The Peugeot 404 Coupé Is A French Touring Car With A Hint Of Italian Passion
Photography by Máté Boér
The driving force behind the creation of each car collection is different, because the people who create them are different. In case of this rare Peugeot 404 Coupé, the saloon version convinced its owner to make space for the 2-door version in the garage.
“With her elegant, simple lines she looks like a Riva yacht,” says Tamás, the proud owner of the French coupé by lovingly words his final argument on why he needed this car in his collection. On that afternoon, in the smooth light of the sunset, the harmonic shape of the Peugeot started to live and added a French car’s special savour to the peaceful ambience of the river Danube.
For the costumes of the complete Peugeot 404 range, the Italian styling house Pininfarina was responsible, and it means that people could buy a Pininfarina-designed truck back in those days, as the 404 existed in sedan, coupé, convertible, wagon/van, and pick-up forms.
The stylish 404s were produced between 1960 and 1975 in France and for many more years in a number of countries like Kenya, New Zealand, Uruguay, etc. The convertible became the first Peugeot to be assembled by a third party, by Pininfarina in Grugliasco, a western suburb of Turin. The coupé arrived in the fall of 1962, and the body assembly was also handed over to the Italians. The floorpan and the mechanical parts arrived from the Sochaux plant by rail, the carrozzeria sent back the painted chassis with the complete interior, and the cars gained their drivetrain in France. In terms of dimensions, the Pininfarina built 2-door 404s are longer and wider than the saloon versions, sharing not a single body panel with the saloons.
The production of the coupe model held on only for six years, and roughly 6,000 examples rolled off the line in this period. Although the making of these 2-door versions was not cheap, partly because of the transport costs between Turin and Sochaux, the 404 coupés’ were not outstandingly expensive, their price tag was similar to the Jaguar E-Type’s.
The 1967 car, shown in my pictures came from the Netherlands, and despite the poor state of the chassis Tamás decided to save her by a detailed nut and bolt restoration in his own workshop, because the car was complete. Only the Dutch 404 coupés were fitted with a sunroof, these were installed by the importer. Tamás’ car is equipped with Kugelfischer mechanical injection, which is a piece of art of its kind and only a handful of people knows how to correctly adjust these items.
Peugeot 404s have a big fan base in France and in the Netherlands, the Le Club 404 tries to discover all of the surviving examples. Tamás’s coupé became a proud jewel in the window of his Peugeot showroom, and attracts people to the dealership, while his 404 saloon is often used for longer road trips by the family—what a fantastic pair of classics.