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Top 10: Front-wheel drive classics

It’s been around for so long that we tend to take front-wheel drive for granted. Back in the 1960s and ’70s, however, there was deep suspicion among many traditional buyers as to the reliability and longevity of what was seen as a new-fangled idea, despite the fact that elsewhere in Europe innovative companies like Citroen had been building front-drive cars since before World War II.

It’s easy to see the appeal of front-wheel drive, particularly when it comes to space efficiency and sharp, nimble handling, and there’s certainly no shortage of front-drive classics on today’s scene. Here are our verdicts on 10 of the most significant.

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Simca 1100

French car makers were early pioneers of front-wheel drive, which means that most were offering this layout by the 1960s. Citroen, Renault and Peugeot did particularly well, but let’s not forget Simca and, in particular, the 1100 hatchback that made its debut in 1967.

So well designed was the 1100, it’s widely acknowledged that Volkswagen studied it closely when creating the all-new Golf for the ’70s. And, of course, it was popular; even when its successor, the Chrysler Horizon, appeared on the scene in 1978, the Simca 1100 refused to die, remaining in production right through to the mid ’80s.


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