There’s perhaps one single line in the eBay ad for this Peugeot 604 that should see you reaching down the back of your sofa for some loose change. Quite simply, it reads, ‘will be given to the banger boys if it doesn’t sell’. Now really, a car as elegant and exotic as the Peugeot 604 shouldn’t be going anywhere near the ‘banger boys’. Let them play with…oh I don’t know, a Hyundai i10 or something.
If the Peugeot 604 looks like a French 4-door version of the Fiat 130 Coupe, that’s no coincidence – both cars were styled by Pininfarina. And in PetrolBlog’s eyes, these were two of the greatest cars to come out of the Pininfarina studio in the 1970s. It’s also worth remembering that the Peugeot 604 is sandwiched neatly between the Ferrari 308 and Lancia Montecarlo in Pininfarina’s timeline.
The Peugeot 604 is one of those cars that’s so easily forgotten and this is partly down to the fact that it was a commercial flop in the UK. How often have we heard this? Yet another example of a big, soft and French executive car destined for slow sales and rapid depreciation. Perhaps PetrolBlog should write a book on misunderstood French fancies?
Why should we care about the Peugeot 604? Well for a start, it looks rather wonderful. Paint those huge headlights yellow and you’ve got yourself the quintessential 1970s French barge. All it needs is a half-empty packet of Gitanes in the glovebox and some Édith Piaf on the eight-track.
Secondly, it was the first European car to feature a turbodiesel engine. The 2.3-litre turbodiesel was introduced as an option in 1979, partly in response to the Peugeot 604’s reputation for thirst, with most cars fitted with a V6 petrol engine. Sadly for the 604, the diesel unit developed a reputation of its own – one of poor cold weather starting. Not so good if you’re trying to win the heart’s of an already sceptical British market.
Thirdly, there are just 19 Peugeot 604s left on the roads of Britain. And a barge as elegant as the Peugeot 604 shouldn’t be facing extinction.
So what do we know about the Peugeot 604 currently for sale on eBay? Well it’s an early 1977 2.7-litre automatic with 50,000 miles on clock. Is this mileage original? Well who knows, but given the amount of work the old girl requires, it hardly seems to matter.
Amazingly for an old French barge, all the electric work and the engine is ‘sound’. But – and here’s the proverbial big but – the Peugeot 604 is in need of total restoration. It ‘needs a fair bit of welding’ and has ‘rust bubbles as to be expected’.
But let’s concentrate on the positives. It’s brown. It has a wonderful interior. It’s brown. The rear legroom could rival a Skoda Superb. It’s brown. It’s currently only £120. It’s brown. It’s more elegant than most barges on sale today. It’s brown. And it’s rare.
Oh, and did I mention it’s brown?
Do the right thing, head over to eBay and place a cheeky bid on this Peugeot 604. If you’re lucky, you may end up as the highest bidder. Then the fun will really begin. Oh, wait…