1980 Talbot Horizon

Summary:

Underrated make

Faults:

Valve work needed.

General Comments:

I enjoyed the car. It was the top of the range model. It was a good car, although I know many people had problems - I had few.

I liked the Disco look interior. I assume it was very American even though it was a French car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd January, 2005

1979 Talbot Horizon L 1.1 petrol

Faults:

Electronic ignition failed twice. Eventually gave up and fitted mechanical ignition instead.

The distributor failed when the rotor arm came adrift from the shaft. After many calls to the nearest dealer, I fitted a distributor from a Simca (which has the same engine).

Ignition timing was always going awry.

Brake calipers replaced twice. Ignition timing needed constant adjustment.

Servicing always cost a fortune. All spare parts were almost unobtainable, even when the car was being made.

The paint quality and body protection was poor. By 1986 the body had rot everywhere.

General Comments:

It had its good points. It had big, comfortable seats, lots of room front and rear, and a big boot. This is important if you have two growing kids!

Loads of wheel travel and good damping made it ride pretty well, even on really lousy roads. One of the few positive memories I have is driving to a slate quarry in North Wales, where the road had bomb crater sized potholes which the Horizon just didn't seem to notice!

The tiny 1142cc engine seemed to cope reasonably well with lugging about nearly a ton of metal, but was very noisy, especially on the motorway.

The car had the agility of a charging bull and the stopping distance of a car ferry.

Body corrosion is an endemic problem with all Chrysler/Talbot vehicles of this era. When I part exchanged it for a Ford Escort, it was in borderline MOT pass territory.

My kids have cars of their own now, but remember the Horizon more fondly than I do. I think the body corrosion has killed them all (Horizons, that is).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th January, 2004

2nd Feb 2005, 17:45

I agree with most of what you have written, but will advise anyone against buying one the parts are almost impossible to locate anywhere. Scrapped vehicles have long since turned to rotting dust lining the surface of scrap yards.

11th Feb 2005, 11:24

Well it was near impossible to get bits even while they were still making them so I'm not surprised that the situation didn't improve with time.

As regards buying one... well the last one I saw for sale was on a grotty garage forecourt in Wolverhampton in about 1994 and I think they wanted £50 for it.

There must still be one out there because I saw it in a classic car mag a couple of years ago.

26th Sep 2005, 13:25

There must be two then, because the one in the magazine was white.

4th Oct 2005, 07:40

There must be 3! I have a 1985 1300 with no rust, spotless interior and only 35000 miles from new! I bought it on ebay after returning slightly the worse for wear from the pub!

It's not really needed so I'm selling it for £450.

6th Dec 2005, 00:18

I paid £100 for my '85 Horizon about 3 years ago, and am still driving it - that's value for money! It's the second one I've owned, I just love the quirkiness of these cars, they're just great fun to drive! Real pain to get spares for though, and yes, fighting the rust is a constant battle...

15th Dec 2005, 17:13

I think the later ones must have had suspension revisions. Mine really didn't handle that well although the ride was great.

It baffles me how you would get ANY spares though nearly 20 years later. You couldn't get them even while they were still being made!

18th Dec 2005, 16:49

Is this the last one?