Peugeot 203 was a family car produced by Peugeot between 1948 and 1960. At that time it had already had a development period of five years. Volume production was initially hampered by strikes and post-war material shortages. But production got underway late in 1948, when buyers took delivery of 1949 units from the beginning of 203.
The 203 was Peugeot's first new model after the Second World War
During the twelve-year production period, almost 700.000 203's of all variants were made at the factory in Sochaux. Between the 202 cessation of production in 1949 and the launch of the 403 in 1955, the 203 was the only model produced by Peugeot.
The 203 was the first production Peugeot with a self-supporting body
The car was surprisingly modern and bore a clear resemblance to the American Chevrolet Fleetline fastback.
The four-door sedan was the best-selling version. But from 1950 onwards, a comfortable four-door version (Commerciale) and a six-seater (Familiale) with three rows of seats were also offered on a wheelbase that had been extended by 20 cm. By making the effort to extend the wheelbase of the station wagon and family versions, the company set a tradition that it would follow through several successive generations of large Peugeot family types such as the 404 and 504.
In October 1952, the Paris Motor Show welcomed a modified 203 with now hinged side windows in the front of the front doors and an enlarged rear window on the sedan versions. This upgrade also removed the speedometer from the center of the dashboard to an ergonomically better position directly in front of the driver.
The protruding fuel cap was visible until 1953. (From 1953 it was recessed and protected by a cover.) (Black and White) Publicity photos from the early 203s cunningly prevented the rear of the car from being shown from the right. That changed with 1953s shown at the XNUMX Motor Show. After which the until then protruding fuel cap was sunk a few centimeters lower in the rear wing and received the protection of an opening valve that was placed flush with the body line.
In addition to improvements to the existing cars, Peugeot introduced a two-door 1952 coupe at the end of 203. Although this was not as successful as hoped and would quietly disappear from the brochures a year later. During the production of the 203, there were small series of different convertible and coupe conversions produced by external specialists together with Peugeot. Although the removal of the roof from an early monocoque design required extensive body reinforcement.
For a number of years, the front of the car's nose bore an angular, forward-leaning chrome lion on the bonnet - the lion image was Peugeot's trademark. That was removed for safety reasons for 1959 and the logo was incorporated into a baguette-shaped, flatter emblem on the nose of the car.