developed under the name C9. Chrysler distributed work across Europe, leaving styling to its design center in the U.K., and sending the technical aspects to Simca in France.

Originally, the British design trended toward daring, adopting some styling cues derived from the beautiful Citroën SM. When the initial design was shown to Chrysler HQ in Detroit, top brass found it all a bit much and ordered a rework. The resulting edits produced a more plain, angular design; one which received production approval.

All was not well at Chrysler Europe, and as the C9 marched toward its production date the whole organization would undergo a significant transition. Chrysler was unable to successfully marry its three European brands together, and the resulting mixed lineup confused customers and prevented profits. Piling on, the late Seventies were already a difficult time for Chrysler’s American arm — something had to give. Ultimately the hammer was delivered by new Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca. Seeing a money loser, and without much personal interest in European operations, Lee decided it was time for a sale.

Chrysler sold its European operation to PSA Peugeot Citroën group for the princely sum of one dollar. The company received factories, product, and the responsibility for some considerable debts. As the C9 was ready at the very same time, PSA revived the extinct Talbot brand and put its new Tagora into production. The sedan went on sale for the 1980 model year, featuring two different inline-four engines (gasoline and diesel), and an upmarket 2.7-liter PRV V6. Transmissions of three- to five-speeds were available, the only automatic being a three-speed. Peugeot tossed the Chrysler suspension in favor of the setup from its 505 and 604 sedans, an elongated the nose to fit the V6 engine.

As mentioned in a previous Rare Rides, PSA group found itself in an unfortunate set of circumstances with the Tagora. The Chrysler-developed and Peugeot-built sedan competed with the Peugeot 505 and 604, and vied for the same general customer as the well-known Citroën CX. Upon introduction, Tagora did not distinguish itself from its competitors and failed to receive acclaim from the motoring press. Though Chrysler expected to sell 60,000 C9s a year, PSA sold roughly 20,000 between 1980 and 1983, the year the Tagora bit the dust.

Today’s Rare Ride is located in the UK, and is a top-spec SX trim with V6 and a manual transmission. Already the subject of a restoration, the Talbot asks about $16,000.

[Images: ]

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49 Comments on “Rare Rides: A Very Brown Talbot Tagora From 1982...”


  • avatar
    Jagboi

    A rather uninspired box compared to the Rover SD1 available at the time.

  • avatar
    jatz

    As handsome as an ’80s sedan could be. Buy it for the greenhouse alone.

    That channel running from the top of the front turn signals, under the door handles and to the rear lights is as characteristic of this car’s era as were tail fins of their own.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ve never seen velour that looks like camo before. Remarkable.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    “Today’s Rare Ride is the European luxury sedan you’ve never heard of.”

    What is this assumption of ignorance that millennials imprint on their audiences? I know all about the Tagora, just as I always know more about the subjects of every author who uses this phrase. Are they teaching this in schools now? There was a time when people learned how to think instead of what to think, and it allowed them to spend their lives accumulating and employing knowledge. Sorry.

    • 0 avatar

      You write for the broader audience, not the super informed car nut who loves European obscurities which existed before the Internet. It’s a general statement to apply to the general public.

      That’s why it doesn’t say “ToddAtlas doesn’t know about this Talbot.”

      Time to get over yourself. If you know everything already, there’s no point in reading the article.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Today’s Rare Ride is an obscure European luxury sedan with an interesting back story. I think the general public would get it, even people reading a website about cars instead of an urban newspaper. There’s no reason to make this sort of article about the reader, but accusing him of ignorance is the go-to. Why? It’s like reading Jalopnik. Usually when something ridiculous keeps happening, there is a common cause. Maybe next time you write about a car you like, you should tell your audience they’re not cool enough to drive one. That’s got to be in the Gawker style guide.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s a single line, and it’s not an accusation – it’s hyperbole. Nobody was singled out, and the rest of the article is not about the reader.

          Perhaps consider how worked up you’re getting over a single line which does not apply specifically to your person.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Put him on staff. I have been a tech writer, so at least I got to assume my audience had some familiarity with the subject (though that was frankly a bold assumption). Still it was a job that everyone thought they could do better until you sat them at a keyboard and had them do it themselves. Then the red ink would flow. I don’t do that anymore, but God Bless the folks at my workplace that have to write reports on my operations.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I was a tech writer until a client insisted I be assigned to them as a project manager. I documented the IT build-outs of banking headquarters buildings in Manhattan. I seriously doubt that the vast majority of what I wrote was ever seen again once it was approved and published.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            It is thankless for sure.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            It was either this b¡tch fit, or one consisting of a long-winded, yet unspecific, rant about how much better and more successful this car was compared to whatever Ford it competed with.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Sorry John, but the West German Ford Granada MKII was far more desirable than the refuse they took for granted that US Ford customers would buy. When you look at the differences between what Ford offered in Europe and the US in the ’70s, ’80s, and 2000s; one can only conclude that they held their US customers in complete contempt. I get it that we had emissions standards for almost two decades before Europe did, and that we also had lighting, bumper, and crash safety regulations. Still, we never had beam axle or front drum brake regulations. We never had rules that said a 3.3 liter engine should have less power than a mediocre 2.3 liter engine, or that tachometers shouldn’t have marked red-lines. I guess customers get what they deserve.

        • 0 avatar
          Tim Healey

          We have our own style guide, thanks….

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      If only the American school system taught us about terrible sedans developed by Chrysler Europe and built by PSA, maybe all the millennials would have better jobs.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Adam,

        You completely got my point because you are in fact a smarter man than I gave you credit for.

      • 0 avatar

        “There was a time when people learned how to think instead of what to think”

        Well said sir! It is called brainwashing. And not only millennials. We boomers went through this in our schools in Soviet Union too. We were so happy and determined. True, one year after graduating from high school I changed my way of thinking 180 degree. Facing reality sucks.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          A friend of mine graduated from UVA in 1998 or 1999. She was so liberal that it took us her entire four years at UVA to warm up to one another. Then she went to work in the very real world at Ford Credit, where she rapidly rose to an executive level just in time to be cut loose during the recession in 2009. Now she has a house that has more bedrooms and bathrooms than she can count. Entering the workforce, paying taxes, and interacting with human beings of a variety of quality levels made her a conservative just as Winston Churchill said it would. She’s the youngest person I know who as has learned anything from experience.

          • 0 avatar
            vehic1

            ToddAtlasF1: Interesting anecdote; highly debatable about what, if any, broad conclusions may be inferred from it. A contrary observation might be the underwhelming performance of conservatives in better-educated suburban areas, in the 2018 US elections.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            Funny, I started out a conservative and a rough mugging by reality made me a liberal. Maybe what we really lose are the illusions of youth, and if we’ve pinned those onto an ideology, we lose that along with them.

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            “a rough mugging by reality made me a liberal”

            Me, too! And the MSM will never reveal that all those armed thugs in hoodies are Young Republicans; they just report them as “youths” or “teens”.

    • 0 avatar
      Stanley Steamer

      What is this assumption of millennials that believe everything they read is written solely for millenials? It’s funny how the 70 year old reading this didn’t say “What is this assumption of ignorance that baby boomers imprint on their audiences?” See? That’s the problem with millenials.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike G

      I’ve heard of the Tagora before, only because I grew up outside the US reading British as well as American car magazines. Knowing my experience isn’t typical of most readers and the world doesn’t revolve around me, I didn’t get offended by the lede.

  • avatar
    EGSE

    Mmmmm, Barcalounger. I’m getting sleepy…..

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The upholstery material makes me think of cinnamon powdered sugar donuts. Mmmmmm…

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I’ve heard of this thing, but never seen a picture. It belongs in a museum. If you crashed it, you’d likely never find replacement parts.

  • avatar
    jatz

    Hey! Evidence of time-meddling!

    What is the front passenger’s headrest doing with that perp-shove forward lean that’s inescapable today?

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    “I drive around in a brown car, it’s a brown car, it’s brown”. Famous sketch from by the Frantics from their 1986 TV show. Something that only Anglo Canadians of a certain age would know. Link to the minute and a half sketch below. There most famous character was the Canadian superhero, Mr. Canoehead.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Even though I live in Germany, and used to have an eye for spotting Chrysler-Simcas and Talbots because my Dad used to drive a 1308 GT, I have seen two, maybe three Tagoras in my life.

    I liked them when I did. I understand that the design is the best thing about them, though. Dad’s 1308 was easily the worst car he ever owned — it only lasted 100,000 kilometres from new before the engine blew, and by then almost the whole bodywork had been replainted (brown) due to rust repair work. I used to joke that the thing combined the worst of opposites — the noise of a Diesel with the thirst of a gasoline engine, the reliability of a British roadster with the blandness of a Japanese hatchback, and the boringness of design of a German car with the incredible rustability of a French one.

  • avatar
    Ce he sin

    Some of us not only know about the Tagora, but have seen them…somebody near me came up with one a few years ago and at least occasionally used it, but it’s gone now.
    Interestingly there hasn’t been a single Tagora registered as being on the road in the UK since 2015, though there are nine officially off the road but not actually scrapped of which this is presumably one.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Its like a stretched Renault R9/Alliance. I kind of like it. Very 80’s.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Don’t forget that we have Simca/Talbot to thank for the Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon.

  • avatar

    PSA seems developed the bad habit of taking Euro-losers off hands of American Big 3. I hope Opel does better under PSA than that euro hybrid. But still – the same old story again – Opel competes with PSA’s own brands and even is made on the same platform and from same components.

    And yes I knew about Talbot as well as Simca, Alpine an etc when I was a kid. And Citroen DS 19 was for Fantomas (my favorite childhood hero) what AM was for James Bond:

    youtube.com/watch?v=nuCdIgycXeo

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    I owned a Chrysler Centura which was the Aussie version of the Chrysler 180 but with stretched nose to take the Valiant 245 ci straight six. The only manual gearbox to fit was from the Charger E49 and was almost as big as the engine. In winter, the cold oils made changing gears a two handed operation. I loved it. Wish I still had it.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      LOL. Speaking lightheartedly, I’ve been in Brisbane at the height of “winter” (early July) – the daytime temp was 20-21 and it was sunny, which in much of Canada would be called fine summer weather. I was in short sleeves, of course, but the locals were all bundled up to deal with the cold.

      If you need to shift with 2 hands in this clime because of “cold oils”, well the mind just boggles!

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    In 1982 England, the general reaction to the Tagora was “WTF ? “

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    That’s a fine looking Volvo 940.

  • avatar
    zipper69

    This pulled out of my memory banks a scathing review of the vehicle (could it have been Jeremy Clarkson back then?).
    Showing his education the writer told us that “agora” meant market place in Latin and headlined his review “Trouble down at T’agora” a play on the stereotype Lankashire mill owner “Trouble down a t’mill”

    Hmmm…now I’ve wrote it I think I’ll go and lie down

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Never has a car looked more like a co-mingling of a Volvo 850 and a Renault Medallion.

  • avatar
    Gasser Mac

    Looking at the car itself and ignoring the back story, it’s quite unusual and a bit of an oddity of its type. It was powered by a 2664cc odd-fire PRV this is true, but not any old PRV. Each engine had its own build number on a plate riveted to the block to donate that this PRV is no ordinary one. It has larger valves, different cams, tubular headers and is topped off with a pair of triple-choke Weber IDA variants called the IT. Not exactly standard fayre for a large saloon! It was only available with a 5 speed manual gearbox and is rear drive with an LSD. It may look pedestrian, but had a big fat sting in its tail.


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