The contrast is great. I have just exchanged the asphalt jungle of the A2 for lovely Old Dutch. I drive over dikes that form a beautiful alliance with the lovely landscape around Portengen and Kockengen. The last leg of a long drive feels like driving in an oasis. It is the appropriate prelude to what is to come: the 50th anniversary of the Peugeot 104, which is being celebrated together with the 40th anniversary of the Talbot Samba.
The navigation on board says that the destination has been reached. And the end point of the route is the Wagendijk, where the farm of the Segers family is the habitat for the double anniversary. The Opel is in good company, because two Peugeot 504 Convertibles are parked a little further away. The Lion Brand sun kings operate today in the shadow of the forgotten history of the 104 and the Samba. And that history is also my history, because I have a very big weakness for both models. Ever since they were born fifty and forty years ago.
Regardless of version and body style, the 104 is understated, but if you look closely you will see what masterpiece the designers created at the time. The technical solutions and the striking body structure impress, although the owners will never shout that in the days. Modesty adorns man and car, bearing in mind the Peugeot 104. And that, while its basis served for several models from the same group house. And we are reaping the benefits of that today.
It is wonderful to see the 104 and her relatives today. The Sambas are very beautiful, the only LNA in the company is in a fine patina condition. The 104s, in particular, present a cross-section of their development within the rural setting. There are two four-door sedans, there are a number of five-door ones, there are early and late three-door versions. The survivors show why it is unjust that the 104 was undervalued for years. That is also one of the reasons for its rarity. And that also applies to the Samba and the LN/LNA. It's been a long time since I saw three of those captivating Sambas together
Yes, today's collection represents a rare category. Most disappeared. Sometimes the repair costs exceeded the value of the car, which plummeted for years. “Invest once and you could use it for years to come”, I hear. See there the secret of some survivors. And damn, they are slowly but surely getting more prominent on the classic map. Yes, in modesty, but they are not forgotten anymore. And it's really not just its rarity that makes the 104 so special. It was already that way at the time of its introduction in 1972.
I shake hands with Chris van Haarlem again. His car plays the leading role in the report that we made because of the 104th anniversary of the XNUMX. The anniversary is also part of that. Chris and I catch up, also about the beautiful day we had together in Friesland. I also speak with Arie-Jan Vreeken, Leen Rozeboom and Freek Aberson, celebrities from the classic Peugeot world. And with even more enthusiastic visitors, such as André Reus. Suddenly my West Frisian accent is back, that's how it goes. The owner of the beautiful red Samba convertible comes from a real Simca nest in Venhuizen. He and his wife make it a nice weekend. Today the anniversary, tomorrow out in Neighbors with the Simca-Club. Wonderful, such days. And wonderful, to talk to so many nice people.
Ellis Blase - PR manager and sponsorship of Peugeot Nederland, among others - comes together with her father, the nice man who passed on the Peugeot gene. Ellis turned her childhood sweetheart into her profession. During the corona years we had regular online contact, but we last saw each other in person at the Competition at Soestdijk Palace in 2019. We have a lot to discuss, and the click is as usual.
It takes place in a pleasant atmosphere of small scale and friendliness. And speaking of atmosphere: the event was really well organized in collaboration with Peugeot Club Nederland. Organizer Jan-Pieter Reitsma of the 104 register has a heart for the 104 and the Samba, and you can see and feel that in everything. Down to the smallest details, which do not present themselves for a moment in an atmosphere of coercion.
The blackboard, on which visitors are welcomed with chalk, fits exactly into the picture. There are stickers and advertising photos. There is a real anniversary edition for every visitor, there is a banquet with the image of a 104 and a Samba. And the catering is also excellent in other areas. The decoration is modest, but special enough not to escape attention. I see the Peugeot 104 scale model from Polistil, exactly the same as the one my parents gave me on my seventh birthday. Broken, but count on keeping the gray 104 with me for a very long time.
There is no tour on the agenda, but Arie-Jan Vreeken still takes a number of owners of a 104 and a Samba in tow. At the Kockengense Molen, on the dike roads, between the willows and the rapeseed in the verge, he makes jewels of photos that aptly reflect the idyll of the area and the day. Jelle ten Harkel drives the Peugeot CC, and Arie-Jan hits every shot. After this, the day moves nicely towards the end, everyone enjoyed a cozy event. The typical light metal sound predominates at the farewell, the fine and light-footed engine sounds accompany most visitors gently on their way home.
After the French little ones' birthday party, I drive to Lopik, to get a cup of coffee at Ron Moës. He and his cousin Jan Hendriks drove 104 cars in the distant past. That's what we're talking about, of course. It's fun, of course the visit runs out. After a last sip of coffee I get back in the Opel for a ride of more than two hours. The pleasant ride is supported by the peaceful dawn and the beautiful impressions of a ditto day. And because of my undying love for the 104 and his family, who celebrated the birthday that suits them at a nice event. They took me back to one of my childhood sweet shops. They did it grandly, in graceful modesty.
In AMK 8-2022 you can read all about the Peugeot 104 GL from Chris van Haarlem, the anniversary event and the fiftieth anniversary of the Peugeot 104
Many thanks to Ellis, Jan-Pieter, Chris, Arie-Jan and Leen