• Designed by Pininfarina and elegant in white, this little French coupe just oozes class.
• The Peugeot 204 was France’s bestselling car from 1969-1972, but few coupes survive. This one is a local car, on only its third owner.
• For sale at no reserve on Bring a Trailer, this Peugeot’s auction ends December 15.
Part of the fun in buying a car from an online auction is the vague air of mystery that goes along with it. The first time you drive your new acquisition, it’ll already be yours—no turning back. Happily, today’s pick from auction site Bring A Trailer comes with some helpful first-hand driving notes, as we’ve just popped across town to take this delightful little Peugeot coupe for a spin.
You’ll have to act fast as there are just three days to go, and there’s no reserve for this listing on Bring a Trailer—which like Car and Driver is part of Hearst Autos. Bidding currently sits at just $4000, which is something of a bargain for such a fun and quirky machine.
The Peugeot 204 was launched in 1965 in Paris and quickly became the bestselling car in France. It was a compact front-wheel-drive car, sensibly packaged and available in a number of body styles, including a cabriolet.
This 1968 model is a coupe, which rides on a wheelbase slightly shorter than the 204 sedan. The 204 was a Pininfarina design, but a very restrained one. Peugeot is a much more conservative company than rival Citroën, and the 204 was basically France’s Honda Accord. Buying a two-door version meant that you were still respectable, but perhaps wanted to show a little independence.
The small French car everyone is most familiar with is the Citroën 2CV, which is utterly unlike anything from Peugeot. A 2CV is like driving around in the result of a ménage à trois between an umbrella, and accordion, and a lawnmower. Fun, but weird. This 204 coupe is far more dignified. In its day, this cat-faced little coupe would have been a thoroughly refined choice.
Now on its third owner, a locally respected collector with an ever-revolving stable of interesting machinery, this Peugeot is an original Victoria car and has always lived in the mild climate of southwestern British Columbia. It has a little wear and tear but is overall a well-preserved and mechanically sound example.
Its 53-hp 1.1-liter four-cylinder cranked over on the second try, and the car glided away from a rather cramped parking space, wedged between an Intermeccanica Speedster and a double-parked Ural motorcycle and Fiat 600 Jolly.
The ride is very French: comfort comes first, and handling comes second. Fifty-three horsepower doesn’t seem much, but the column-mounted shifter is easy to row, and the little Pug’ carries speed well. It’s quite stable as the road widens out and speeds increase, and would be a pleasure on a road trip. Visions of a picnic basket on the backseat and a pleasant companion riding shotgun swim into the imagination.
You’d likely have your pick of willing passengers, as this car turned heads and drew smiles all along our drive. Vancouver is crammed with high-dollar machinery (it has one of the most successful Rolls-Royce dealerships in the world), but this vintage French coupe outclasses the lot. Luxury, as Coco Chanel once said, is the opposite of vulgarity, and a 204 Coupe bears the saying out.
With some recent mechanical sorting and a host of spares included, this 204 could be the budget-friendly fashion find you’re looking for.
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