Polar Opposites in Polo, Illinois…

I was driving through town toward Dixon when I saw this rusty but complete lilac metallic ’76 Mark IV next to the highway. I love Mark IVs. My Grandpa Bob Klockau ordered a ’72 in triple dark green, I had the 1/64 scale Pocket Cars version as an impressionable yoot, so have had a soft spot for these Marks basically forever. And this was a pretty unusual color combination. I believe it was called the Red/Rose luxury group, one of several offered on Mark IVs in ’76.


This one just happens to be Rose Diamond Fire with a Dark Red landau roof and Dark Red side moldings. Certainly a nice find. But as I was looking around I saw another interesting old car further back. It was not a Detroit land yacht or anything even close to a Brougham-era luxury cruiser. Heck, it would’ve fit in the Mark’s trunk. Or glove box.

A Simca 1000, no less. Now, these things had to be scarce in rural Illinois when new, and I doubt there was a Simca dealer in nearby Oregon or Dixon, let alone a small town like Polo. Maybe Rockford? That’s what made this find all the more amazing. It’s rusty around the edges. Probably more rust is just waiting to pop up and say howdy in its nether regions, and I don’t think it’s a running vehicle, but the fact that it is still here in the metal is pretty impressive. Even as a static object, ha ha.

All in all, I’m pleased that my alternate route turned up these two very different cars. Which one do you like better? And you know which one I’d pick! The Mark, the Mark, and the Mark. Ha ha ha!

12 Replies to “Polar Opposites in Polo, Illinois…”

  1. Sal Darigo Jr

    You’d be surprised where Simca dealers end up. My aunt’s hometown of Mount Joy, PA is a borough of about 7500 people situated between Harrisburg and Lancaster. Back in the 50s and 60s, Heisey’s Garage was the area Mopar dealer who sold Simcas for awhile, judging by the signs that stood outside the abandoned showroom until around 1990 or so.

    Mount Joy is the kind of place where furrin’ cars really didn’t catch on until well into Bush the Elder’s administration. I wonder how many Simcas Mr. Heisey actually sold.

    • stingray65

      Simca was one of the first captive import brands and were sold by Mopar dealers starting in the 1950s when Chrysler bought a share of Simca. Thus a local Chrysler dealer might well have sold this particular Simca back in the 1960s to someone wanting a small car for town use. I suspect any Chrysler dealer who agreed to purchase a set of metric tools, service manual, and Simca sign were eligible to sell and service Simcas, and I bet most would-be buyers of the time were told by the friendly salesman that for only a few dollars more per month they could get a Valiant with slant-six and automatic, or for only a few more a Belvedere with a 318…

  2. TJ

    Man Tom, you run close to my old stomping grounds from time-to-time, but rural Ogle county is where I was born-and-raised. My folks are about half-a-town down the backroads from Polo.

    Anyway, thanks for the old-home day, from a guy whose transplanted halfway cross country

  3. John C.

    The later 1.6 liter version of the Simca engine was found in the Omni/ Horizon, Charger/Turismo 83-86. So a restomod of the Simca might have been possible.

    The French often had semi-automatics and with the engine in the rear it wouldn’t have needed power steering. Might have been a little old lady car.

  4. Glenn Kramer


    The ’76 MK IV brochure looks to have about 13 pages dedicated to the Designer series (4), the Luxury Groups (7) and the Versailles option (really plush velour in four colors), vs. two pages for the basic MK IV. It truly was all about design, the attraction was in creating your own look out of literally millions of choices. In the 70s and 80s, nobody did this better than Lincoln.

  5. nvdw

    What a brilliant color on that Mark IV. There’s quite a lot of these yachts in Europe but I’ve never come across this combination.

    That survivor Simca is even more special, though. Millions have been built and there’s virtually nothing left… they really were ‘consumables’ back in the day.

      • -Nate

        Oh yes, many times and most of them made it back to the road .

        In the 1970’s and 1980’s before the internet and after the collapse of the 1950’s & 1960’s off brand dealers ships for parts, anything not main stream was a bitch to get parts for .

        This one looks complete and that’s the biggest hurdle ~ many were parked and abandoned after being taken apart so parts & specialized hardware is lost…

        Why I love Auto Jumbles and older outlying wrecking yards ~ often I’d find a mechanically complete wreck and buy it for the priceless hardware, carbys, air cleaners, seats, door handles and other misc. parts .

        I did decades of salvage reconstruct, I’d learned well in the 1960’s what I was told I could have any of the many discarded vehicles lying in that muddy lower pasture all farms had…

        I’m sure most looked terrible (I dunno what you call ‘beer goggles’ when applied to a young child with rudimentary tools) but as long as I could make them motorvate I was happy and so were some of the ‘adults’ who suddenly decided my project wasn’t junk after all….



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