Wednesday 10 October 2012
The Peugeot 204 is a small family car produced by the French manufacturer Peugeot between 1965 and 1976.
The 204, known in development as Project D12, was available in many body styles including a sedan/saloon/berline, convertible/cabriolet, coupe, estate/wagon, and a van. It was launched in Paris, France on 23 April 1965 and became the best-selling car in France from 1969 to 1971.
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 owes 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' station wagon came along less than six months later in the Autumn of 1965. 1966 saw the arrival of two-door coupé and cabriolet versions employing a shortened chassis and 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.
1969 saw the Autumn 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range was correspondingly pruned: the 204 coupé and cabriolet received the dashboard of the new 304 in 1969 only to be withdrawn in 1970, replaced by similarly bodied 304 equivalents.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.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1127 cc
- horsepower: 53 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 140 km/h