Unexceptional Classics

Unexceptional Classifieds: Talbot Solara Minx

by Antony Ingram
11 February 2022 2 min read
Unexceptional Classifieds: Talbot Solara Minx
Photos: Car & Classic

Price: £1950
Mileage: 68,000
Condition: Better visually than mechanically
Seller: Car & Classic

Those of you with children or grandchildren can probably answer this: When you ask them to draw a picture of a car, what does it look like?

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The idea springs to mind because if you’d asked me at four or five years old to scribble something car-shaped on a sheet of A4, it’d probably have looked not unlike this 1985 Talbot Solara Minx.

You know the deal: The typical side-on view, a three-box shape formed primarily of straight lines with squared-off edges and some not especially grand wheels filling the arches. It wasn’t a shape unique to the Solara – a Ford Orion, Renault 9, even a BMW 3-series would have broadly the same profile, but to an ‘80s kid it’s pretty much the definition of “car”.

As remains the case today it was largely the details that separated the huge number of otherwise indistinguishable three-box saloons from the period, and that’s perhaps where the Solara fell down. If the side profile is generic car, then so too are its rectangular headlights, four-bar grille, segmented tail lights and token chrome trim.

What makes the Solara interesting today, at least within the broader definition of unexceptional vehicles, is just how rare they now are. Those who visited last year’s Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional might remember the neat red and silver Talbot Solara Rapier in the Concours de l’Ordinaire, but it’s probably decades since you saw one on the road.

The names Rapier and Minx were a nod back to the Rootes Group’s Sunbeam and Hillman of the same names, and the Solara broadly filled that niche before the Talbot brand was absorbed entirely into PSA and replaced by both the Peugeot 309 and 405.

The Solara Minx was offered with both 1.3 and 1.6-litre power, and this one’s got the latter – the old “Poissy” engine rather than a Peugeot XU or TU unit, though this does give it the distinction of sharing its power unit with the rather more rakish Matra Murena sports car.

1985 Talbot Solara Minx interior

The downside is that the Solara Minx you see here is being sold as a project. It’s got no MOT for a start, though previous tests look fairly clean, with the proviso that defects were recorded more stringently from 2018 onwards, so tests prior may not tell the full story.

More pressing is the seller’s note that one of the front torsion bars might have collapsed, and photographs show the car sitting notably low at the offside front. The little Poissy engine has apparently started spluttering too, though diagnosis should at least be straightforward on a car of this age.

With relatively low mileage, previous ownership by members of the Talbot/Simca club and a smattering of paperwork though it’s not without appeal, and the rarity only adds to that. Buy it, save it, stick it on the drive, and give the neighbourhood kids a little inspiration next time they’re asked to draw a car.

Read more

French of the Unexceptional: Gallic stars in the Concours de l’Ordinaire
Unexceptional Classics: Édition française
Unexceptional Classifieds: Peugeot 309 Style

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  • Leon SHACKLEFORD says:

    Any one know where This Car is for Sale let me know please. I m After a Talbot Solara / Talbot Horizon / Talbot Alpine / Talbot Express.

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