Second Survivor – 1971 Peugeot 304

By the frequency of their appearances on this site, you might think there was a sole surviving US-market Peugeot 304. Mais non, mon ami, there are now at least two confirmed survivors in the United States – the Peugeot 304 featured in 2009 in Missouri, and now another one – check out this 1971 Peugeot 304 Berline for sale for $3900 in Mission Hills, CA.

1971 Peugeot 304 left front

If you were squinting pretty hard, you might think you were looking at a downsized Alfa Romeo Berlina. Sure enough, some sources say this car was styled in Italy, though even if it wasn’t, it’s hard to deny the influence. Funky tail lights? Check. Oddly alien looking headrests? Check. Spare design with not much chrome? Check. Even France’s smallest, simplest cars had a nice ride, so while the styling and accoutrements might be fit for a pauper, the ride is worthy of a prince.

1971 Peugeot 304 right side

While the paint leaves something to be desired, the condition is pretty remarkable – though there has to be some rust, nothing significant is visible in the pictures, and the car seems complete with all its unobtainium US-market specific pieces intact. If Peugeot’s 1-year trial of this car had been successful, this light little Berline might have known the indignity of mega-bumpers, just like the Fiat 128, but luckily we don’t have to think about that. The car is said to run and drive, but is on old tires, so together with the expired plates (1997, perhaps?), don’t expect to hop in and drive it home unless you also live in Mission Hills.

1971 Peugeot 304 interior

Because it’s French, the interior has some interesting details, including Jaeger gauges and clock, soft & comfy armchair seats, and even a low-spec car like this has a cigarette lighter. Because they were trying to appeal to a broader audience, they blandified it by *not* using a dash or column mounted shifter. Interestingly, from a time when many European cars didn’t have factory radios, this one is clearly marked “Peugeot”.

1971 Peugeot 304 engine

Because it’s French, the seller lists a couple of interesting mechanical details – the clutch can be changed with the drive train in place, the transaxle is in the crankcase (though that might be British), and the fan belt on the aluminum overhead cam hemi-head engine runs in two planes (though that might be American as seen on the Corvair). Buy this one and wherever you went, you’d be one-of-one as long as you stayed out of Missouri.


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