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  • Paul Hardiman created a new group
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    Peugeot 304

    Peugeot 304 1969-1980
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Slip-sliding away

    1991 Peugeot 405 SRi
    Owned by Sam Dawson (sam.dawson)
    Time owned 6 months
    Miles this month 350
    Cost this month £172

    Previously Shredded, incorrectly fitted cambelt rescued just in time

    Car #1991 / #Peugeot-405-SRi / #Peugeot-405 / #Peugeot / #1991-Peugeot-405 /

    Engine-related disaster averted, I got down to the business of enjoying the Pug 405. I knew thanks to Barry Annells’ inspection that there was a great big list of things that needed fixing, mainly lightly corroded hoses, but they could wait. The weather was glorious, and it was a good feeling to have a car that I could just jump into and drive for the hell of it.

    The SRi really does fulfil the original hot-hatch brief (yes, I know it’s not a hatchback, but you know what I mean) in that it’s a genuine all-rounder serving to remind how important they were to Eighties motorists. Unlike my old Quantum, it doesn’t leak in the rain or beach itself on bumpy roads. And unlike the BMW it replaced, it’s not a needlessly complicated, stubborn piece of over-engineering that threatens to cost me a small fortune every time I fire it up.

    I exhibited it at the PSA X-Rally at Burleigh House, where it was made to feel at home alongside things like Citroën DSs and CXs. I drove it to one of the UK’s biggest antiques and collectors’ fairs, where it seemed equally at home alongside the predictable Volvo estates. And then, one morning in May, I set off for a twisting, motorway-avoiding drive to Warwickshire and the National Slot Car Festival at Gaydon. Yes, I know. There’s a good reason why Phil gets me to do the model reviews.

    While blasting through rural Northamptonshire, enjoying the Peugeot attributes of neat body control and communicative steering, I piled into a deserted, slightly damp roundabout somewhere near Daventry and promptly left at the wrong exit on a trajectory of understeer. Recalling a conversation I’d had with former 405 SRi owner Keith Adams, they’re very tyre-sensitive and while not as tail-happy as a 205 GTi 1.9, will still quite happily spit you into a ditch if you’re not suitably careful.

    Inspecting the tyres in the car park of the British Motor Museum, I realised I’d been an idiot. I was so concerned about rescuing the engine that I’d neglected to notice that the tyres were all mismatched, worn, cracked and quite possibly decades old. A chat with a 205 Rallye owner revealed that the optional steel wheels on my 405 were essentially the same items, and nowadays Falken ZE914s do a better job at wet-weather grip than the original-spec Michelins, thanks to increased silica content in the rubber compound, especially if I fancy a spot of road-rallying.

    Apex Tyres in Peterborough duly fitted a set, and they proved themselves worthy on another long trip, to the British Touring Car Championship round at Snetterton. Next job? Sorting the rust in the driver’s-side sill and replacing a main fuel pipe. But at least it goes round corners properly now.

    A new set of properly matched tyres should help tame the 405’s understeer. SRi proves its dynamic worth on country roads.
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Healing wounds 1991 Peugeot 405 Sri

    Car #1991 / #Peugeot-405-SRi / #Peugeot-405 / #Peugeot / #1991-Peugeot-405 /

    Owned by Sam Dawson (sam_dawson)
    Time owned Eight months
    Miles this month 40
    Costs this month £150
    Previously Refreshed the tyres after a scary drive

    You won’t see me doing much driving over the course of the next few issues. Unfortunately, just a week or so after fitting the new Falken tyres so I could enjoy some fun summer drives, I injured my left shoulder. Incapable of driving for a month, the Peugeot just sat in my garage.

    By the time my arm was out of its sling and I’d got enough movement back to turn a steering wheel and change gear, autumn was fast approaching with its promise of rain and road dirt. So thoughts turned to the rusty driver’s-side sill section and the fuel pipe running through it where the post-purchase inspection had found corrosion. I booked the 405 back in to the Bourne Citroën Centre and told Barry Annells to take his time, because I wouldn’t be driving for pleasure again any time soon.

    More than a month later, both myself and the car are much better. Alarmingly, the rust appeared to have gone all the way through the sill at the back corner of the rear door jamb. However, when Barry removed the fuel pipe to attack the sill, it turned out the serious rust had skirted around it rather than through it. It turned out that the pipe just had a coating of surface rust that looked worse than it was.

    Barry and son Peter cut out the offending corner section, fabricated a new sill section, welded it in and treated the whole sill to a new coat of anti-rust paint. Thankfully the rot hadn’t climbed into the Topaz Blue section, which might have made respraying awkward. While away from the car, the fuel pipe was de-rusted. With the rust addressed and the underside of the car coated with Waxoyl, it’s ready to enjoy again – as a celebratory blast through Rutland proved.

    Next up will be addressing the spongy brakes, and sorting out the dent in the front wing, the only remaining evidence of the crash that saw it confined to a barn for 10 years. In preparation for that, Barry found a rare under-headlight plastic strip during a parts-sourcing trip to Holland, to replace the cracked part on mine. The wing will need straightening first, but everything’s coming together very nicely. I wish I could say the same of me, but at least I now have the option of driving to my umpteenth hospital appointment in Eighties Franco-Italian style.

    An autumnal blast provided Sam and his Pug with some much-needed post-layup exertion. Rust needed only repairing and respraying.
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  •   Sam Dawson reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Pop… bang… ouch! 1991 Peugeot 405 Sri

    Car #1991 / #Peugeot-405-SRi / #Peugeot-405 / #Peugeot / #1991-Peugeot-405 /

    Owned by Sam Dawson, news editor (sam_dawson)
    Time owned 10 months
    Miles this month 13
    Costs this month £22
    Previously Halted the spread of the sill rust

    It all started so straightforwardly. After the NEC Classic Motor Show, where the Peugeot Sport Club invited me to the 405’s 30th anniversary bash at Prescott in summer 2018, I thought I’d make sure all was well under the bonnet. I’m in the middle of moving house at the moment so I’m a little preoccupied, plus it’s all too easy to neglect your classic in the middle of winter when a quick glance out of the window can suddenly take the shine off any weekend-drive plans.

    Anyway, I’d planned to drive the Peugeot to KartMania at Silverstone (more news on this some other time) with half a mind to taking a long diversion via Ryton-on-Dunsmore, where the car was made, on the way home. The Rootes-era factory has long since been replaced by Jaguar Land Rover’s slick Special Vehicles department, but I figured it would still be a great destination anyway.

    Noticing the coolant level was low and with the stark warnings I’d put in my own 205 GTi buyers’ guide the other month about looking after the XU engine still fresh in my mind, I fired up the 405 and headed to Halfords to buy some more. It ran fine all the way there, but the fuel gauge needle was dropping a lot. Oh well, probably just finding its feet, it had been a while.

    It first coughed at a big motorway roundabout, a sudden cutting-out. The needle dropped yet further. A few splutters later and the cabin was full of pungent petrol fumes. With the fuel gauge now red-lining, the car having gone through £10-worth of fuel in little more than 10 miles, I pulled into the office car park and popped the bonnet. And promptly got a jet of neat petrol in the face. The old fuel hoses running from the underbody lines into the injection system itself were perished. Then I remembered another thing I’d written in the guide, about oil and petrol ingress into the distributor. I opened everything and let the petrol evaporate.

    Replacing the fuel hoses is the sort of job covered in the Haynes manual with, ‘Unfasten the jubilee clips. Remove old hoses. Replace’. The reality is a little different of course. It’s more like ‘Rummage around in the dark behind engine. Accidentally snap battery terminal cover with trapped elbow. Swear. Remove clip by mangling with screwdriver. Free hose by slicing with craft knife. Stab self in finger. Swear. Get petrol all over hands. Swear.’ But I got there in the end. I missed the drive to Ryton, but it snowed anyway.

    Speaking of leaks, there’s a minor one somewhere in the power steering system, so I’m giving this new Prestone Power Steering Fluid & Stop Leak a go. Working on a similar principle to the puncturehealing Slime I put in my mountain-bike tyres, it’s got an additive in it that promises to relubricate hardened seals in danger of perishing. It may not be a full-on cure, but it’s worth a try, especially because I need to get the driver’s side front wing straightened out before the 405’s 30th birthday party. Oh, and move house…

    Replacing the fuel lines wasn’t quite as easy as the workshop manual hinted. Perished lines meant unwelcome fuel spraying.
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  •   votren911 reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    votren911 updated the picture of the group Peugeot 204
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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Vitro updated the cover photo for Peugeot 204
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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 3 years ago

    FORGOTTEN HERO #Peugeot-204 #1965 #1976

    Sochaux’s Sixties swinger. Andrew Roberts looks fondly at Peugeot’s first-ever (and little known here) FWD car.

    If you conducted a straw poll with British classic enthusiasts as to what was the first ever front-wheel drive Peugeot, it is almost certain that the answers would be divided between the 205 and, from the more mature, the 104, with occasional reference to the 305.

    Today, the #Peugeot 204 is almost forgotten, despite the fact that, when it debuted on 23 April 1965, it caused a minor sensation. This was not only due to it being the first small Peugeot saloon since the 1930s – the 1948-1960 203 was physically imposing despite being powered by an 1290cc engine – but also because it was the first front-wheel drive car from the Sochaux factory.

    Such a lack of familiarity with the 204 is understandable given that British sales were hampered by import duties. The 204 may have been ‘nice to drive, economical and safe’ (the tone of the early English language brochure is much understated), but the UK price of a new Peugeot was inflated to £992 4s 1d, a sum that might have otherwise bought you a Ford Zephyr 6. The only two comparable FWD rivals to the Peugeot were the equally new Triumph 1300 and the Vanden Plas Princess 1100, but even in such company a 204 was an expensive proposition. The French car cost around £80 more than the 1300, while its imitation washable leather door trims compared unfavourably with the walnut-veneered Princess 1100.

    For all that, a select number of British motorists opted for the 204. One reason was that the Peugeot lacked the 1100’s bus-like driving position, and there was also the prestige of owning a foreign car – still a potent form of snobbery in the late 1960s. But what really appealed about the 204 were the qualities that had made it so popular in France – the attention to engineering detail.

    Risky business
    Peugeot’s ambitious plans to build a saloon to compete in the small car market had begun in 1960 with the codename Project D12. At that time, the firm’s cheapest offering was the 403/7, powered by the 203’s 1.3-litre engine.

    The new car had to be less than four metres in length, yet still offer seats for five adults. In addition, the power plant had to be small enough for it to be be classed as a 6CV – at that time, French car tax was based on engine size – but still able to offer a top speed of over 80mph.

    Peugeot adopted front-wheel drive and the new 1130cc aluminium SOHC engine was mounted transversely with gears in the sump à la the Princess 1100. This unit was tilted at an angle of 20º, partly to allow access to the fuel pump and starter motor. The 204 would also be the first Peugeot with allround independent suspension and front disc brakes.

    The development of such a radical car inevitably meant a considerable outlay for the company. Peugeot had little experience with front-wheel drive, while an aluminium transverse engine with integral transmission necessitated a great deal of development, meaning the new model would prove expensive to build. The lion badge had meant quality for generations of motorists and so the 204 would also be built with the skeleton for each side stamped out as a single pressing, as with the 404.

    Development costs were so high that when the 204 was finally launched there was a restricted budget for PR. Financial sacrifices were also evident in an interior that was best described as spartan; very early 204s were started with the press of a button as there was no ignition key.

    To further add to Peugeot’s challenges, Renault had recently been occupying the limelight with their new FWD family car, the 16. There was also the possibility of alienating Peugeot’s traditional customer base – for the average French motor enthusiast of 1965, the name Peugeot bespoke the solid and dependable values of the 404 and 403, to which the 204 bore little or no resemblance aside from sharing a badge.

    At that time, a motorist looking for a small fourdoor saloon might have contemplated a Citroën Ami 6 – also front wheel drive but slightly smaller and occupying a lower taxation class – or the rearengined Renault 10 Major. There was also the option of the larger but more conventional RWD Simca 1300 or such imports as the Fiat 1100, Ford 12M Taunus, Opel Kadett or Auto Union Audi. Compared to these, the 204 was not particularly cheap family transport, despite the quality of its engineering.

    Finding its feet

    Some industry observers note that it was female drivers who first came to appreciate the 204. Although sales were initially slow, by 1969, the 204 succeeded the Renault 4 as France’s most popular new car, a status it held for three years. Factors in the 204’s favour were space (legroom for rear passengers was exceptionally good by the standards of the day), a very precise all-synchromesh steering column gear-change that lacked the strange Z-gate of the larger Peugeots, and first-rate handling and braking. When the light steering and refined engine were added to the equation, it is easy to understand why the 204 was so highly regarded as both a town car and an Autoroute cruiser.

    In October 1965, the four-door Berline was augmented by a Break estate car, and in September of the following year, the 204 was available as a very attractive three-door coupé or an even more desirable convertible. These last two were built on a shorter wheelbase than the standard 204 and boasted a slightly higher top speed and more thrilling dashboard, with three circular dials replacing the usual strip speedometer. However, the use of as many existing components as possible meant for a reasonable price – the drophead cost only 20% more than the saloon – bringing the car within reach of the average suburbanite. And just in case Peugeot customers became worried about an excess of decadence, the 204 was also available as a Fourgonnette van and a basic Luxe saloon that was often used by driving schools and the French army.

    By the end of the 1960s, the 204 was a ubiquitous sight in France, be it complementing a 504 with two-car families, serving as a patrol car for the Gendarmerie Nationale or, in plain black saloon form, being polished by a recalcitrant youth enduring his Service Militaire. The Peugeot looked contemporary yet low-key, with Pininfarina styling at its most subtle. Here was the ideal transport for the motorist who feared being thought nouveau riche as much as they found a Simca 1300 to be too transatlantic, a Renault 8/10 too unrefined and an Ami 6 just too surreal.

    The diesel version of #1967 further expanded the model’s popularity – at that time, it was the smallest oil-burning car in the world – as did the advent of the more upmarket 304 derivative two years later. When 204 production finally ceased in 1976, Peugeot had made more than 1.6 million examples, although it was not a major success in the company’s overseas markets when compared to the 403, 404 and 504. More than 70% of cars produced were sold in the home market, so it was never a common sight in the UK – the first Peugeot to be seen in significant numbers on British roads is the almost equally overlooked 104 – but its importance to the company cannot be overstated.

    The 204 spawned generations of FWD cars bearing the lion badge and it firmly established the notion that the terms ‘small family saloon’ and ‘exceptional quality’ need not be mutually exclusive. Back in 1966, Motor Sport magazine decreed that the Peugeot was ‘one of the most significant small cars of the 1960s. In comparison, other FWD cars feel and sound like tramcars’. And that was not excluding the Mini and the Princess 1100.

    ‘Move over, mate.’ It was female drivers who really turned the 204 into a success.
    Peugeot was insistent that family cars needn’t be dull and unstylish.

    A soft-top version became available a year after launch.

    ‘It was female drivers who first came to appreciate the 204’

    ‘Fast, French and expensive,’ proclaimed the UK advertising. Unfortunately, import taxes made this statement all too true for British motorists.

    Comfy enough for touring the provinces, but small enough for city streets. Convertible version was built on a shorter wheelbase than the standard 204.

    Unfortunately, hubby had to ride in the boot.
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