1977 Chrysler Sunbeam featuring Petula Clark

Advert from 1977 for the Chrysler Sunbeam featuring Petula Clark .

The Chrysler Sunbeam is a small supermini 3-door hatchback manufactured by Chrysler Europe at the former Rootes Group factory in Linwood in Scotland. The Sunbeam’s development was funded by a British government grant with the aim to keep the Linwood plant running, and the small car was based on the larger Hillman Avenger also manufactured there. After the takeover of Chrysler’s European operations by PSA, the model was renamed Talbot Sunbeam and continued in production for some time. A Talbot Sunbeam Lotus version was successful in rallying and won the World Rally Championship Manufacturers’ title for Talbot in 1981.


Background

In mid-1970s, the British automotive industry was in crisis, marred by frequent strikes and decreasing competitiveness compared to the increasingly successful Japanese automakers. It took its toll on Chrysler UK, which was the name given to the former Rootes Group after its takeover by the USA-based Chrysler Corporation. In particular, the Linwood facility was generating losses due to many reasons, including underutilized capacity.

In 1975, the famous Ryder Report led to the effective nationalization of Chrysler UK’s major competitor, British Leyland. Chrysler management decided that the company should therefore also benefit from state aid, and pressed the government for it by threatening to close the UK operations. The government agreed to a state grant reported at GBP 55 Million to fund the development of a small car, to be developed in Chrysler’s UK facilities and manufactured in Linwood.

Info gleaned from Wikipedia

Fiat 131 Supermirafiori

 

The Fiat 131, additionally called “Mirafiori”, is a small/medium family car produced by the Italiancar manufacturer, Fiat from 1974 to 1984. It was exhibited at 1974 Turin Motor Show.

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