The French pioneered the volume production hatchback saloon (Renault 16
) but 1980
saw the Gallic manufacturer join the swing back to the 'three-box' body.
Talbot, ex-Sunbeam/Simca, supplemented its rather sparse range with a 'notchback' derivative of the 1510 (ex-1307 /1308), providing a saloon car with a separate lockable luggage compartment in line with several other manufacturers.
Also in line with several other manufacturers, Talbot decided to drop the Numbers Game, giving their new four-door saloon the mystic name of Solara, conjuring up eternal sunshine without any real reason.
The Talbot Solara used the basic body panels of the 1510, but the capacious new rear end had increased the overall length 2.75 in (7 cm) to 14.40 ft (4.39 metres). The l uggage boot had a capacity of 12.35 cu. ft (350 liters).
Solara, like the 1510, had front-drive and transverse engine, but to give it standing in the sales catalogue (and a stepping stone towards a 'big' Talbot V6) the 1296 cc engine was dropped.
engine choice for Solara was the familiar 'Simca' 1442 cc 70 bhp (50 kW) unit for the lS, and the 85 bhp (61 kW) unit for the GL. The GLS and SX models had the larger 1592 cc 88 bhp (63 kW) motor with beefy torque (99 Ib ft/13.7 mkg/134.31 Nm).
Due to the generally increased performance an eight-inch (20.32 cm) brake servo was standardised, and new generation floating calippers for the front disc brakes (which had larger pads). The new larger pads and calipers resulted were claimed by Talbot to allow a 25 to 30 per cent longer life,. Power-assisted steering was either standard or on option, and a Trip Computer' was available.
To emphasise the growing efficiency of the Peugeot-Citroen PSA combine's (of which Talbot was a member) rationalisation process, the GlS and SX models were available with a five-speed gearbox from the Citroen CX, while the other models used the faithful Simca 4 speed gearbox. An automatic gearbox option was also available. At launch, sales of the Solara were encouraging, but sales would drop off markedly, and few were suprised to see the car pensioned off. Production would end in 1985
, but enough were built (and sales slow enough) to see these remain in the showrooms the following year.