The 1950s Peugeot 403 survived well into the 1960s, in spite of being succeeded by the more modern 404 in 1960. It was demoted to being Peugeot’s budget model, but the break enjoyed some level of popularity in France, particularly with the gendarmes. And it’s no wonder, since in addition to being capacious and economical, these cars were just about unkillable. These cars had the build quality and solidity to rival contemporary Mercedes, so it’s interesting to think about how Mercedes became a builder of exclusive luxury cars, where Peugeot became a builder of occasionally sporting economy and entry-level luxury cars. If you’re interested in a ponton Peugeot, check out this 1967 Peugeot 403 wagon, for sale for €1000 ($1387 today) in Arrou, France.
Archive for April, 2014
Pop quiz! If someone asked you to name a car that influenced most compact front-wheel drive cars on the road today, what would you say? First-generation VW Golf? Guess again. Citroen Traction Avant (heck, any postwar Citroen)? Not quite. Austin Mini? Almost, but no cigar. It was the Autobianchi Primula. Fiat used their Autobianchi brand to test out new technologies, and in this case, they tested the transverse-engine, front-wheel drive with the transmission above the differential instead of in the oil sump, as seen on Minis. It also featured unequal-length driveshafts, rack and pinion steering, and disc brakes on all four wheels. The Primula only got second place in the European Car of the Year competition, but Fiat went back with a similar powertrain layout in their 128 and got the top prize. For your own automotive unsung hero, check out this 1967 Autobianchi Primula, for sale for €500 ($690 today) in Lucbardez-et-Bargues, southwestern France.
From the North American perspective, we tend to think of the Renault 5 as a car from the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, it actually debuted in 1972, and it’s a credit to its ingenuity as a design that it lasted in production all the way through 1985 in its first iteration, and a further 11 years in the second, which was a completely new Gandini-designed car with a very similar appearance. Imagine that this basic design spanned the presidential administrations of Nixon to Clinton, or from the years of the BMW 2002 to the E36 3-series, and you’ll see how avant-garde this car must have seemed at its debut. Even more amazing, the first generation was designed by a Renault employee in his spare time. You can find this 1974 Renault 5TL for sale for €1500 ($2077 today) in Tortefontaine, France.