Many of the worlds major automotive brands have for years retained sizeable collections of their most significant cars as well as all manner of concepts, prototypes and cars that competed in various categories of motorsport. For years, these treasures tended to be stored away out of the public gaze, being seen occasionally for PR purposes at launches and shows, but it gradually dawned on most of them that in an era where brand loyalty matters and heritage sells, they should put them on public display. And so, whilst privately owned museums face ever greater struggles for their continued existence, there are impressive displays of the back catalogue of almost every marque, usually in a site close to or part of a main manufacturing site. French giant, Peugeot, is based in Sochaux, a small town that few other than car enthusiasts will even have heard of, in the south east of France, not far from the Swiss border at Basel, and that is where you need to head to see their collection. It is branded the “Aventure Peugeot”, and is easily found, in a purpose-built site on the edge of the town. I’ve been a couple of time before, and thoroughly enjoyed looking at the array of cars on show. With a collection that would not fit in all the display space, a problem that most similar museums have, cars get moved around on a fairly frequent basis, so you can be sure that a repeat visit will give the chance to see some cars that were not evident previously. I was last in Sochaux in May 2009, so when the weather forecast suggested that the best prospects or not being drowned by torrential rain in the Zurich area, which was my base, would be to head to Basel and over the border, this is where I headed. The weather was still pretty disappointing even as I arrived, but once indoors all that could be forgotten as I spend more than a couple of hours looking at this iconic French marque’s history and heritage. This is what was on show at the time of this June 2017 visit.
NOT JUST CARS
The Peugeot family of Valentigney, Montbéliard, Franche-Comté, France, began in the manufacturing business in the 19th century. In 1842, they added production of coffee, pepper, and salt grinders. The company’s entry into the vehicle market was by means of crinoline dresses, which used steel rods, leading to umbrella frames, saw blades, chisels, wire wheels, and bicycles. Armand Peugeot introduced his “Le Grand Bi” penny-farthing in 1882, along with a range of other bicycles. The company’s logo, initially a lion walking on an arrow, symbolised the speed, strength and flexibility of the Peugeot saw blades. The car company and bike company parted ways in 1926 but Peugeot bicycles continued to be built until very recently.
THE EARLY CARS
Armand Peugeot became interested in the automobile early on and, after meeting with Gottlieb Daimler and others, was convinced of its viability. The first Peugeot automobile, a three-wheeled, steam-powered car designed by Léon Serpollet, was produced in 1889; only four examples were made. Steam power was heavy and bulky and required lengthy warmup times. In 1890, after meeting Daimler and Émile Levassor, steam was abandoned in favour of a four-wheeled car with a petrol-fuelled internal combustion engine built by Panhard under Daimler licence. The car was more sophisticated than many of its contemporaries, with a three-point suspension and a sliding-gear transmission. An example was sold to the young Alberto Santos-Dumont, who exported it to Brazil. More cars followed, 29 being built in 1892, 40 in 1894, 72 in 1895, 156 in 1898, and 300 in 1899. In 1896, the first Peugeot engines were built; no longer were they reliant on Daimler. Designed by Rigoulot, the first engine was an 8 hp horizontal twin fitted to the back of the Type 15. It also served as the basis of a nearly exact copy produced by Rochet-Schneider. Further improvements followed: the engine moved to the front on the Type 48 and was soon under a bonnet at the front of the car, instead of hidden underneath; the steering wheel was adopted on the Type 36; and they began to look more like the modern car. Also in 1896, Armand Peugeot broke away from Les Fils de Peugeot Frères to form his own company, Société Anonyme des Automobiles Peugeot, building a new factory at Audincourt to focus entirely on cars. In 1899, sales hit 300; total car sales for all of France that year were 1,200. These early models were given “type” numbers. Peugeot became the first manufacturer to fit rubber tyres (solid, rather than pneumatic) to a petrol-powered car. In 1898, Peugeot Motocycles presented at the Paris Motorshow the first motorcycle equipped with a Dion-Bouton motor. Peugeot Motocycles remains the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Peugeot added motorcycles to its range in 1901, and they have been built under the Peugeot name ever since. Peugeot was an early pioneer in motor racing, with Albert Lemaître winning the world’s first motor race, the Paris–Rouen, in a 3 hp Peugeot. Five Peugeots qualified for the main event, and all finished. Lemaître finished 3 min 30 sec behind the Comte de Dion whose steam-powered car was ineligible for the official competition. Three Peugeots were entered in the Paris–Bordeaux–Paris, where they were beaten by Panhard’s car (despite an average speed of 20.8 km/h (12.9 mph) and taking the 31,500 franc prize. This also marked the debut of Michelin pneumatic tyres in racing, also on a Peugeot; they proved insufficiently durable. Nevertheless, the vehicles were still very much horseless carriages in appearance and were steered by a tiller. At the 1901 Paris Salon, Peugeot debuted a tiny shaft-driven 652 cc 5 hp one-cylinder, dubbed “Bébé” (“baby”), and shed its conservative image, becoming a style leader. After placing 19th in the 1902 Paris-Vienna Rally with a 50 hp 11,322 cc racer, and failing to finish with two similar cars, Peugeot quit racing. By 1903, Peugeot produced half of the cars built in France, and they offered the 5 hp Bébé, a 6.5 hp four-seater, and an 8 hp and 12 hp resembling contemporary Mercedes models.
There was quite an array of these early models here showing the rapid evolution of Peugeot and indeed the motor car.
The Type 3 of 1891 was the first Peugeot model to be made in significant numbers. In 1890, Armand Peugeot met with car technology innovators Gottlieb Daimler and Émile Levassor and became convinced that reliable, practical, lightweight vehicles would have to be powered by petrol and have four wheels. The Type 2 was the first such model. Peugeot’s one-time partner, Serpollet, continued with steam technology under the brand name Gardner-Serpollet until Serpollet’s death in 1907. The engine was a German design by Daimler but was licensed for production in France by Panhard et Levassor and then sold to Peugeot. It was a 15° V-twin and produced 2 bhp, sufficient for a top speed of approximately 18 km/h (11 mph). Armand Peugeot decided to show the quality of the Type 3 by running a demonstration model alongside the cyclists in the inaugural Paris–Brest–Paris cycle race in September 1891, thus gaining official confirmation of progress from the race marshals and time-keepers. His chief engineer Louis Rigoulot and rising workshop foreman Auguste Doriot proved the robustness of the design, as this demonstration car ran for 2,045 km (1,271 miles), from Peugeot’s factory in Valentigney to Paris, over the race course, and then back to Valentigney, at an average speed of 14.7 km/h (9.1 mph), without major malfunctions. This was the longest run to that time by a petrol-powered vehicle and about four times as far as the previous record set by Léon Serpollet from Paris to Lyon. Later the demonstrator became the first Peugeot sold to the public. A lightened Type 3 was entered into the Paris–Bordeaux–Paris race in June 1895, finishing second and maintaining an average speed of 21.7 km/h (13.5 mph).
The Peugeot Type 4 was a one-off car produced by Peugeot in 1892 for Ali III ibn al-Husayn, the Bey of Tunis, in accordance with whose wishes the car was decorated. The Type 4 was made with a 1.0 L (1026 cc) 15-degree V-twin engine that produced 4 hp. The 565 cc engine in the Peugeot Type 3 was considered to be insufficient, and produced half as much power.
The 1894 Peugeot Type 5 was propelled by a 1.026 cc V type two cylinder engine produced by Panhard & Levassor under license from German Daimler Company. Transmission is by a four speed gearbox which utilised a double chain driving system. An example, Chassis N°164, was entered at the Paris Rouen race the same year by Mr. Louis Rigoulot alongside six factory entered cars. All cars finished the city to city race. 21 cars were qualified for the race and participated . Mr Rigoulot finished 11th overall.
The Peugeot Type 8 was a small four-seater runabout produced by Peugeot from 1893 to 1896. The engine displaced 1282 cc and was carried over from the Peugeot Type 7, though the Type 8 was otherwise mechanically different from the Type 7. Total production figures are unknown.
The Peugeot Type 15 was an early Peugeot model built from 1897 to 1901. Its production run of 276 vehicles was the highest by the company up to that point, and in excess of all previous models combined. Peugeot ended its Daimler partnership and produced their first in-house engine for this car, made in their recently built Audincourt factory. Their transversely mounted flat-twin was a departure from this prior foreign-made V-twin engine. It produced 8 bhp. Charles Rolls, who collaborated with Henry Royce to found the famous Rolls-Royce marque in 1906, owned a Peugeot Type 15 and established a dealership in Britain selling Peugeot and other French cars in 1902. Alberto Santos-Dumont purchased a Type 15 while in France, and later had it exported to his home country of Brazil.
The Peugeot Type 16 was a mid-size family car produced by French automaker Peugeot from 1897 to 1900. The flat-twin engine was of the same series produced in the contemporaneous Peugeot Type 15, though the engine in the heavier Type 16 was enlarged to 2.4 L. During the production run, the Type 16 (a 4-seater vis-à-vis) was joined in its class by the smaller Peugeot Type 17, the similar Type 19, and the larger Type 32. A total of 87 Type 16s were built.
The Peugeot Type 26 was produced from 1899 to 1902 by Peugeot. It was larger than the mainstream Peugeot range, available as a four-seater. But the Type 26 still used the traditional rear-engined layout and chain drive mechanism of Peugeot’s earliest cars. By the time it went out of production in 1902, this layout had been rendered obsolete by the introduction of rotating steel drive shaft and front-engine configuration of the Peugeot Type 48. A total of 419 Type 26s were produced.
The Peugeot Type 33 was a small four-seater phaeton produced in 1901 and 1902. Peugeot’s by-now familiar V-twin engine displaced 1056 cc. A total of 84 were made.
The Peugeot Type 36 was a new model from Peugeot made in 1901 and 1902. It was the first Peugeot to feature a steering wheel rather than a tiller. The Type 48 also used a newly developed upright single-cylinder made by Peugeot. On this vehicle, the engine was available in four states of tune, offering between 5 and 8 bhp. Bodies were made only to order giving rise to an average customer waiting time of 10 months after placing an order. In 1900 France was the world’s leading auto producer, building 4,800 cars in that year alone of which Peugeot accounted for 500.
The Peugeot Type 56 was a model from Peugeot for 1903. It had a 0.8 L single-cylinder engine and had two rows of seats and an open top. A total of 16 were built. In 1904, after the model had been replaced, a Peugeot Type 56 gained official recognition for exceptional fuel economy when one of the cars travelled 100 km using only 5.3 litres of fuel. Recognition was awarded in the form of a gold medal called “la médaille d’or de la locomotion”.
Lion-Peugeot is a formerly independent French auto-maker. It is the name under which in 1906 Robert Peugeot and his two brothers, independently of the established Peugeot car business, began to produce automobiles at Beaulieu near Valentigney. In 1910 the two family auto-makers Automobiles Peugeot and Lion-Peugeot merged to form the business Société des Automobiles et Cycles Peugeot, but the merged business continued to use the Lion-Peugeot name for smaller models inherited from the formerly independent business until 1916. To understand why there were two Peugeot automobile businesses it is necessary to refer to a family disagreement that culminated, in 1896, in Armand Peugeot leaving the family business which was called, at that stage, “Les Fils de Peugeot Frères” (The Sons of Peugeot Brothers). Eugène and Armand Peugeot, who were related to each other as second cousins, had recently taken over control of the successful Peugeot metal-working business specialising in certain types of industrial and domestic components and tools. (More than a century later, the Peugeot museum displays an impressive range of nineteenth century coffee grinders.) The Peugeot company was an early participant in the automobile manufacturing business, their first petrol/gasoline car being produced in 1890 and gaining national publicity in 1891 through participation in the Paris–Brest–Paris cycle marathon. Participation in the auto-business required investment on a scale that would commit the company to a major change of direction, away from products with which it had a proven track record. The company had been producing bicycles since 1882 which in the 1890s may very well have been seen as a safer investment than powered motor vehicles. Eugène Peugeot opposed the necessary scale of investment in automobile making, and 1896 his cousin split away, to form Automobiles Peugeot. The cousins signed an agreement that gave Armand’s business the sole right to manufacture Peugeot automobiles, the corollary of which was that the residual Peugeot business, under Eugène, would stay out of the powered vehicle business. Despite the agreement between the Peugeot cousins, the residual business under Eugène Peugeot continued to produce bicycles, tricycles and quadricycles, some with motors and some without. Relations with Armand evidently were not cordial. By 1905 control over the residual Peugeot business had passed to the three sons of Eugène, Robert Peugeot (1873 – 1945), Pierre Peugeot (1871 – 1927) and Jules Peugeot (1882 – 1957). Relations between the new Peugeot generation and their cousin Armand, whose “Automobiles Peugeot” business was enjoying great success, became less confrontational with Eugène no longer so active in the business. An agreement was entered into to regularise relations between the two companies. The company previously controlled by Eugène agreed to pay a million francs annually to Armand Peugeot, and in return Armand agreed to the company manufacturing cars independently of his own “Automobiles Peugeot” business. These cars started to be sold in 1906, badged as “Lion-Peugeots”: the first of them was the Lion-Peugeot Type VA. During the ensuing decade Lion-Peugeot automobiles were produced and sold in reasonable quantities with several models breaking through the 1,000 units threshold. While the Peugeot Bébé, launched in 1904 by “Peugeot-Automobiles” before the reconciliation, continued its own successful career, new model investment by the “Peugeot-Automobiles” now concentrated on mid-range and larger cars, leaving the “Lion-Peugeot” business to build a Peugeot presence in the small car sector. This pattern was sustained during the remaining years of peace after the two businesses merged in 1910, until the termination of the “Lion-Peugeot” brand in 1916, by which time war-time economic conditions had for the time being effectively put an end to passenger car manufacturing in France. Robert Peugeot and his brothers evidently felt none of their father’s hostility to Armand, and it seems to have been the death of Eugène in 1907 that opened the way for the reunification of the two Peugeot automobile businesses. Armand’s own only son had died in 1896, and his lack of a direct male heir may have encouraged him to respond positively to his junior kinsmens’ promptings. The merger of the two businesses took place formally in 1910, although in terms of the way the model ranges came together, the merger took place progressively over several years. In 1916, demand for passenger cars having collapsed, the plant that had produced the Lion-Peugeots was closed, and after the war small models again became fully integrated into the Peugeot range. However, the first decade after the war saw France greatly impoverished, and it would be some years before automobile production would again become a profitable activity for Peugeot which had, prudently as matters turned out, retained a solid presence in the bicycle business.
This is the Peugeot Bébé, the small car Peugeot made from 1905 to 1916. Vehicles under this name were known technically within Peugeot as the Type 69 and the Type BP1. The original Bébé was presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1904 and stole the show as a modern and robust creation that was cheap, small, and practical. Its weight was 350 kilograms (770 lb) and length was 2.7 metres (110 in), and these tiny dimensions meant that its small engine could propel it to 40 km/h (25 mph). Though selling price was deliberately kept as low as possible, technologies like rack and pinion steering and a driveshaft instead of a chain were included in the vehicle. Production began in Audincourt in 1905, and the car proved to be popular. Bébé sold 400 units in the first year, or 80% of Peugeot’s production. It was also exported, particularly to Britain. The Type 69 was sold only for the year 1905. The Type BP1 Bébé was a design by Ettore Bugatti, initially for the German car firm Wanderer, then also built under license by Peugeot for the French market. Peugeot displayed it under their marque at the Paris Motor Show in 1912. Production began in 1913 following discontinuation of the Type 69. Wanderer built their car with Bugatti’s own 4-speed transmission, but in order to keep production costs down for the French version, Peugeot fitted a 2-speed gearbox initially, which was then replaced by their own 3-speed. The engine was also Peugeot’s own, a tiny straight-4 that produced 10 bhp at 2000 rpm, which gave the small car a top speed of 60 km/h (37 mph). Weight was again below 350 kilograms (770 lb), though the track was wide enough for two to sit abreast. Bébé scored some racing success among small car classes, notably at Mont Ventoux in 1913, where it won in its class. This model ran until 1916. Advertising promoted its qualities as an economy product, in one case highlighting the comparison with more conventional transport in the case of a rural doctor, needing to cover approximately 40 km (25 miles) per day, for whom a Bébé would replace a team of two horses, while costing no more than one of them. With a total of 3,095 produced, and despite the dire economic conditions created by the war, the Bugatti designed Bébé was the first production Peugeot to breach the 3,000 units threshold.
Displayed alongside, largely because of the Bugatti connection, was a Type 52 Bugatti, an even smaller car, but then this was not aimed at adults.
This is the Type 91 Voiturette Spider. 339 of these were made between 1907 and 1908. The Type 91 had a Spider body and was equipped with an in-line 4 cylinder engine of 2207cc which developed 12 bhp. The 4 cylinder engine was considerably smoother than the earlier 1 and 2 cylinder Peugeot models. The Type 91 could carry up to 6 people, with the 4 at the back arranged back to back.
This is a Type 125 Runabout. The Peugeot Type 125 was a mid-range car from Peugeot produced in 1910. In less than a year of production, 150 units were built at their Audincourt factory. The car was billed as sporty; top speed from the 1.1 L engine was 50 km/h (31 mph).
This Type 135 Torpedo is one of 376 examples made between 1911 and 1913. It had a 5027cc engine which generated 22HP.
Also from 1911 was the Type 139A Torpedo. This has a 4 cylinder 3817cc engine. 511 examples were made.
Launched in 1913, to replaced the Type 143, the Type 153 (the colonial version was known as the Type 153 A and used a different chassis) was produced until 1916 and held popularity among French Army officers during the First World War. Its original 2.6 L four-cylinder engine made 12 hp. Production continued after the war, right up to 1925. A total of 3830 were made.
The Peugeot Type 156 was a large car announced in 1920 and produced between 1921 and 1923 by the French auto-maker Peugeot at their Sochaux plant. It was Peugeot’s first large car since before the First World War and its arrival recalled the Peugeot Type 135 which had ceased production in 1913. However, the 156 was larger and more powerful. The six-cylinder sleeve-valve 5,954 cc engine was Peugeot’s first production sleeve-valve unit. It was positioned ahead of the driver and drove the rear wheels. A top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph) was claimed and slower than the 3L 175 torpedo sport. The 156 featured a massive 3670 mm wheelbase, supporting an overall length of 4800 mm. Available bodies included a large “limousine” saloon/sedan, a “torpedo”, a cabriolet and a “coupé-landaulet”. The car could accommodate between four and six people, according to the body specified. It may, in part, be a mark of the impact of war and post war depression on the French economy that whereas Peugeot had sold 376 of their Type 135 model between 1911 and 1913, only 180 Type 156s were built between 1921 and 1923. Nevertheless, one of the car’s users was the French President. The Type 156 was also used by Peugeot themselves as a test-bed for experiments with diesel-powered cars. The significance of these activities for the company’s future was probably not widely appreciated at the time, however, and it would be nearly four decades before Peugeot would follow Mercedes-Benz in progressing to the use of diesel engines in production cars. The 156 was Peugeot’s last series production luxury car of this size. The company produced subsequent luxury cars, but when 156 production ended in 1923, the Peugeot Type 174 introduced also in 1923, was smaller than the Type 156, and its six-cylinder engine had a capacity of “only” 3,828 cc.
The Peugeot Type 159 was a new model from Peugeot for 1919, part of a more consolidated post-World War I lineup. It had a 1.5 L four-cylinder engine, seated four, and was sold for merely a year before replacement during which time 502 were made.
Peugeot created the Type 161 to reverse its financial woes following the First World War. It was a cheap, practical, very small economy car and was nicknamed the Quadrilette when shown at the 1920 Brussels Motor Show. It was available for sale in 1921. In order to put it into the minimal tax bracket—that of cyclecars, for which the tax was 100 francs annually—the 4-cycle, 4-cylinder water-cooled engine displaced a mere 667 cc and produced 9.5 bhp. Taking advantage of this small power output was a very lightweight body, under 350 kilograms (770 lb). The vehicle’s width was so diminutive that the two seats were placed in tandem, not side-by-side. Later in 1921, the Type 161E was introduced with side-by-side seats, the passenger seat slightly back to allow the driver room to operate the pedals. The car retailed for 9900 francs with top, acetylene lights, and spare tire, 9400 francs without. Fuel economy was highly impressive at 5.0 L/100 km (56 mpg). Top speed was 60 km/h (37 mph).
The Peugeot Type 163 and associated models were produced from 1919 to 1924 by Peugeot. The car’s engine placed it in the 10HP class. Peugeot returned to passenger car production after the war slightly less rapidly than Paris based Renault and Citroën, both of which were quick of the mark with new entrants in the 10HP class. Peugeot’s 159 was very much a stop gap solution, and the Type 163, prepared during the summer of 1919, was a much more modern contender. The original Type 163 had a wheelbase of 99.2 inches and a 1.4 L (1437 cc) engine. In 1922 the manufacturer added the Type 163 BS, a sportier model with less weight, an uprated 1.5 L (1480 cc) engine Four-Wheels drive, and a longer 103.9 inches wheelbase. In 1923 came the Type 163 BR, which carried over most of the mechanicals from Type 163 BS, but was heavier and slower. Total production came to 11,925.
Modifications to the Quadrilette in 1923 resulted in the Type 172. launched during the course of 1924. The track was widened so that the two seats could be placed abreast, improving comfort and space. Though the wheelbase was shortened, luggage room was more plentiful because there were no longer two rows of seats. The engine remained the same and weight was kept low. Upgraded versions of the Type 172, such as the Type 172 BC and Type 172 BS also known as the Quadrilette Grand Sport, launched during the course of 1924, had an enlarged 720 cc side-valve engine with slightly more power. Total figures for the Quadrilette amounted to 12,305 over three years, which was 31% of Peugeot’s vehicle production for that time period. Confusingly, models of the Type 172 were attached both to the Quadrilette’s nameplate and to that of its successor, the Peugeot 5CV. The Quadrilette and 5CV were sold side-by-side in 1924, after which Quadrilette production ceased.
This is the Peugeot 5CV, the name used by several models of the Peugeot Type 172 between 1925 and 1929. The first of the 5CV series was the Type 172 BC, itself a new model, though similar to the Quadrilette, which was still sold through 1924. The Type 172 BC carried over the 667 cc engine from the Quadrilette, but with power up to 11 hp. It debuted at the Tour de France automobile in 1924. Small styling changes and a new engine changed the Type 172 BC into the Type 172 R in 1926. The engine was a 720 cc I4 and produced the same power rating as before, but torque was quoted appreciably higher. In 1928, the engine was replaced with a smaller 695 cc powerplant that nevertheless produced more power, at 14 horsepower (10 kW). A smaller engine and a wider track nevertheless lowered the rating of the new Type 172 M tax classification to 4CV. Total production of the Type 172 models in this timeframe amounted to 48,285 units.
The Peugeot Type 174, also known at the time and normally advertised simply according to its fiscal horse power as the Peugeot 18HP, was a large, powerful sedan made by Peugeot from 1923 to 1926. The Type 174 S was made until 1926. The engine displaced 3828 cc, large and low-revving for a four-cylinder engine, and produced a not inconsiderable 85 horsepower. The sport version sold 208 examples compared to 810 for the standard version. In October 1924 at the 19th Paris Motor Show the price quoted by the manufacturer for a Peugeot Type 174 in bare chassis form was 54,000 francs. The sport version was priced in bare chassis form at 56,000 francs.
The Peugeot Type 175 was a fairly large sports car from Peugeot produced in 1923 and 1924. This model was produced at the factory in Audincourt. The OHV engine, of the LA5 range, displaced 3.0 L (2951 cc) and has a 4 speed gearbox. It was only available with the “torpedo sport” or “torpedo grand sport” body at the price of 38,000 old Francs. Colours offered were blue, grey, green or red, with black wings and chassis. The body was made of a wooden frame with steel; the bonnet was made of aluminium with a sloping, nickel-plated window. Blériot headlights and a 12V SEV magneto and starter were fitted. In 1924, H. Petit won the 3-litre category of the 1100 km Paris-Nice race in this model: The “Paris Nice” Peugeot 175 Torpedo Grand Sport. A total of only 303 were made and only 4 original and complete surviving cars are known today, 3 in France and 1 in Belgium.
The Peugeot Type 177 B was a mid-range car produced between 1924 and 1929. With a fiscal horsepower of 10 CV, and a wheel base of 2670 mm, it competed in the same sector as the Citroën B2 and Renault KZ. The car was derived from the Peugeot Type 173, from which it inherited its mechanical components and with which it shared both its overall dimensions and, when launched in 1924, its 1,525 cc ohv in-line four-cylinder engine. Claimed maximum power output was 29 hp at 1,900 rpm. The car was available in three different equipment levels, designated B, BH and BL. A year after the launch, in 1925, of the Type 177, the Type 173 was delisted and the newer model took its place. Also in 1925 the company launched the Peugeot Type 181, broadly similar to the 177, but with a slightly larger 1,615 cc engine for which a maximum power output of 30 hp and maximum speed of 75 km/h (47 mph) were given. At the end of 1926 production of the three original versions of the 177 B came to an end. 16,039 had been produced. A replacement 177 was launched at the start of 1927, in the shape of the 177 M. The 177 M of 1927 was of particular interest because of its transparent roof, a feature which would become widespread as an option on many cars only some fifty years later. This was replaced for the 1929 model year at the 22nd Paris Motor Show in October 1928 by the 177 R. The wheelbase was slightly longer at 2695 mm. Shortly afterwards the power unit was also changed, new cars featuring a smaller engine of 1,393 cc. This distanced the 177 from the more powerful Peugeot 181, leaving the new Type 177 with a maximum power output of only 25 hp, which was nevertheless sufficient to support a listed top speed of 70 km/h (44 mph). The 177 and more powerful 181 were commercially successful, with more than 40,000 177s produced. The 100,000th Peugeot produced was a Type 181, which was one of the last cars produced at the company’s Audincourt plant. Type 181 production continued until 1928, by when 9,259 had been produced. The Type 177 continued to be offered for one more year, powered in its final year by larger the 1,615 cc engine hitherto reserved for the Type 181. By the time Type 177 production ended in 1929, a further 18,202 had been built.
The Peugeot Type 176 was a top of the range car produced from 1925 to 1928 by the French auto manufacturer Peugeot. The car had a four-cylinder 2493 cc engine, which was a more modern design than earlier, and despite the low cylinder capacity, the car performed better than its predecessors. With this engine the car could be pushed to a maximum speed of 110 km/h (68 mph). The car is featured in the film Midnight in Paris. 1512 were made.
Dating from 1932 is this Peugeot Type 183 D Cabriolet. The type 183 was made between 1927 and 1932. Best known as the “12 Six” (for the 12 HP and six cylinder 1991cc engine) it was one of the first models to have great success with the Paris taxi drivers. A spacious car but not too large, its 6 cylinder engine made it smooth and pleasant to drive in the already congested streets of the capital. The rather elegant convertible version can take 3 passengers inside + 2 on the open seat at the rear. 12.631 examples were made.
The Peugeot Type 184 was a large car produced between 1928 and 1929 at their Issy-les-Moulineaux plant. It represented an attempt to widen the range further upmarket, being larger than the Peugeot Type 174 which had itself been significantly upgraded in 1926. Its opulence was nevertheless out of touch with the market place at the time and the model was taken out of production, without a direct replacement, after less than two years. The 184’s newly developed six-cylinder sleeve-valve 3,760 cc engine was positioned ahead of the driver and drove the rear wheels. A maximum power output of 80 hp (60 kW) at 3,000 rpm was claimed. The car featured a 3,600 mm (141.7 in) wheelbase, supporting an overall length of 5,200 mm (204.7 in). Available bodies included a large “limousine” saloon/sedan, a “torpedo”, with space for six people as well as a “coupé-cabriolet” designed to accommodate just two. The 184 was Peugeot’s last luxury car of this class: only 31 were produced.
When, in 1929, Peugeot got to the number 201 in their numbering scheme, they had a change of policy around how to name their cars and decided that henceforth they would use the number zero in the middle, and use the first digit to indicate relative size of the car. Replacement models would then follow the same pattern but ending in a 2 rather than a 1, and this is the formula that they use to this day.
The Peugeot 201 was presented at the 1929 Paris Motor Show with the backdrop of the Wall Street Crash. While many European manufacturers did not survive the ensuing depression, the 201’s image as an inexpensive car helped Peugeot to survive the economic crisis with its finances intact and its status as a major auto producer confirmed. During the 1930s Peugeot offered several variants of the 201, with increasing engine capacity. Initially, it was powered by a 1122 cc engine developing 23 hp at 3500 rpm (top speed: 80 km/h / 50 mph). This was followed by an engine of 1307 cc, and finally a 1465 cc unit of 35 hp. The Peugeot 201C, launched in 1931, is claimed to be the first mass-produced car equipped with independent front suspension, a concept rapidly adopted by the competition. The simpler beam front axle version remained available, but the independent suspension system reportedly improved road holding and reduced steering column vibration. There were a couple of examples here.
The 301 was a 1465cc four-cylinder family car produced between 1932 and 1936. The original 301 can be seen either as a belated replacement for the Type 177, which had not been on sale since 1928, or as a return by Peugeot to that market segment after having left it for four years. The 301C saloon produced in 1932 and 1933 featured a six-light four-door boxy body, with space at the back for a separate boot. Slightly longer-boded versions without the separate luggage box were also available. The 301 CR introduced to the Sochaux lines after the summer break of 1933 was less angular, and the word “aérodynamique” featured prominently in Peugeot’s publicity for the restyled car. Another, bolder change to the look of the saloon came with the introduction of the 301D in 1934. The 301D was no longer a six-light saloon, and it featured a longer sloping tail which suggested the streamlining of the Peugeot 402 and 302 which would appear during the following two years. A variety of four-door 301s constructed on the same 2,720 mm (107.1 in) chassis were produced, although a longer 2,940 mm (115.7 in) wheelbase was also available for use, among other applications, as a taxicab with a middle set of seats that could be folded away (“strapontins”). There were also various 2-door versions which could be bodied as coupés or cabriolets. A commercial version, the 301T, had a tall van body replacing the usual passenger cabin section directly behind the B pillar. It was replaced in 1936 by the Peugeot 302.
Siting above it in the range, was the 401 and there were a couple of these on show, a 401 D Limousine and 401 D Coupe Transformabile. It was introduced at the 1934 Paris Motor Show and was again on display at the 29th Paris Show in October 1935. It featured in a full page newspaper advertisement placed by Peugeot in “L’Argus” on 10 October 1935, and disappeared from the manufacturer’s price list only three months later, at the start of 1936, reflecting the need to dispose of an inventory backlog. Production of the 401 had already come to an end in August 1935, less than a year after the model’s introduction. The 401 was powered by an enlarged version of the engine from the smaller Peugeot 301 and slotted between that model and the range-topping 601. The 401’s four cylinder side-valve engine displaced 1,720 cc and produced 44 bhp at 3,500 rpm. Models of the 401 include the 401 D, 401 DL, and 401 DLT. Though the majority were made as sedans, the 401 was offered with no fewer than eleven different body styles. Peugeot conceived of an electric folding metal roof more than twenty years before Ford re-imagined the concept in their Skyliner. This system was called “Eclipse” and was first introduced on the 401. A total of 79 Peugeot 401 Eclipses were made. It later became available on the 301 and 601, also utilised on vehicles by Georges Paulin, Darl’mat, and the coachbuilder Pourtout. The all-steel bodied Peugeot 402, featuring a style regarded at the time as strikingly futuristic, was announced in October 1935, which coincided with significant price reductions for several of the previous generation of Peugeots, including the 401.
There were a couple of examples of the 601 here, a Roadster and a 601 D Coupe Transformabile. The Peugeot 601 was a range-topping car produced between 1934 and 1935. It had its formal launch on 5 May 1934 and marked a return by the manufacturer to six-cylinder engines. The car was equipped with an inline 6-cylinder 2148 cc engine developing 60 hp at 3500 rpm. With limited power and relatively high weight, the car came with a listed top speed of only 105 km/h (65 mph) or 110 km/h (68 mph). The actual top speed would have varied according to the body fitted; the weight, including the car body, was given in 1934 as between 1,180 kg (2,600 lb) and 1,250 kg (2,760 lb) (or 1,400 kg (3,100 lb) for some long wheelbase versions). A feature of the engine that attracted comment was the thermostatically controlled temperature regulator for the engine oil, which worked with an oil pump by redirecting the oil through, or away from, what was in effect a heat exchanger in a chamber filled with water from the radiator. Like other Peugeots of the era, the 601 was equipped with independent front suspension. The 601 was closely based on the manufacturer’s recently rebodied 201 and 301 models, but the longer six cylinder engine of the 601 required a longer wheelbase. As launched, the 601 came with two different wheelbases: 2,980 mm (117 in) for the 601 “Normale” and 3,200 mm (126 in) for the 601 “Longue”. There were three standard bodies offered for the “Normale” wheelbase cars: there was a four-door “Berline” (sedan/saloon) priced in Spring 1934 at 28,500 francs, a “Coach dėcapotable” with two doors, four seats and a cabriolet roof, priced at 34,000 francs of which only a handful were sold, and a two-seater “Roadster” which became a frequent prize winner at “concours d’ėlėgance” enthusiasts’ meetings. Four standard bodies were listed for the “Longue” wheelbase cars. The least costly, listed at 31,000 francs, was a six-light “limousine familiale” with four doors and a deep bench seat combined with large amounts of rear legroom. There was also a “Berline aėrodynamique” with four doors and a streamlined body with a steeply raked tail and an overall length above 5,000 mm (197 in), as well as a “Coach Sport” with two doors and four seats which exploited the longer wheelbase to support a low streamlined look. From the summer of 1934 there was another long two-door four-seater version listed, called the “Coach Profilė” There was in addition a special Eclipse body with electrical folding metal roof. The Eclipse was made by designer Georges Paulin, Emile Darl’mat and the coachbuilder Pourtout. This car gained renewed attention courtesy of the Peugeot publicity department in 1996 with the launch of the Mercedes-Benz SLK: the Mercedes featured a hinged steel roof that automatically folded into the boot/trunk at the press of a button which was briefly claimed as a world first, until Peugeot pointed out that the 601 Eclipse had used the same arrangement (albeit with more bulky mechanical components) sixty years earlier. The 601 received a minor facelift for the 1935 model year, announced during the summer of 1934, only months after the car’s launch: the most visible change was a lowering of the headlights. The sales figures of the 601 were affected by the underwhelming performance of the engine. Nevertheless, given the large number of manufacturers jostling for sales in the higher reaches of the French car market, a total of 3,999 Peugeot 601s produced during just eighteen months was a reasonable production volume for a 6-cylinder car. The 601 was taken out of production in 1935 after a production run lasting approximately eighteen months, leaving a gap at the higher end of Peugeot’s range, which would be filled only 40 years later with the arrival of the Peugeot 604.
The 02 series of cars – of which there were 3 – were characterised by their aerodynamic styling which took the futuristic Chrysler Airflow as their inspiration Largest of the family was the 402, which was first see at the Paris Motor Show in 1935, replacing the short-lived Peugeot 401. The 402 was characterised by what became during the 1930s a “typically Peugeot” front end, with headlights well set back behind the grille. The style of the body was reminiscent of the Chrysler Airflow, and received in France the soubriquet “Fuseau Sochaux” which loosely translates as “Sochaux spindle”. Streamlining was a feature of French car design in the 1930s, as can be seen by comparing the Citroën Traction Avant or some of the Bugatti models of the period with predecessor models: Peugeot was among the first volume manufacturers to apply streamlining to the extent exemplified by the 402 and smaller Peugeot 202 in a volume market vehicle range. Recessed ‘safety’ door handles also highlighted the car’s innovative aspirations, as did the advertised automatic transmission and diesel engine options. Comparisons with Citroën’s large family car of the time were and remain unavoidable. In that comparison, the two approaches were different: the Citroen was mechanically advanced but looked very like many of its contemporaries whereas the Peugeot looked futuristic but the basic underpinnings of the 402 remained conventional, based on known technologies, and presumably were relatively inexpensive to develop and manufacture. It was Citroën that in 1934 had been forced to sell its car manufacturing business to its largest creditor. The car was launched with a four-cylinder water-cooled engine of 1991 cc with poppet valves and a three speed manual gearbox driving the rear wheels. The option of a Cotal three-speed automatic was offered, but this was an elaborate system more commonly seen on upmarket models from the likes of Delahaye and Delage. Priced in 1937 as a 2,500 Franc option, it was too expensive to appeal to most 402 buyers. With its claimed 55 hp the standard bodied car could achieve a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) at 4,000 rpm.In 1938 the capacity was raised to 2142 cc with the introduction of the Peugeot 402B, stated output now being 60 hp.Given the wide range of body lengths and styles offered, there was and is correspondingly wide range of different performance figures quoted for the standard-engined 402. Other engine versions existed, with a claimed output of 70 bhp for a Darl’mat bodied performance coupe version. Peugeot had been making diesel engines in the north, at their Lille engine plant, since 1928, for use in boats, railcars and agricultural tractors. By 1936 the manufacturer had readied their HL50 series diesel engine for installation in light commercial vehicles. French regulations at the time did not permit the fitting of diesel engines in road vehicles except for trucks and commercial vehicles, and even for their relatively cautious approach to diesel power for the 402 it was necessary for Peugeot to obtain a special dispensation from the authorities. By the final weeks of 1938 several prototype 402s had been fitted with the HL50 diesel unit already being used for light trucks. During the early months of 1939 several dozen long bodied 402 “conduite interieure” saloons were fitted with diesel engines and sold into the taxi trade. The HL50 engine used was a 2,300 cc unit with a claimed power output of 55 hp. Had the diesel powered version entered production the 402 would have been one of the very first diesel saloons available commercially. Fuel economy quoted for the 2.3 litre diesel unit was approximately 33% better than that for the 2.1 litre petrol powered 402. By the time war broke out, approximately 12, and possibly several dozen, diesel powered Peugeot 402s were in existence, but only one diesel powered 402 chassis still survived by the time the war came to an end. The development work was not wasted, however, and in 1959 Peugeot would launch one of the world’s earlier diesel powered saloons, albeit beaten to the market by Mercedes Benz. Sticking to a traditional separate chassis configuration also made it much easier for Peugeot’s 402 to be offered with a wide range of different bodies. Even by 1930s standards, the range of different 402 models based on the single chassis was large, comprising at one stage, by one estimate, sixteen different body types, from expensive steel bodied convertible cars, to family saloons which were among the most spacious produced in France. An aspect of the all-steel car bodies that became mainstream among the larger European automakers in the 1930s was the very high initial cost associated with the heavy steel presses and the dies needed to cut and stamp pressed steel sheeting into the panels that, when welded together, would form a sufficiently rigid and robust car body. The wide range of car bodies was therefore carefully devised to maximise the sharing of panels between the different body variants listed. There were three different standard wheelbases of 113 in (short), 124 in (“normal”) and 130 in (long). At launch, there were just two chassis lengths, but for 1937 the manufacturer added a third “short” chassis, inherited from the short-lived Peugeot 302. The short chassis was used from 1937 for the Peugeot 402 Légère, a model which was first exhibited in July 1937 and which featured on the Peugeot stand in place of the Peugeot 302 at that year’s October Motor Show. The car combined the 113 in wheelbase and body from the Peugeot 302 with the larger 1991 cc engine of the Peugeot 402. Whereas the 302 had produced a maximum output of 43 hp at 4,000 rpm, maximum power for the 402 Légère was listed as 55 hp still at 4,000 rpm. That translated into a difference in listed top speed between 105 km/h (65 mph) and 125 km/h (78 mph). The simple formula of combining one existing bodyshell with another engine that was also already in production enabled the manufacturer to produce an attractively brisk car with minimum investment. Approximately 11,000 were produced. From the outside the 402 Légère was initially virtually indistinguishable from the 302. However, on the front grille, whereas on the 302 the hole for the starting handle corresponded with the central digit in the car’s name spelled out on bottom part of the front grille, on the 402 Légère it was necessary to position the hole for the starting handle below the “402” name badge because the engine itself was positioned very slightly higher. An improvement over the 302 available to the driver, albeit only at extra cost, was the option of a Cotal pre-selector transmission, which could be controlled using a selector lever positioned directly behind the steering wheel, so that the driver needed to move his/her hand only minimally in order to change gear. Although sources tend to refer to the 402 Légère as a single model, there was nevertheless a choice of at least three bodies. Priced at 24,900 Francs in October 1937 was the four door “402 Légère berline” using the body already familiar from the 302. Not ready for presentation at the 1937 show, but nevertheless already priced (at 30,900 Francs) and advertised was the 402 Légère “coach”, which was a stylish thinner looking 2-door four seater car shaped somewhere between a sedan/saloon and coupe, with “glass on glass” side windows (allowing for the possibility, with the windows open, of a “pillarless” side profile) and front seats that tilted to permit access to the adequately spacious rear of the passenger cabin. Represented at the motor show by a prototype which differed in certain details from the cars that actually appeared a few months later was the 402 Légère “décapotable” priced at 31,900 Francs. Both the “coach” and the “décapotable” bodied cars featured a slightly more streamlined look than the “berline”, and their stylishness was enhanced by “spats” covering the upper portions of the rear wheels. The standard bodied berline, first presented at the Paris Motor Show in the late Autumn of 1935 sat on the “normal” 124 in chassis and was advertised as a six-seater, the passengers being accommodated in two rows on bench seats in what was, by the standards of the time and place, an unusually wide car. The four door “berline” came as a “6 glaces” (“six-light” or three windows on each side) saloon In 1936 the price list showed the saloon as the least expensive of the “normal” wheelbase 402s, priced from 23,900 francs. Closely resembling the 402 berline “6 glaces”, at first sight, was the 402 “normale commerciale” also offering seating for six people accommodated in two rows. However, at the back, in place of the more usual panels, the “commerciale” featured a two piece tailgate. The rear of the cabin was described as being “transformable pour transport de marchandises” (transformable for transport of goods) which presumably would have involved lifting out the rear seat. Later on there were also 402 commerciales exhibited with semi-squared off rear roof lines along the lines of a steel bodied station wagon/estate car conversion, but most of the 402 commerciales shared, from the side, the silhouette of the 402 saloon, presumably in order to avoid the cost of tooling up for volume-style production of a relatively small number of uniquely shaped body panels. Other models appearing on the “normal” wheelbase at the 1936 show included a Grand-luxe berline with a sliding steel sun roof, a 4/5 seater 2-door soft-top cabriolet priced in October 1936 at 30,900 francs, a 5/6 seater “coach” (elegant two door saloon) priced at 29,900 francs, a 2/3 seater roadster at 27,900 francs and a “coupé transformable Éclipse” which was a steel roofed convertible priced at 34,900 francs. One of the cars here was a Berline.
The Éclipse was significant as the first of many Peugeot coupes with a steel roof that would fold and stow in the boot. The retractable hardtop mechanism had been designed, and in 1931 patented, by Georges Paulin: the mechanism was bulky by more recent standards and necessitated a very long tail end. Despite the generous length of the 124 in wheelbase, this first application of the technology came with just two seats. Interest in the Éclipse resurfaced more than half a century later with the “reinvention” of the retractable hardtop by the 1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder and subsequent popularisation of the concept by cars such as the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class. Several of the body types were priced (and presumably costed) to be produced in relatively low volumes, and despite appearing at the Motor Show in October 1936, three had been delisted by the start of 1937. The delisted variants were the 5/6 seater “coach”, the 4/5 2-door soft-top cabriolet and the steel roofed “Coupé transformable Éclipse”, although the third of these had already been effectively replaced in 1936 by a similar, but even longer, steel roofed convertible Éclipse, now with seating for 4/5 people and using the longest of the 402’s three chassis lengths The principal “long” Peugeot 402 in 1935 was the “402 Familiale”, closely resembling the “normal” length six light “berline, but with extra length used in the rear of the cabin to accommodate a third row of seats (“strapontins escamotables”) which could be folded away when not in use. By the time of the 1937 Motor show, in time for the 1938 model year, the 402 commerciale had also migrated from the “normal” to the “long wheelbase”. In addition, the manufacturer advertised a special taxi version of the long wheel base car, closely resembling the familiale and of which, it was boasted in 1937, several thousand were already in service “in Paris and the [other] principal towns and cities in France or the colonies”. Peugeot were slightly unusual among principal auto-makers at this time in never having acquired a Paris taxi business themselves, but the 402 taxi had nevertheless evidently been well received by independent taxi operators. Much attention at the 1936 show also focused on the “402 cabriolet metallique decouvrable” which was a reincarnation of the Éclipse, but now using the 130 in “long” wheel base which made enough space for a (rather cramped) second bench seat. Light commercial van and utility variants of the 402 were also produced (or derived from conversion), and during the car’s final years, during World War II, assumed increasing prominence within the range. France declared war on Germany in 1939 and after this date cabriolet and convertible versions of the 402 disappeared from the price lists. The April 1940 price list shows only the standard bodied and long wheelbase saloons. Peugeot only became a regular supplier to the army in 1938, but during 1939 and 1940 several thousand 202s and 402s were operating with the armed services, the long wheel base 402 being a particular military favourite. Approximately 75,000 402s were produced during the seven or more years of production.
The speed of the French defeat in June 1940 may have come as a shock, but the advent of another war with Germany and of resulting restrictions on civilian fuel availability had been widely foreseen. In 1939 Peugeot were already investigating the adaptation of petrol/gasoline engines to run on gas created by the controlled burning of charcoal. The technology would prove particularly suitable for the long bodied Peugeot 402 and for the Peugeot DMA light truck. On the car it was possible to fit the necessary components without excessive modification of the bodywork. A charcoal burning boiler, able to accommodate 35 kg of charcoal, was mounted on a stout platform at the back of the car. This provided sufficient power for approximately 80 km (50 miles) before more charcoal needed to be taken on board. The controlled burning of the charcoal produced carbon monoxide, known as gazogène, which was captured and transferred in a stout pipe mounted on the outside of the right-hand C-pillar to a roof mounted gas tank. From here another stout pipe mounted on the outside of the right hand A-pillar drew the gazogène down to the engine. Between 1940 and 1944 more than 2,500 Peugeots were equipped with a gazogène fuel system and this is 402 with the system.
Next up was a 1938 402 Darl’Mat. Emile Darl’mat (1892–1970) was the creator and owner of a Peugeot distributor with a car body business established at the rue de l’Université in Paris, France in 1923. In the 1930s the firm gained prominence as a low volume manufacturer of Peugeot-based sports cars. Business was interrupted by war, but at least one prototype was kept hidden throughout the period and directly after the war Darl’mat returned to the construction of special bodied Peugeots, although in the impoverished condition of post-war France business never returned to the volumes achieved during the 1930s. The first cars were built at Darl’mat’s workshops in Paris; however, during the 1930s the special bodied Peugeot-based coupés and cabriolets became increasingly integrated into the Peugeot range. During the second half of the decade, starting in 1936, Darl’mat’s Peugeot-based coupes and cabriolets were built at the Peugeot plant in Sochaux. The best remembered of the Darl’mats is a sports car based on the Peugeot 302: the engine was taken from the 402. Several Peugeot-Darl’mat 402 “spécial sport” models raced at Le Mans with success in 1937 and 1938. The cars were built in very limited numbers and three models – a roadster, a coupe, and a drop-head coupe – were offered.
Final car in the 02 series was the 202. Production started in January 1938, and the car was formally launched on 2 March 1938 with a dinner and presentation for the specialist press in the fashionable Bois de Boulogne district of Paris. The previous autumn, at the 1937 Paris Motor Show, Peugeot had staged a massive “referendum” among visitors to the show stand to find out what customers expected from the new small car then under development. It is not clear whether there would still have been time to incorporate any of the suggestions of the public in the car as launched, but the participative nature of the exercise certainly generated positive pre-launch publicity for the 202. The steel bodied 202 was instantly recognisable as a Peugeot from the way that the headlights were set, as on the older 302, close together, in a protected location behind the front grille. Most customers chose the four-door berline version which by 1948 came with a steel-panel sliding sun roof included in the price. However the boot/trunk was small and could be accessed only from within the car, there being no outside boot lid. The two-seater two-door cabriolet “décapotable” did have a separate boot lid but cost approximately 30% more than the berline. Priced very closely to the berline was a structurally similar four-door four-seater “berline découvrable”, which featured a full fold away hood: this type of body would become difficult to provide using the monocoque body structure then becoming mainstream and which would be a feature of the Peugeot 203. Both the Peugeot 202 and the Peugeot 203 had frontal suicide doors. Between 1947 and 1949 the manufacturer produced 3,015 timber bodied “hatch” (hatchback) conversions: this model cost 55% more than the berline, and anticipated future Peugeot policy by using a slightly longer chassis than that used on other 202 versions. The extensive use of timber took the company back to a technology that it had abandoned in 1931 when production of the Type 190 ended, and according to the manufacturer was above all a response to shortage of sheet steel in post-war France. There were only two models offered in France in this class offering so wide a range of body types; the other was the still popular but soon to be replaced Simca 8. The 202 was powered by a 1133 cc water-cooled engine giving a maximum of 30 PS at 4000 rpm and a top speed of approximately 100 km/h (62 mph). Fuel-feed came via overhead valves, at a time when the most obvious competitor, the recently introduced Renault Juvaquatre, was still powered by a side-valve power unit. Power was transferred to the rear wheels by means of a three-speed manual transmission featuring synchromesh on the top two ratios. Back in 1931 the 202’s predecessor, the Peugeot 201, had been the first mass market volume model to feature independent front suspension. Independent front suspension, widely held to improve both the road holding and the ride of the car, was again incorporated on the new 202, meaning that this was a feature across the entire Peugeot range: the same claim could not be made for the range on offer from rival Renault. As on the contemporary Citroën Traction, relatively elaborate “Pilote” style wheels, featuring alternating holes and structural metal support sections round the outside of the inner hub, were replaced by simpler (and cheaper to produce) pressed disc wheels when, following a heroic reconstruction effort at the Sochaux plant, production could be resumed in 1946 following the war. Small improvements continued to be implemented almost until the point where production ended. Hydraulic brakes were a new feature for 1946. Shortly after this the dashboard was redesigned to incorporate a (very small) glove box. For 1948 the wheels were embellished with chrome plated hub caps and the car received redesigned hydraulic shock absorbers (which turned out to be of the design recently finalised for the forthcoming new 203 model). A final fling, exhibited in October 1948 was the Peugeot 202 “Affaires”, a reduced specification version, with the heater removed and thinner tires fitted. The 202 Affaires also lost the sliding-steel-panel sunroof which by now had become a standard fitting on the regular 202 Berline. The list price was 320,000 Francs which represented a saving of more than 6% on the list price for the standard car. The bargain basement marketing may have helped clear accumulated component inventory, but the cabriolet version was nevertheless delisted shortly after the October 1948 Motor Show closed: by now commentators and potential customers were focused on the Peugeot 203, formally launched in 1948, by which time it had already been the subject of extensive pre-launch promotion and publicity by Peugeot for more than a year.
The Peugeot VLV was an electric microcar made by Peugeot in 1942. VLV stood for Voiture Légère de Ville (Light City Car). The car’s announcement, on 1 May 1941, triggered some surprise, since Peugeot was the only one of France’s large automakers to show interest in electric propulsion at this time. It was powered by four 12V batteries placed under the hood giving it a claimed top speed of 36 km/h (22 mph) and a range of 50 miles (80 km). The VLV was built during the war as a way to side-step fuel restrictions imposed on non-military users by the occupying German forces. Yet, it was banned after only 377 examples were built.
The Peugeot 203 was the first new design that Peugeot produced after WW2, and the first of the 03 Series models. The car was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show in 1947, but by then had already been under development for more than five years. Volume manufacturing was initially hampered by strikes and shortages of materials, but production got under way late in 1948, with buyers taking delivery of 203s from early 1949. During its twelve-year production run nearly 700,000 203s of all variants rolled off the assembly line in Sochaux, France. Between the demise of the 202 in 1949 and the launch of the 403 in 1955, the 203 was the only model produced by Peugeot. The majority of the 203s were saloon bodied, but Estate, Coupe and Cabrio versions were offered as well.
The Peugeot 403, introduced in 1955, approximately thirteen years after the demise of the 402, can be seen as the older car’s natural heir. Immediately after World War II the market demanded smaller cars, and Peugeot acknowledged this by concentrating during the late 1940s and early 1950s on their 202 and 203 models. The 403 made its debut in saloon body style on 20 April 1955 at the Trocadéro Palace in Paris. For several months before it was launched numerous 403s, their badges removed, were circulating on the local roads near the manufacturer’s PSA Sochaux factory, becoming so familiar that the locals no longer noticed them, but still attracting from Paris motoring journalists and photographers to a town that usually was of little interest to the national media. Styled by Pininfarina, the 403 featured ponton, three-box styling incorporating, except on the most basic models, an opening roof panel. The collaboration with Pininfarina marked the start of a partnership which would see the Italian designer producing designs for Peugeot, including those many mainstream volume models, for more than fifty years. Regarding the 403 itself there were persistent rumours that the design was one originally intended for a replacement Fiat 1900 which had been rejected when Turin had decided to defer replacement of the Fiat for another four years. Unusual in Europe at the time, but appreciated by customers, was the way that the rear doors opened wide – to a full 90 degrees. Also unusual were the windows in the rear doors that opened fully into the door frame to the point where they disappeared, despite the intrusion into the door frame of a wheel arch which must have made the fit of the window when opened very marginal. The 403 came with an enlarged version of the Peugeot 203’s 1290 cc petrol engine. Displacing 1468 cc, the straight-four unit employed pushrod-actuated valves and hemispherical combustion chambers and a crossflow cylinder head to produce 65 hp at about 5,000 rpm and 75 lb·ft of torque at 2,500 rpm. An unusual feature at the time was the thermostatically controlled engine fan which cut out when the engine temperature fell to 75°C and re-engaged when the engine temperature increased to 84°C. Claimed advantages included an improvement in fuel consumption of between 5% and 10% according to average speed and the avoidance, under many conditions, of fan noise. Another little noticed but ingenious feature involved a small hot water based heating device for the carburettor linked to the heater for the passenger cabin in such a manner that it operated only when the driver turned on the heater and not when the ambient temperature was high enough for the heater to be left off. The TN3 engine size gave the car a “tax horsepower” of 8 CV (8 hp), which placed it a class below the soon-to-be-replaced 11 CV Citroën Traction, but at least one class above the small cars produced by the principal competitor manufacturers. The 403 came with a manual 4-speed all-synchromesh transmission driving the rear wheels. The gear change lever stuck out from the right side of the steering column. For the Paris Motor Show in October 1957 the manufacture offered, at extra cost, an electro-magnetic Jaeger automatic clutch, activated when changing gear, but this was too costly to find many buyers. The wheelbase was lengthened by 10 inches to create the five door Peugeot 403 “Familiale” and “Commerciale” estate versions. The Familiale provided a third row of seats and was described as a 7/8 seater while the Commerciale offered a more conventional seat configuration for an estate car. The lengthened 403 estate had a solid rear axle fitted to an aluminium differential case. It came with a manual column change gearbox and, in its “Familiale” guise, fully reclinable front seats. Sunroof and steel belted radial tyres were standard. A diesel powered Peugeot 403 estate was introduced in the Autumn of 1958, the first of a long line, followed by a diesel saloon a year later. Although the car was subject to various improvements during the production run, these were mostly very minor in nature. Improvements for 1959 included moving the nozzles for the windscreen washer from the strip of metal between the base of the windscreen and the bonnet/hood a short distance to the rear edge of the bonnet/hood itself, thus presumably improving the angles at which the washer water hit the screen. This was also the year that the semi-circular ring inside the lower half of the diameter of the steering wheel used to operate the horn was replaced by a full circular horn-ring, so that drivers accustomed to holding the upper half of the steering wheel did not need to loosen their grip in order to sound the horn. Upon the 203’s discontinuation in 1960, a 47 hp version of its 1290 cc powerplant became available as an option on a reduced specification version of the 403, branded initially as the “403 Sept” (“7”) and soon afterwards as the “403 Berline Luxe”. Car tax in France was based on engine size, and the smaller engined 403 fell within the 7CV taxation class rather than the 8CV of the bigger version. . A two-door cabriolet version of the car was also offered, with a luxurious interior featuring high quality leather upholstery. In 1958 the 403 cabriolet cost 80% more than the entry level “berline grand luxe” 403 sedan, and presumably for this reason the convertible 403 was produced and sold only in very modest numbers. In the spring of 1961 production of the 403 cabriolet came to an end, in anticipation of the launch later that year of the manufacturer’s 404. On display here was a regular 403 Berline, the very commodious Break (estate), and the Cabriolet.
The replacement for the 403 was the 404 Berline, which was built from 1960 to 1975, though the commercial pick-up versions continued until 1988, and under licence, it was manufactured in various African countries until 1991. Styled by Pininfarina, the 404 was offered initially as a saloon, estate, and pickup. A convertible was added in 1962, and a coupé in 1963. The 404 was fitted with a 1.6 litre petrol engine, with either a Solex carburetor or Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection or a 1.9 litre diesel engine available as options. Introduced at the Paris Motor Show as an option was the inclusion of a 3-speed ZF automatic transmission, similar to the unit already offered on certain BMW models, as an alternative to the standard column-mounted manual unit. Popular as a taxicab, the 404 enjoyed a reputation for durability and value. Peugeot’s French production run of 1,847,568 404s ended in 1975. A total of 2,885,374 units had been produced worldwide at the end of production. All bodystyles were in evidence here, and there was a nice 404 Berline that I had spotted out in the car park on arrival.
Next model in the 04 Series was the 204. France’s best seller for a part of its 11 year production life, the 204 was produced between 1965 and 1976. It was launched in Paris on 23 April 1965 and was Peugeot’s first venture into the world of front wheel drive. The car came with a single overhead cam aluminium alloy transversely-mounted 1130 cc petrol engine (the maximum allowed for the 6CV ‘car tax’ class in France at the time), a format which would become the sine qua non of small cars over the next few years, but which was relatively unusual in the mid 60s. The gearbox and differential were located directly below the engine block, and the 204 was also the first Peugeot to be equipped with disc brakes, albeit only on the front wheels. It was praised for its excellent handling, decent performance and good fuel economy. The compact engine and the transverse engine combined with a body wider than the class average to provide a level of interior space comparable to larger cars such as Peugeot’s own 404: both cars were Pininfarina designs. The 204 featured neither the fins of the 404 nor the sharp corners characteristic of the other major French launch of 1965. The resulting less aggressive look has been seen as a ‘more European’ moving away from a tendency to follow US styling trends that had been apparent in new car launches during the preceding two decades. The Peugeot 204’s frontal styling owed much to the 1961 Cadillac Jacqueline by Pininfarina, whilst its rear and that of the prototype Pininfarina styled Mini-based MG ADO 34 of 1964 are strikingly similar. The rear end of the 1970 Lancia Flavia Pininfarina Coupe of 1969–74 also displays the same influence. The options list was not extensive but, as with the larger Peugeot sedans, it was possible to specify a sliding steel panel sunroof. At launch only the four-door saloon version was offered, but the five-door ‘break’ estate came along less than six months later in the Autumn of 1965. 1966 saw the arrival of a two-door cabriolet and a three-door hatchback, marketed as a coupé. Both employed a shortened chassis and were priced only 20% above the level of the (admittedly not particularly aggressively priced) saloon. The range was completed in 1966 with the arrival of the ‘fourgonette’ van version which in most respects followed the design of the estate, but with only one door on each side and a steel panel in place of the side windows behind the B pillar. Towards the end of 1968, a 1255 cc diesel engine option became available for the 204 Estate and Fourgonette (van) versions. At the time, this is thought to have been the smallest diesel engine fitted in a commercially available car anywhere in the world. In April 1973 the diesel unit was increased in size to 1357 cc, and in September 1975 this diesel unit finally became an option on the 204 saloon. Fuel economy on the 204 Diesel was startlingly good, with overall fuel consumption at 5.7 litres per 100 km, but performance was correspondingly underwhelming with a claimed top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph). Out of the approximately 150,000 diesel 204s produced, fewer than 30,000 were saloons. When the Peugeot 204 was launched in 1965, obvious domestic market competitors were the Renault 10 and the Simca 1300. Both were rear-wheel-drive, and the Renault was rear-engined. Of the traditionally more avant garde competitors, Citroën produced, till 1970, only cars that were substantially smaller or substantially larger while Panhard, starved of product investment, had retreated into a low volume niche, offering a model which would soon be withdrawn in order to free up production capacity for small Citroën vans. For Peugeot, a traditional manufacturer of conventional bourgeois sedans, to launch a transverse-engined front-wheel-drive saloon, was startling: no secret was made of the extent to which the 204 had been inspired by British developments from BMC. The Peugeot was the same length as the Renault 10 and over 20 cm shorter than the Simca 1300, but its configuration conferred a clear space advantage, as subsequent model introductions from Simca in 1967 and Renault in 1970 appeared to acknowledge. Sales of the 204 got off to a cautious start, with no need to compete solely on price: the car was heavily trailed by press leaks so that by the time of its formal announcement over 5,000 had already been ordered unseen. By 1969 the 204 had nonetheless climbed to the top of the French sales charts and, together with the newly introduced 204 based 304, redefined the domestic market for small sedans in the process. The sales success of the 204 also moved Peugeot from fourth to second place in the French sales charts, overtaking Simca and Citroen in the process. In this case market share seems to have been increased without excessively compromising corporate profitability: the commercial rivals would each suffer a financial collapse, the businesses both coming under the control of Peugeot, within the next ten years. In the 1960s Europe was still for most purposes divided into national markets and 72% of the 204s produced were sold in France. Principal export markets within Europe were West Germany and Benelux. However, most western European markets took some 204s. In Africa the 204 never achieved the popularity of its larger siblings. Nevertheless, the 204 was not entirely unknown outside Europe. In the UK, the car was expensive. Launch cars listed at £903 when you could buy a much more plush Triumph 1300 for £835, so whilst the car was praised by the press for its dynamic attributes, its meagre levels of equipment were also an impediment to sales. 1969 had seen the launch of the Peugeot 304 which was essentially a 204 with a slightly larger engine, a restyled front end and, in the case of the saloon version, a substantially increased rear overhang giving rise to more luggage space. The 204 range was correspondingly pruned: the 204 coupé and cabriolet received the dashboard of the new 304 in 1969 only to be withdrawn in 1970, replaced by similarly bodied 304 equivalents. The estate and fourgonette continued to be offered, along with the saloon, until the 204 range was withdrawn in 1976. Although the model run lasted more than a decade, the Peugeot 204 changed very little during that time: very early saloons/berlines had a split rear bumper with numberplate set between the two halves, a flat rear panel and small oval tail lights. For 1975, the stainless steel front grill was replaced by a black plastic grill of the same overall shape. The gearshift for RHD UK cars was moved from the steering column to the floor and then in September 1975, less than a year before production ceased, it received a more modern petrol engine, now of 1127 cc. Claimed maximum output, which at launch had been 53 bhp, increased to 59 bhp, though there was a marginal reduction in maximum torque. Following the demise of the 204 the new 1127 cc engine found its way into a version of the Peugeot 304 estate: the smaller engine enjoyed in France tax benefits when compared to the 1290 cc engines fitted to most 304s. In 1976, when the 204 was withdrawn, it had been joined in the Peugeot range by the ‘supermini’ class Peugeot 104. Like the 203 before it, the 204 had no immediate replacement. Ultimately the hatchback Peugeot 205 introduced late in 1982 occupied a market position comparable to that occupied till 1976 by the 204. In the meantime the Peugeot 304 soldiered on until 1980, complemented since late 1977 by its 305 replacement. Once the 304 was being produced in tandem with its successor it could be priced more aggressively, so that customers who till 1976 would have chosen a 204 were able to afford what was virtually the same car with a larger engine and a larger boot. On display here was just an example of the 204 Cabriolet.
The 404 was replaced by the 504 in Peugeot’s range, though the two continued in parallel for some time, since the 504 was larger and more costly. Just as with the 404, a number of body styles, all penned by Pininfarina were added to the range. The Coupe, as seen here, came at the 1969 Geneva Show, six months after the launch of the Saloon. Mechanically it was the same as the saloon, but it looked very different. Later it would gain the Douvrin V6 engine which gave it more refinement, if not that much more performance. The car was never sold in the UK, though a few have found their way to the country, but in Europe it proved popular despite its ambitious price tag. Seen here were Berline, Cabriolet and Coupe models.
The 304 was introduced to the public at the Paris Motor Show in September 1969. Peugeot, which had always been a financially prudent company, saw a gap in the mid-size car market in France, Italy and the rest of Western Europe. By using the smaller 204’s midsection, development costs were minimized resulting in a higher profit margin because of the higher pricing structure in the larger, better equipped market. The 304’s main competitors on its home market came from Renault and Simca, with Citroen noticeably absent from this sector at the launch. The 304 was a success for Peugeot and was noted for several advanced features under its Pininfarina styled exterior. With its independent suspended front-wheel-drive drivetrain and disc brakes, it rode and handled better than most of its contemporaries, including some cars in higher price brackets. The chassis served Peugeot well and lasted for approximately 24 years adapted to derivative models. There was a distinct upmarket feel to the 304, its handsome lines were well suited to postwar Europe’s newly affluent middle classes who desired roomy, advanced and stylish cars to park in their driveways. At about this time the Autoroutes were opening up France and car manufacturers around Europe knew that any car launched hence, would need to add an ability to travel at high speeds, in relative comfort with sure-footed handling to its lineup in order to compete. The 304 fulfilled this brief and became one of the best-selling cars in its market segment., with 1, 178.423 produced. Coupe and Convertible models were part of the range, but these constituted a relatively small percentage of total sales. The saloon model was deleted in the summer of 1979, but the estate remained until spring 1980, both cars replaced by the Peugeot 305.
On its launch in 1972, the Peugeot 104 was offered as a compact four-door saloon. Although it had a short, sloping rear end that suggested a hatchback, there was originally a separate boot, as on a conventional saloon. Power was provided from a 954 cc Douvrin engine called the PSA X engine, an all-aluminium alloy, chain driven overhead cam, with gearbox in the sump, sharing engine oil, which was jointly developed with Renault. This transmission-in-sump arrangement was similar to that pioneered by the Mini. It gave good levels of economy and refinement as well as having an impressive chassis which made ride and handling excellent. The engine was mounted leaning backwards, at a 72 degree angle. A three-door coupé was launched on a shortened chassis, with the same 954 cc engine as the saloon. Headlights were larger and rectangular in shape, rather than square. Originally sold as the “104 Coupé”, shorter wheelbase models later received names beginning with a “Z” (e.g. ZL, ZA, ZS2). Equipment levels which begin with a “G” or an “S” were used for the longer four/five-door variants. A facelift in July 1976 saw the four-door saloon replaced with a five-door hatchback. Peugeot had been afraid that a five-door 104 would steal sales from the old-fashioned 204 Break, but with production of the 204 coming to an end in July 1976 this was no longer a concern. Rear light clusters were modified slightly with indicators that wrapped around to the sides of the car, and a 1.1-litre engine was also made available. The coupé was made available in two versions, the ZL and also the more powerful ZS with 66 PS. A modified camshaft on the 954 cc engines also retarded the valve timing in order to favour fuel economy at the price of a slight power reduction. The revised models only appeared in right-hand drive form at the end of the year. 1977 proved to be the most successful year for the 104, with 190,000 being built. For the 1978 facelift, the coupé gained a third (cheaper) commercial variant with only two seats, the ZA, and all coupé variants were given larger rear light clusters with integral reversing lights. Higher specification five-door models gained the larger headlights and grille introduced for the coupé. The more powerful engine from the ZS was briefly available in the five-door hatchback “Sundgau” special edition, of which 1,200 examples were built in March and April 1978. For 1979 the ZL Coupé was upgraded to a 57 PS version of the 1,124 cc engine. The 1980 facelift was minor, with model designations changing in line with other vehicles in the Peugeot line-up. However, a 1.2-litre engine was now also offered (in the SR), with the same power as the lesser 1.1 The 1982 facelift incorporated smaller headlights, a new grille and rear light clusters that included reversing lights. The amount of chrome trim was reduced and generally replaced by black plastic. At the end of summer, the ZS coupé variant was given an 80 PS (79 hp) 1,360 cc engine to improve its performance. The existing 72 PS version remained on sale at a lower price until the 1984 model year was introduced. The power gain was achieved by using two carburettors rather than one double-barrel unit. In 1983, the number of models offered was reduced to make way for the new 205 and exports to most foreign markets gradually came to an end. It remained on sale in France until the end of production in 1988. The sporting ZS remained on sale until late 1985; for the 1986 model year only the 50 PS 1,124 cc engine remained. There was a minor facelift in 1987, introducing a new grille with three body-coloured horizontal bars and anthracite bumpers – now without a chrome band. The Z, Style Z, and five-door GLS continued to be available with this engine in the home market until 1988.
Designed by Pininfarina, the 604 was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1975, and it immediately drew praise for its formal, handsome styling. Sales began in September 1975. The car was based on the established 504 model, using its bulkhead, doors, and part of the floorpan, but under the bonnet was the new 144 PS 2.7-litre V6 Douvrin PRV engine, developed in conjunction with Renault and Volvo, It was Peugeot’s first entry into the large luxury saloon market for 40 years, the last having been the short-lived Peugeot 601 of 1934. France’s car manufacturers had had not much success internationally in the executive segment since then, but it was felt that building a car that was bigger and more costly than the 504 was viable owing to the increased affluence of the French market which Peugeot felt could accommodate a car more expensive than the 504. Price at launch was in the UK was sold ₤4,785, which compared to ₤4,399 for a BMW 520, ₤4,361 for a Citroën CX Pallas, and ₤3,485 for a Ford Granada 3000 GL. The 604 was introduced during the recession caused by the 1973 energy crisis, which created a marketplace that was even more unfriendly to large-engined cars in France, but even so over 36,000 cars were built in the first full year of production, and the car was praised for its many strengths which included a well damped and supple ride, equal to a contemporary Jaguar XJ6, its “good handling”, its spacious passenger compartment and highly rated steering described as “a model of its kind”, “highly accurate” and “one of the finest yet produced”. The 604 had unusually wide opening doors which made entry and egress very easy for users. This was especially appropriate for the car in its role as a limousine. Originally available in a single specification, as the 604 SL, there was a choice of a four speed manual or a three speed automatic gearbox and a small list of optional equipment items. The 604 was launched in the US in 1977, with twin rectangular headlights and larger bumpers, but few were sold and the car did not last long in that market, fading away by about 1980, though the car was available for some time after that. In September 1978, the somewhat quicker 604 TI model with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and a five-speed manual transmission was added to the range. The initial sales momentum was not maintained, though, and with he launch of the similarly sized but cheaper Peugeot 505 in 1979 along with another oil crisis, sales of the V6-engined 604 halved. Peugeot did launch some detuned economy versions of the 604, but they did not do much to increase the car’s overall sales. Most surprisingly, an 80hp four cylinder turbodiesel version, with four or five speed manual or three speed automatic transmission had been introduced at the 1978 Geneva Motor Show, alongside the expected 305 D. The 604 D Turbo was the the first production turbodiesel car to be sold in Europe, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SD having been marketed in North America since 1977. The model used the 80 PS 2,304 cc Indénor Diesel engine familiar from the popular 504 GLD, but with a turbo fitted. This was a reliable engine, overshadowed by one major problem. Like many diesel engines of the time they were hard to start in the cold weather, the 604 was one of the worst with this problem, it was a very difficult car to start and some owners ensured it was parked on a hill to get around this. However, some minor tweaks to the glow plugs and compression made the car easier to start. Peugeot initially tried to convince buyers of the upper-middle class that the 604 had “the engineering of the Mercedes-Benz 280E, the handling of the BMW 5 Series and the elegance of the Jaguar XJ6” but this assertion did not convince enough buyers of this proposition. By 1981, only 7,000 examples were produced during the year which was when the 604 STi, with Michelin TRX tyres and alloy wheels, was introduced. From January 1981, the automatic gearboxes used in the 604 were no longer sourced from General Motors’ factory in Alsace, but rather from ZF in Germany. The existing diesel model was replaced with two different specifications, GRDT and SRDT. Total body immersion anti-corrosion treatment was also introduced across the entire range. The diesel engine was enlarged in 1983 to a 2.5 litre unit which generated an additional 10 PS, giving it much improved performance. In 1984, the 604 GTi with a 2.8-litre engine was introduced, replacing the 2.7-litre STi and a new GTDT diesel model was introduced. Production continued until 1985, when a mere 581 examples were produced, with sales continuing into 1986. Peugeot’s next major executive car, the 605, was not launched until 1989 although a V6-engined 505 served as an interim flagship model.. Despite critical acclaim early on, the 604 was a commercial failure. Over a 10 year life, the production of 153,252 units was half that of the V8 engine Rover 3500 and an eighth of its stablemate, the CX. Peugeot made a profit on each car made, primarily because of the shared tooling and engineering with the 504, but the car ceased production without an immediate successor.
First of the 05 generation was the 305 of 1977, but none of this once popular car were on display this time. That means that the oldest 05 was from the next range that ended 05, the 505, with the rarely seen Turbo model the car on display.The 505 had a long production life, as it was built from 1979 to 1992 in Sochaux, as well as being manufactured in various other countries including Argentina (by Sevel from 1981 to 1995), China, Indonesia and Nigeria. 1,351,254 505s were produced between 1978 and 1999 with 1,116,868 of these being saloons, but there are very few of them left in the UK, or even Europe (Africa is a different matter, of course!). Officially unveiled on 16 May 1979, the 505 was the replacement for the 504 with which it shared many of its underpinnings. It was originally available only as a saloon. There was a long wait for the estate, which when it did come included an eight-passenger Familiale version, both being seen at the 1982 Geneva Motor Show. The 505’s styling, a collaboration between Pininfarina and Peugeot’s internal styling department, is very similar to that of its smaller brother the 305. The original interior was designed by Paul Bracq, generally more well known for his work for Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The UK launch came in October 1979. The 505 was the last of Peugeot’s rear-wheel drive cars, with a front engine, mounted longitudinally. The suspension system included MacPherson struts and coil springs at front and semi-trailing arms with coil springs at rear, with a body-mounted rear differential and four constant-velocity joints. Station wagons (and most sedans built in Argentina) had instead a live-axle rear suspension, with Panhard rod and coil springs. Stabiliser bars were universal at front but model-dependent at rear. The car used disc brakes at the front, and either disc or drum brakes at the rear, depending on the model. The steering was a rack and pinion system, which was power assisted on most models. The first cars came with the familiar 2 litre carburettor and the Douvrin injected petrol engines and a 2.1 litre diesel. This latter was gradually upgraded to larger and more powerful units and a GTi model, the first Peugeot to bear the name was launched in 1984. Later Peugeot would add a Turbo 4 cylinder unit and the 2.7 litre Douvrin V6 engine, to give the car a more luxurious feel which it needed when it took over from the 604 as the marque’s flagship. The Break (Estate) and Familiale versions were quite different from saloons. The wheelbase was also longer, to help make it one of the most spacious in the market, at 2,900 mm (114 in). This was, not coincidentally, the same exact wheelbase as had been used on both the 404 and 504 estate derivatives. The Familiale (family estate), with its third row of bench seats (giving a total of eight forward-facing seats), was popular with larger families and as a taxi. The two rows of rear seats could be folded to give a completely flat load area, with 1.94 cubic metres of load capacity. The total load carrying capacity is 590 kg (1,301 lb). When released, it was hailed as a luxury touring wagon. The Familiale was marketed as the “SW8” in the United States, for “station wagon, eight seats.” The 505 was praised by contemporary journalists for its ride and handling, especially on rough and unmade roads; perhaps one reason for its popularity in less developed countries; – “Remember that the 505´s predecessor, the 504, had an outstanding ride. It took a British-market model on a hard charging drive across the green lanes of the Chilterns. The impacts were well suppressed and the car veritably floated over the undulations and potholes. I concluded that the 505 is as good as the 504 (but no better).” The 505 also had good ground clearance; if it wasn’t enough though, Dangel offered a taller four-wheel drive version of the 505 estate equipped with either the intercooled turbodiesel 110 hp engine or the 130 hp 2.2 L petrol engine. The four-wheel drive 505 also had shorter gear ratios. The interior styling was viewed positively in contemporary reviews: “Having settled into the 505’s neat cockpit one notices how handsomely styled it all would appear to be. The tweed seats and brown trim look smart and less confrontational than offerings from a certain other French marque.” But the ergonomics were criticised too: “The ashtray was competitively sized but is placed directly behind the gear stick. For British market cars, this will be a constant nuisance while our continental cousins will consider the placement quite logical and natural.” The range was given a facelift, including an all new interior, in 1986, but European Peugeot 505 production began to wind down following the launch of the smaller Peugeot 405 in 1987. Saloon production came to a halt in 1989, when Peugeot launched its new flagship 605 saloon, while the estate remained in production until 1992 – although plans for an estate version of the 605 never materialised. The 605 was in production for a decade but never matched the popularity of the 505. In some countries such as France and Germany, the 505 estate was used as an ambulance, a funeral car, police car, military vehicle and as a road maintenance vehicle. There were prototypes of 505 coupés and 505 trucks, and in France many people have modified 505s into pickup trucks themselves.
A legend event whilst still in production was the 205, affectionately (and even officially) known as “Le sacre numero” (the sacred number), and there were a couple of them here from the top of the range. Peugeot launched their new “supermini”, the 205 in January 1983, just one day after Fiat had presented the Uno, one of the car’s principal rivals. It was an immediate hit, with smart styling and a range of engines which combined with sharp handling made it good to drive. Mindful of the success of the Golf GTi, in the class above, and how a small car with good handling could take more power, as the Mini Cooper had proved, Peugeot came up with the GTi in early 1984. The first models had a 1.6 litre XU5J engine, producing 105 PS, which was uprated in 1987 with a cylinder head with larger valves thus becoming XU5JA, which took the power output up to 115 bhp. Visually the car retained the good looks of the 3 door version of the regular models, but it featured plastic wheel arch extensions and trim, beefier front and rear bumper valances and judicious use of red badging and trim. The shell also underwent some minor changes, including larger wheel arches (to suit the larger wheels , and the suspension was redesigned and sat lower on the GTI with stiffer springs, different wishbones and a drop-linked anti-roll bar. Red was a dominant colour inside. The car was an instant hit. At the end of 1986, Peugeot followed up with a more potent model, the 1.9 GTi, whose XU9JA engine produced 128 PS. Internally the engine of this car and the 1.6 model are very similar, the main differences on 1.9 litre versions being the longer stroke, oil cooler, and some parts of the fuel injection system. The shorter stroke 1.6 litre engine is famed for being revvy and eager, while the 1.9 litre feels lazier and torquier. Outside the engine bay the main differences between the 1.6 GTi and the 1.9 GTi are half-leather seats on the 1.9 GTi vs. cloth seats and disc brakes all-round (1.9 GTi) vs. discs at the front and drum brakes at the back; as well as the 14-inch Speedline SL201 wheels on the 1.6 GTi vs. 15 inch Speedline SL299 alloys on the 1.9 GTi. The 205 is still often treated as a benchmark in group car tests of the newest GTI models or equivalent. Peugeot itself has never truly recreated this success in future GTI models, although they came very close with the highly regarded GTI-6 variant of the Peugeot 306.
Peugeot produced their 205 T16 to compete against the Audi Quattro and Lancia Delta of the mid 80s. To homologate the 205 T16 (“Turbo 16”) Group B rally car, Peugeot had to produce 200 road-going examples. According to the Group B regulations, these had to be based on a current production road car. Peugeot decided to base the Group B rally car on the two door version of the 205. The engine was based on the cast iron block of the Diesel version of the then new XU engine family, albeit with a specially developed 16-valve head. The gearbox came from the Citroen SM but was mounted transversely. The car had all wheel drive. The body was built by Heuliez, where standard three door bodyshells from the production line were delivered and heavily modified. Heuliez cut off the complete rear of the car and welded in a transverse firewall between the B-posts. The rear frame was then built in a mixture of sheet steel profiles and tubes. The front was modified in a similar way with a tube frame carrying the front suspension. The completed bodies were delivered to Simca (Talbot) for the 200-series production cars and to Peugeot Talbot Sport for the competition versions. All street versions (VINs P1 to P200) were left hand drive and identically kitted out in dark grey colour, except the first (VIN P1) that was painted white and carried all the competition cars’ decoration for demonstration purposes. The competition cars of the first evolution series (VIN C1 to C20) were built at the sport department Peugeot Talbot Sport and presented to the public at the same day as the standard street version. Later competition vehicles of the Evolution 2 series (VIN C201 to C220) were built differently as the rear spaceframe had no more sheet steel profiles in it but was completely made from tubes only. Apart from the appearance, the road variants had practically nothing in common with the regular production model and shared the transverse mid-engine, four-wheel drive layout of the rally car, but had less than half the power; at around 200 PS. The T was for Turbo; the 16 stands for 16 valves. Outwardly similar to a normal 205, the T16 had wider wheel arches, and the whole rear section lifted up to give access to the engine. Underneath, the complex drivetrain from the rally car was kept to abide by the Group B rules In addition to the Group B model, the lesser 205 GTI was also FIA approved for competition in the Group N and Group A categories. Peugeot Talbot Sport’s factory 205 T16s under Jean Todt were the most successful cars to compete in the last two years of the World Rally Championship’s Group B era, winning the 1985 and 1986 Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles with Timo Salonen and Juha Kankkunen respectively against such notable competition from Audi, Lancia and Ford, with an Evolution 2 model being introduced for the latter of those two seasons.
Although the numbering of this car was out of line with everything else offered by Peugeot in the 1980s, the 309 belongs to this section. Originally conceived as a Talbot model to replace the Horizon, it was decided late in the day to launch the car as a Peugeot, signalling the end of the Talbot name. With the 305 label already used and the 405 in the wings, there was no logical number to adopt so it took the name 309. The 309, a size larger than the 205 never found quite the same appeal as the smaller car, even though many will claim that in GTi guise, it was actually a better car. It was launched in 1987, eighteen months or so behind the regular models. and was available in both three and five door forms. Arguably the top of the range, fitted with the 1905 cc XU9 engine, producing 130 PS 128 bhp), though it was later detuned at around the time of the facelift to 122 PS (120 bhp) to conform with 95 octane unleaded and emissions regulations. The GTI came with some features unique to the range, such as the large black boot spoiler, driving lights and fog lights in the front bumper, remote opening rear windows (three door only), and the Speedline 1.9GTI alloys, the first car to be fitted with them. Also benefitted from uprated suspension, tinted glass, a deep front airdam, a leather steering wheel and internally adjustable headlights. Items on the options list included central locking/electric windows (as part of a twinned options pack), a sliding glass sunroof, and metallic/black paint. A late addition to the range and only produced for a limited period was the GTi 16V. It featured the PSA XU engine XU9J4 160 PS (158 bhp) 16V 1.9 alloy engine from the 405 Mi16/Citroën BX 16V. It also included slightly uprated suspension (stiffer rear torsion bars, and wider track width both front and rear). The GTI16 was produced in LHD only, due to clearance issues with the master cylinder in RHD cars. The very high power-to-weight ratio (160PS / 975 kg) resulted in a highly responsive drive, even by modern standards. There are few survivors these days.
Representing the popular and accomplished 405 range was this T16 model. It was introduced in April 1993, as a homologation special, with a 2.0 litre 16 valve turbocharged XU10J4TE engine with water cooled chargecooler, constant four wheel drive with 53/47% power distribution and self regulating hydraulic rear axle. The T16 produced 200 hp at 1.1 bar (16 psi) (normal boost) or 220 hp at 1.3 bar (19 psi) (overboost) which lasts for 45 seconds. 1,061 examples were built, 60 of them for the French Police. It was never built in a right hand drive model.
06 and 07 SERIES
Although these Series are now part of Peugeot’s history, they are perhaps deemed too recent to figure much in the display yet. To be seen here were only a few cars, generally with movie connections.
There was a regular 406 Berline here as well as the 406 Taxi 2 and the later 407 from Taxi 4 and 5. The 406 was the star of Taxi 2, a French action comedy film directed by Gérard Krawczyk and released in March 2000. Starring Samy Naceri, Frédéric Diefenthal and Marion Cotillard. It is a sequel to Taxi, written by Luc Besson and directed by Gérard Pirès in 1998. The 406 aso starred in Taxi 3 in 2003, but by the time of the release of Taxi 4. the car was updated to the then current 407. This car featured in the 2018 sequel Taxi 5 as well.
This duo of 206 WRC and 807 were used in the 2003 film Michel Vaillant. Not a name with which I was familiar, but Michel Vaillant is the title of a comic series created in 1957 by French cartoonist Jean Graton. Michel Vaillant is the main character and is a racing driver who competes successfully in multiple disciplines including Formula One, at the Indy 500, the Dakar Rally, in single-seater and GT races. Most importantly, for the WEC, he has competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans no fewer than five times. His family-run racing team is called Vaillante after the family transportation and road car manufacturing businesses. These cars were seen in the film with their front ends changed, giving the cars a more aerodynamic look.
Like most manufacturers, Peugeot has produced a number of concept vehicles, some of which were closely related to subsequent production vehicles, and some of which were more of a showcase for advanced thinking either in terms of styling or technology or both. A number of them were presented here.
The Peugeot Quasar was the first of these. Named after the Quasar galaxies, it was presented to the Paris Motor Show in 1984. It was created by the Peugeot la Garenne Style Centre as a vision of a 21st century car, based on the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16. It certainly seems emblematic of the 1980s, inspired by astronautics, science fiction, and cutting-edge techniques with science making significant progress in astrophysics, in the field of understanding the Quasars. The Qasar was based on a Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 chassis with futuristic bodywork by Peugeot designer Gérard Welter including a hemispherical dome in panoramic tinted glass, inspired by fighter aircraft / spacecraft cockpits. The interior was produced by Paul Bracq and featured a racing car driving position, blue decor and red leather, acoustics designed for Hi-Fi. The car featured a Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 XU8T 4 cylinder 1.8 litre, 16 valve, twin-turbo, DOHC engine. With an intercooler, power was pushed to 600 bhp. Inside there was an electronic futuristic dashboard based on liquid crystal screen, avant-garde post premise of GPS (navigation assistant) based on Clarion on-board computer, with display of warning messages, navigation road maps, and display of Telex / Teletel / Minitel messages, on screen with integrated cathode ray tube.
Dating from 1996 was the Asphalte concept, a roadster with a front mounted engine which delivers the power to the front wheels. Power is produced by a single overhead camshaft, 1.6 litre naturally aspirated 4 cylinder engine, with 2 valves per cylinder that produces power and torque figures of 88 bhp at 5600 rpm and 132 Nm (97 lb/f) at 3000 rpm respectively. The engine delivers its power through to the wheels by means of a 3 speed automatic ‘box. Its quoted weight at the kerb is 580 kg. Its maximum speed claimed is 200 km/h or 124 mph.
The Peugeot Hoggar was a concept car produced by Peugeot in 2003. It was a two-seater off-road vehicle, powered by two diesel engines that drove the front and rear wheels in a four wheel drive configuration. The car principally consisted of a one-piece carbon honeycomb body reinforced by two upper longitudinal roll-over bars completed from stainless steel, each with a diameter of 76 mm (3.0 in). These tubes also served as an air intake and air conduit to the front engine (left-hand tube) and rear engine (right-hand tube). Both engines displaced 2168 cc and produced power of around 180 bhp. The two engines consequently supplied a collective power of nearly 360 bhp and a maximum torque of 800 Nm (590 lb/ft).
The Peugeot Quark is a concept car from Peugeot, rather like a four wheeled motorcycle/quad-bike. The Quark was first displayed at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. It utilises hydrogen fuel cells and has an electric motor on each of the four wheels. All four motors combined give the Quark 30kW or 40hp. It can drive approximately 130 km (81 mi) before it requires refuelling. The Quark is 2.38 metres (94 in) long and 1.50 metres (59 in) wide. The empty weight is 450 kg (992 lb) and its top speed is 110 km/h (68 mph). It can accelerate to 50 km/h (31 mph) in 6.5 seconds, and can carry two people with an additional load of 140 kg (309 lb).
The Peugeot BB1 was a full-electric concept city car presented by Peugeot in September 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It incorporated rear in-wheel motors designed with Michelin each with maximum power output of 7.5 kW (10 hp) and torque on each wheel of 320 Nm (236 lbf/ft). The car provided 4 seats and its length was 2.5 metres (98 in), 1.6 metres (63 in) in width.
At the 67th Milan International Cycle and Motorbike Show, Peugeot unveiled their HYbrid3 Evolution Concept – a convertible version of the HYbrid3 compressor presented at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. The HYbrid3 Evolution Concept is powered by two electric motors – one in each wheel – and a 300cc petrol engine that delivers 41 hp. The electric engines are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which can be recharged by an energy recovery system active during deceleration and braking.
The Peugeot SR1 is a convertible, hybrid concept car by Peugeot. It was unveiled to the general public at the Geneva Motor Show, in March 2010. The SR1 concept incorporated HYbrid4 technology, which was launched in the Peugeot 3008 in 2011. In the SR1, at the front, a 1.6 litre THP petrol engine with a power of 218 PS (215 hp), is combined with a rear electric motor developing 70 kW (95 PS; 94 hp). In electric only mode, the car becomes a ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle), while its combined cycle fuel consumption is only 4.9 litres per 100 kilometres (58 mpg) and 119 g/km of CO2. When the two power trains operate simultaneously, the SR1 develops a potential maximum power of 313 PS (308 hp) and also benefits from 4-wheel drive. Because the SR1 concept was presented together with a new Peugeot brand identity – and its well-known lion – designers all over the world were very interested in the concept when presented to see the new design directions chosen by the French giant, in an attempt to understand where the brand would position itself in terms of design. It became clearer in the models that were released in the ensuing years.
This is the HX1 concept car, first seen at the 2011 Frankfurt Show. This futuristic design was the French marque’s vision for a 2020 MPV. It’s powered by a 2.2-litre HDi engine up front, with extra shove coming from a 95bhp electric motor at the rear. Based on a ‘Metamorphosis’ theme, the HX1 can adapt to its driving and interior environments with active aerodynamics and flexible, modular 4+2 seating.
The Peugeot 907 was a concept car built by Peugeot. First revealed at the Paris Motor Show in 2004, the car was created by styling chief Gérard Welter and designer Jean-Christophe Bolle-Reddat to celebrate the closure of the firm’s 40- year-old design centre at La Garenne, and the opening of a new one at Vélizy. The car wasn’t designed to go into production, instead it was intended to be a prototype featuring Peugeot’s new design techniques. The engine is mounted just behind the front wheels and side exhausts exit behind each of the front wheels. Unlike many concepts, the 907 can be driven like a production car. Under the bonnet, two 3.0-litre V6 engines are joined together to form a 500bhp V12. The monocoque body is made of carbon fibre, and the car uses a double-wishbone suspension all round, while a sequential-shift transmission distributes power to the rear wheels. The arcing windscreen continues upwards to form the roof, while the bonnet has a see-through perspex insert that reveals the engine’s 12 intake trumpets.
New since my last visit was the opening up of an annex to he main building, which has been brought into use as additional display space. At the time of this visit, it was used to showcase a number of commercial vehicles and some of the many Peugeots that became famous for their exploits in a variety of forms of motorsport.
The Peugeot Type 10 was a 5-seater closed-top car (body style similar to that of an estate car) produced from 1894 to 1896 by Peugeot. The engine was a V-twin that displaced 1645 cc. Three units were made.
The Type 64 was produced between 1904 and 1907 and was one of the first Lorry models produced. It was also significant in its use of pneumatic tyres.
Type 152S Lorry
This is a Type 153 Common Echelle. The Type 153 (the colonial version was known as the Type 153 A and used a different chassis) was produced until 1916 and held popularity among French Army officers during the First World War. Its original 2.6 L four-cylinder engine made 12 bhp. Production was ultimately halted to focus Peugeot’s efforts on the war. 800 of this model were produced. There are less than ten left in the world and very few in running order. Only one known to be in the UK in running order. A 153 Colonial exists in New Zealand. This version has a higher straight chassis. Production resumed in 1920. A revised Type 153 was given a new 2.7 L engine which made 14 bhp. The result was the Type 153 B and was assembled until 1922, with production coming to 1,325 units. A sportier version, lightened and producing 20 bhp, was unveiled in 1922 and called the Type 153 RS. This model sold 200 units. The Type 153 B was replaced in 1923 by the Type 153 BR. It carried on similar design to all past models, carried on the same 2.7 L engine but produced 15 bhp. The Type 153 BR was the final model and it was sold 1,505 units before production ceased in 1925. Production of all Type 153 models came to 3,830. It was replaced by the Type 176.
Between 1931 and 1933 the company produced 1,676 commercial versions of the 201, aimed at small shopkeepers and other businessmen. A wide range of body types was produced including a flatbed truck, a “bakers’ van” and light vans with and without side windows behind the B-pillar. Seen here was a 201 T Boulangere.
Also here were a couple of further examples of the 202, a Boulangere van and a 202 Limousine Commerciale. This latter remained rare with only around 3000 examples produced.
This is a 1948 Peugeot DMAH Fire Engine. The Peugeot DMA was a light truck built by Peugeot between 1941 and 1948. It was the first commercial vehicle from Peugeot to employ a forward control cab, whereby the driver sat right at the front of the vehicle. The configuration maximised load deck length and gave the driver a good view of the road, but it meant that the driver shared his cab with the engine: Peugeot’s light truck, being a rear wheel drive vehicle, was unable to offer a large low flat load area as the front-wheel drive Citroën TUB light van. During the DMA’s early years France was under German occupation, Peugeot’s own plant being located in the strip of land known as the “Zone interdite” with the Swiss frontier to the east and occupied northern France to the west. Many of the 11,045 DMA trucks produced were used by the German army. However, in the immediate postwar years, with funds for new models desperately restricted, the trucks continued to be produced for use by French operators such as local fire services. The 2,142 cc petrol engine came from the Peugeot 402 and could be adapted to work using charcoal derived gazogène, applying technology in which Peugeot had developed an expertise in the late 1930s as the prospect of war, with its accompanying shortages of petrol/gasoline for non-military use, loomed. The claimed maximum power output (using petrol) was 50 bhp with a top speed of 70 km/h (43.5 mph). The DMA featured twin rear wheels which provided for an impressive maximum load capacity of 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). There was also, from September 1946, a DMAH version, which featured hydraulic brake linkages.
Commercial versions of the larger Peugeot models were produced from the 1950s and there were several examples here, with Van versions of the 403 – in Pompiers format and as a Loudspeaker Van – joined by the 404 and 504 in Pickup guises. This last one was used by Pope John-Paul II on his visit to Lyon in 1986, the result of a request for an unpretentious vehicle. When the Pope visited Alsace-Lorraine in 1988, the car was re-used, but upgraded to feature armoured panels, and it’s this iteration that’s on display.
The Peugeot D3 and its successor, the Peugeot D4 were forward control panel vans sold by Peugeot from October 1950 till 1965. The van originated as a front wheel drive light van produced by Chenard-Walcker, whose business Peugeot had acquired by 1950. The van, based on a wartime design, was relaunched, soon after the Liberation, in June 1946 as the Chenard-Walcker CPV. In this form it was powered by a two-cylinder water-cooled two-stroke engine of just 1,021 cc. Power output of 26 hp was claimed. Accepting that even by the standards of the time, this level of power was insufficient, in 1947 the manufacturers switched to using the 1,133 cc engine of the Peugeot 202, and claimed power increased to 30 hp. The original two-cylinder engine had the merit of being very compact, and in order to accommodate the four-cylinder unit from Peugeot the nose of the van had to be extended, which compromised the clean frontal design of the original van and gave rise to frequent use of the «Nez de cochon» (“pig nose”) soubriquet. Providing the van’s engine to Chenard-Walcker at a time when the business was short of cash left Peugeot as a major creditor, and therefore at the front of the line of any potential purchasers of the business as it became apparent that Chenard-Walcker could not survive independently. Peugeot’s acquisition of the business led to the van’s rebranding as a Peugeot, although it was January 1951 before the Chenard et Walcker CP3 (as their CPV had by now become) was formally discontinued. Power was also increased late in 1950 when the engine from the (by now no longer produced) Peugeot 202 was replaced by the 1,290 cc engine of the recently introduced Peugeot 203. The D3 was redesignated as the D3A. Already the engine change enabled Peugeot to advertise the van’s power output as 32 hp, and during the next few years the vehicle benefited from further enhancements as the engine was developed both for the van and for what was at the time the company’s only passenger car. Power was increased to 40 hp in 1952, marked by the renaming of the van as the D3B. In February 1953, for drivers who did not like to work alone, a passenger seat was fitted. In 1955 Peugeot added a second model to their passenger car range, and the van acquired the 1,468 cc engine of the newly launched Peugeot 403 which even in the detuned state used for the commercial vehicle application provided 45 hp of power. Thus enhanced, in August 1955 the Peugeot D3 was replaced by the Peugeot D4. The new van was virtually indistinguishable from the old one from the outside, unless the customer had paid extra for the side-door which could now be specified for the load area. Also new on the D4 were two “baguette-style” over-riders on the front bumper which enabled keen eyed observers to differentiate the two versions (until 1960, when the over-riders disappeared). In October 1959 the D4 (like the 403) became available with a diesel engine, which was a major innovation at the time. In 1960 the power from the petrol engine was increased to 55 hp and the van was redesignated D4B. 1960 also saw a rearrangement of the exterior lights with the fitting of flashing direction indicators front and back. Further changes during the final five years were minor in nature, one of the more noteworthy being a small reduction, in 1963, of the number of bars on the front grille. A range of body types existed including those of a basic panel van, a minibus, and ambulance and horse-box. A relatively popular horse-box conversion was undertaken by the Théault business at Avranches. Customers for the little minibus version included various French police forces and the French post office which used the vans for transporting postmen. The D4B was withdrawn in 1965 to be replaced by the Peugeot J7.
The Peugeot J7 is a small front wheel drive van produced from 1965 until 1980 with a total production of 336,220 vehicles. The J7 was available in a number of versions including panel van, minibus, pick up and pick up with cab with a gross payload of either 1,400 kg (3,100 lb) or 1,800 kg (4,000 lb) depending on version. The J7 was originally launched with a choice of 4-cylinder petrol (1468 cc) or diesel (1816 cc) engines. The J7 was not sold in the United Kingdom, but various private imports have occurred over the years. In 1981 the J7 was succeeded by a revised version called J9.
This is the J9, a van manufactured from January 1981 until 1991. It was also manufactured under license by Karsan, in Turkey, from 1981 until 2010. It was facelifted in 1991, and in 2006, Karsan released the restyled J9 Premier.Production ended in 2010 when the J9 was replaced by the closely related Karsan J10. When first introduced, the J9 had 1.6 or 2.0 litre petrol engines, or the familiar Indénor diesel engines of 2.1 or 2.3 litres. Late in the French production run, the 2.5 litre diesel engine also became available.
Peugeot’s next van was part of the joint venture with the Fiat Group, which saw the same basic design marketed under no fewer than 5 different marques. Perhaps best known of these is the Fiat Ducato, whilst Italian markets also saw it as the Alfa Romeo AR6, and more or less everyone got it as the Citroen C25 and Pegueot J5 whilst UK markets saw a version badged Tabot Express. The Ducato was the first to be launched in 1981, the result of a new Fiat collaboration with PSA Peugeot Citroën, that resulted in the vehicle’s development starting in 1978. The vehicles were manufactured at the Sevel Val di Sangro plant in Atessa, central Italy, and at the Sevel Campania plant in Pomigliano d’Arco, Naples together with all the other and very similar different marques. It was not the first collaboration, as Fiat and PSA had earlier produced the Fiat 242 and Citroën C35 from 1974. The Peugeot J5 was a 2.5 tonne capacity van, produced from October 1981 until 1993. Its powertrains are as per the Citroën C25, a petrol unit from the Peugeot 504 and a diesel from the Citroen CX. In 1991, the J5 series 2 was launched with a new front grille and headlights. It was replaced in 1994 by the Peugeot Boxer, which was based on the second generation Fiat Ducato. It sold reasonably well in France but enjoyed little commercial success outside France, being overshadowed in much of Europe by the Fiat Ducato, which was supported by stronger commercial vehicle dealership networks in key markets.
This is a P4. In the late 1960s, the French army decided that its 10,000 Jeeps needed to be replaced. The replacement vehicle would carry four men with radio equipment and would be small enough to be parachuted and transported by plane. After many technical issues, the new vehicle was designed in the 1970s. Agreement was reached between Peugeot and Mercedes to co-produce the vehicle on a 50:50 basis. Peugeot installed the engine of the Peugeot 504 and the transmission of the Peugeot 604 on the Mercedes-Benz G-Class; it also installed the electrical systems, welded the exterior and painted the car. The rest was done by Mercedes. The plant in Sochaux did the final assembly. The first prototype was tested in 1978, beginning a long series of tests and trials, notably a rally in south Algeria with a petrol and a diesel P4. The French Army ordered 15,000 P4s, both petrol and diesel versions; in 1981, the order was reduced to 13,500 units with the downsizing of the Army. From 1985, production was transferred to Panhard in Marolles-en-Hurepoix, where 6,000 vehicles were produced. In 2016, P4s were donated to the Cameroonian military for its special forces units. A civilian version was made, but encountered little success because of the high price and a poor power-to-weight ratio.
There were a number of rally cars here. In the last 40 years or so, Peugeot has competed successfully in this branch of motor sport with a variety of different machines from those which look very similar to the models in everyday road use, to those which were purpose=designed for some of the toughest events there are. such as the Dakar Rally and Pikes Peak.
There were examples of the 204 and 304 which competed in the 1960s and 70s. Marianne Hoepfner took this 304 to first in class at the Ronde de la Giraglia and also won at Ronde Limousine in 1975 and in group two of the French Women Cup the following year.
This right hand drive 404, piloted by Bert Shankland and Chris Rothwell, won the East Africa Safari in 1967.
By the late 1970s, the 504 Coupe was the car that Peugeot were using.
This is an example of the 205 T16, Peugeot’s entrant in the Group B class, and seen in the rally guise to complement the road-going car seen earlier in the visit.
The Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 is a coupé built by Peugeot Talbot Sport, derived from the Peugeot 405 and the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 in 1988 for African rally raids. Driven by Ari Vatanen the four wheel drive car won the Paris Dakar rally in 1989 and 1990. It won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 1988 driven by Vatanen in record-breaking time. The film Climb Dance was made from the race. It had four wheel steering, a feature never before seen on a rally or hillclimb car. The engine sat very low in front of the right rear wheel with the turbo charger on the opposite side. It had a very good power-to-weight ratio with more than 600 bhp for a car weighing barely 900 kilograms and could accelerate from zero to 200 km/h in less than 10 seconds. The car was backed by a $1 million-plus budget from Peugeot.
In 1999, Peugeot Sport unveiled the 206 WRC, and it competed for the first time in that year’s World Rally Championship, with French tarmac veteran and long-time marque stalwart Gilles Panizzi narrowly failing, against a resurgent reigning champion in Mitsubishi’s Tommi Mäkinen, to win the Rallye Sanremo. The car was soon a success, however, and won both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships in 2000, Peugeot’s first such accolades since their withdrawal from the WRC after Group B was banned after the 1986 season, and achieved in the hands of Panizzi, Francois Delecour and Mäkinen’s successor as drivers’ world champion, Marcus Grönholm. For 2001, Grönholm competed alongside two refugees of SEAT’s exit from the championship at the end of 2000; compatriot Harri Rovanperä and the French 1994 world champion, Didier Auriol. Rovanperä and Auriol each contributed single wins, on Swedish Rally and Rally Catalunya respectively (the former to be a sole career win for the Finn, and the latter victory helped by assorted problems for the blisteringly quick debuting Citroën Xsara WRCs), before Auriol left the team at the end of the season. Grönholm, meanwhile, suffered sufficient reliability woes in the first half of the year such that he could manage no higher than fourth overall in the series, although Peugeot did fend off Ford, with a 1-2 result by the two Finns on the season-ending Rally of Great Britain to successfully defend the constructors’ championship title. In 2002, Grönholm – despite now being paired in the factory line-up with defending 2001 champion from Subaru, the Briton Richard Burns – led Peugeot to a repeat of the WRC title double aboard his 206 WRC. His dominance that year was compared to Michael Schumacher’s dominance of Formula One. In summary, Peugeot won two drivers’ championships, in 2000 and 2002, and three manufacturers’ titles in a row between 2000 and 2002. However, by 2003 the 206 WRC was beginning to show its age and was less effective against the competition, notably the newer Xsara WRC and the Subaru Impreza WRC, so it was retired from competition at the end of the season, to be replaced with the 307 WRC, albeit, unlike its predecessor, based not on the production version’s hatchback, but its coupé cabriolet body style. The Peugeot 206 WRC was awarded the Autosport “Rally Car of the Year” in 2002, preceded by the Ford Focus RS WRC and followed by the Citroën Xsara WRC. Peugeot GB created a Peugeot 206 rally championship aimed at young drivers. The championship was created to help young drivers develop their careers. The cars were built by Vic Lee Racing and drivers such as Tom Boardman, Luke Pinder and Garry Jennings all drove in the championship.
Based on the 306 S16, the Peugeot 306 Maxi boasts an engine which was designed in line with the unit found in the 406 STW touring car. However, as there were no rules governing maximum engine speed for this class, Peugeot Sport managed to set the limiter beyond 10,000 rpm. As a result this naturally aspirated car produces nearly the same power output as the turbocharged WRC machines (though with substantially less torque). The 306 Maxi made its debut in 1995 Rallye Alsace-Vogues and eventually won the FIA 2-Litre World Rally Cup Constructor champion in the same year. The Peugeot 306 Maxi competed in Group A of the French and World Rally Championship. The GTI version of the car also won the Spa 24 hours endurance race in 1999 and 2000. The car took the Danish Touringcar Championship in 1999, 2000 and 2001, and the Asian Touring Car Series title in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Dating from 1932 is this Peugeot 301 C record car. On the Miramas autodrome near Marseille, Peugeot’s official driver André Boillot drove this and broke the international 24-hour class F speed record, covering 2650km in 24 hours, with an average speed of 110.417kph (68.6mph).
This is the 1937 Peugeot 302 Darl’Mat as raced at Le Mans that year. It uses the chassis from a 302 with the engine and transmission from a 402, and wears a body designed by Georges Paulin, produced at the Pourtout workshops. The model’s first competitive outing was at the 1937 Le Mans 24 Hours, where it claimed 7th, 8th and 10th places, before the model morphed into the 402, three of which were entered the following year, achieving a first-in-class and fifth overall finish.
In the 1990s the company competed in endurance racing, including the World Sportscar Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans race with the 905. The sportscar team was established at Vélizy-Villacoublay, France. After early problems with reliability and aerodynamics, the 905 was successful in the World Sportscar Championship, winning eight of the 14 races across the 1991 and 1992 seasons and winning the team and driver titles in 1992. Peugeot also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1992 and 1993.
Peugeot returned to sportscar racing and Le Mans in 2007 with the diesel-powered Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. At the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans, Stéphane Sarrazin secured pole position but the 908s proved unreliable and ceded victory to Audi. In 2008, Sarrazin earned a pole position but Audi prevailed once again. For the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs finished first and second overall, led by drivers Marc Gené, David Brabham, and Alexander Wurz.
The company has also been involved in providing engines to Formula One teams, notably to McLaren in 1994, to Jordan for the 1995, 1996 and 1997 seasons, and to Prost for the 1998, 1999 and 2000 seasons. Despite a number of podium finishes with each of these three teams, the manufacturer did not score any victories, and their F1 interests were sold to Asiatech at the end of the 2000 season.
This is an excellent museum,, well laid out, nicely lit (generally!) and with plenty to see. I enjoyed this visit just as I had enjoyed previous trips to see this rich heritage from France’s oldest car manufacturer. And when you have seen enough of the cars, there is a rather good brasserie on site, which also comes recommended.
More details on the museum’s own website: https://www.museepeugeot.com/en/aventure-peugeot-museum.html