Stop Falking Around – 1960 Peugeot 403

It’s time for a bit of a rant – does it drive you nuts how *every* time there’s an article about a vintage Peugeot online, some wise guy writes a reply referencing Columbo? It doesn’t matter if it’s a 504, 404 (wagon, cabriolet, coupe or sedan), 403, or 203, someone has to mention it (ugh, and now it’s happened here too – the irony is not lost!). Referencing a TV series that had its last heyday roughly 20 years ago is about as creative as bringing up the old Fix-It-Again-Tony or “be the first at the scene of the accident” lines for a Fiat or VW bus. Okay, rant over, let’s focus on an actual car. You can find this 1960 Peugeot 403 sedan for $2000 in Mill Valley, CA, just outside San Francisco.

1960 Peugeot 403 right front

What’s wrong with this car? Is it significantly underpriced, does it have major rust or mechanical problems? The body looks remarkably straight and complete, and the car sits on what look like Michelin X repro tires in some shots. The front bumper looks to have sustained a tap or two, but the body is otherwise straight and there’s no visible rust bubbling or perforation.

1960 Peugeot 403 left rear

It’s the same ’round back, with just a bit of surface rust on the right side of the bumper. The tail lights recall those on other period cars, like Alfa Giuliettas. It would be interesting to drive one of these back-to-back with a Ponton-style Mercedes, then grab a beer and see where French and German companies made different decisions. At their roots, they’re quite similar cars – spartan, durable, and well-built, if not particularly fast or performance-oriented.

1960 Peugeot 403 interior

The interior looks pretty clean, too, although the driver’s door panel appears a little wavy. The dashboard looks like it was inspired by American cars of the late 1940s or early 1950s, while this final-year 403 debuted in 1955. Incidentally, that’s quite a short run compared to most models’ lifespan.

1960 Peugeot 403 engine

Most engines in this price range are filthy, or oily, or covered in leaves. Or a combination of those three. But this engine bay, while it might be oily down below, does look fairly clean. That intake setup seems rather complicated and inefficient, running from one canister into another. Surely some period tuner made a few francs from consolidating those into a more efficient setup with a twin-carb intake… or maybe not, these were not as sporting as later Peugeots.


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One Response to “Stop Falking Around – 1960 Peugeot 403”

  1. BobbiL Says:

    twas great reading the above. i bought my first 403 in parisin 1961. won a verbal battle with a chauffer-driven, HUGE black Mercedes in Switzerland. have slides of it being off-loaded by a crane at New Jersey docks…. won-___ another argument with the cop who said i had to leave and couldn’t take pics, HA!
    i grew up in mill valley, Park elem, Tam hi, no longer have was in french car repair garage in walnut creek. owner was forced out of business and did not phone me to advise me. after waiting
    2 mo. i drove by to check-up on status, my 403, and other shops were gone, i now have a 1 yr. older, always garaged, 403 up on blocks .

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