Peugeot 404. Harmonious jubilee, eternally classic

Auto Motor Klassiek » Articles » Peugeot 404. Harmonious jubilee, eternally classic

The year 2020 should have been dominated by numerous anniversaries. 1970, for example, produced illustrious automobiles, but ten years earlier the world was introduced to the car to be considered for the title of jubilee of the year. The Peugeot 404 breathed harmony and balance. In addition, it came from a larger series of Pininfarina models of that time. It is high time to describe the 404 extensively online.

In May 1960 Peugeot launched the 404. The first -04 Peugeot lifted the French manufacturer to a higher level in terms of figures, until then Sochaux still a fairly modest role in sales statistics. In fact, technically there was not even much new under the sun. The engine was a descendant of the powerplants in the 203 and 403, and was mounted tilted 45 degrees. The front train was modern for that time, with for example independent suspension and McPherson struts.

Detail changes and the arrival of luxury versions

The 404 quickly greeted changes in detail, especially in the interior. In the 404s, the Peugeot 404 was also available with the thermostable Hydrovac brakes and the petrol engines hailed a five-bearing crankshaft. Furthermore, Kugelfischer injection engine was a nice addition to the 404 program. In terms of transmission, the 404 buyer could choose from the four-speed gearbox and the Coupleur Jaeger semi-automatic. Later in the XNUMXs, it was also possible to order the XNUMX with a three-speed ZF automatic transmission.

SL, Cabriolet and Coupé

The most luxurious Berline was the Super Luxe. That came into the books at the end of 1960. That was a comfortable version with, for example, extra chrome and a truly beautiful interior. In addition, it got the XCKF1 1.6 injection engine with 86 DIN-HP and Kugelfischer mechanism. In fact, the heart of the range was always the GT, which got the 1.618 cc engine. The Coupé and Cabriolet were the extravaganza, which were in the list with both carburation and XCKF1 engine. These Franco-Italian co-productions were beautiful, the bodies came from Turin and were united with the technology in France.

Family expansion

The beautiful 404 was also expanded in another area. The Break entered the range as Commerciale and Familiale. A remarkably spacious series of station wagons, which got a reinforced rear suspension by the installation of two coil springs per side. The Commerciale got the XB2 1.468 cc petrol engine, the diesel was the 1.8 XD85, which were also fitted in the Parisian taxis. The Familiale was equipped with the 1.618 cc power source and the XD85 Indénor was also available there. A deluxe version of the Break, the Super Luxe, was also released later. Back to the diesel engine, De Berline got (later) the 1.946 cc XD 88 diesel, the 1.8 was never fitted (except for the taxi version mentioned). It remained for the station versions.

Fixed value

Renovation continued to maintain sales. The Peugeot 404 thus remained at the heart of the range of the French manufacturer, even after the smaller 1965 was introduced in 204. The 404 hailed a rear stabilizer, a new clock shop and some cosmetic changes (sheet metal between the rear lights on the Berline). In addition, Peugeot presented the 404 Pick-Up (1.8 diesel and 1.5 petrol) with canvas hood, a recipe that was available in Africa long after the European production stop. Speaking of Africa: it was there where Peugeot showed that it was a very serious rally player. In 1963, 1966,1967, 1968 and 404 the Peugeot 404 was the winning car in the Safari Rally, and connoisseurs know how tough that rally was. In addition, Peugeot also built the Record Diesel based on the 72 Coupé, with which an average speed of 160 kilometers per hour was reached at Montlhéry in XNUMX hours (non-stop).

Changes and entry

Peugeot's belief in the 404 remained, the derivatives also hailed changes. Technically, the 404 continued to be fine-tuned. For example, a more powerful injection engine was introduced (XCKF2, now with 97 DIN-HP). The XB2 1.468 cc engine was the "entry-level" 404/8 Confort, which was new for model year 1968. In addition, it fell into a lower tax class in France. The Confort was a stripped-down version with the old tape measure dashboard without cooling temperature gauge and bumpers without bumpers. It did get disc brakes at the front, the first 404. That application was later applied to all petrol versions. The diesel kept the drum brakes all around. Meanwhile, the old shifting pattern had also changed. The steering gear could now be operated via an H pattern.

Changes and retrenchments

The 1968 was launched in 504, but the popularity of the Peugeot 404 was initially not affected. However, the injection engines disappeared, and later also the 404/8 Confort and Super Luxe. 1968 was also the year in which Peugeot stopped producing the coupé and the convertible. Peugeot still took the 404 seriously and continued to make subtle changes, which, incidentally, could not always be seen in isolation from retrenchment. Moreover, the break and the Familiale were allowed to retire. In the end, French production of the Berline continued until the spring of 1975, elsewhere in the world (for example in Argentina) it took a few more years to say goodbye.

More than a building block

We say goodbye, at the same time it is impossible to say goodbye to this beautiful 404. The classic forever was distinguished, and just like its type number in balance. The Peugeot 404 could be seen on the streets in many capacities. It is not without reason that many entrepreneurs, business travelers, civil-law notaries, doctors, professionals or taxi drivers drove with this representative and dosed chic appearance. With 404 million units built, the Peugeot 2,8 became more than a building block within the program of the French. The 404 definitely anchored the brand's strong position in the middle class. And became the basis on which Peugeot could rise in the speed of the nations. The 404 is a monument that deserved a much better anniversary year than 2020.


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  1. Die 404 …………… .. Early 70s. My neighbor across the street had one in our Moerwijk street. And what a strange noise the engine made. At my father's VW: Get in and “taggetag zoom” and with this Peu neighbor got in did something in the car, nothing happened and after an eternity the 404 came to life, with a big smoke and a rrrrrrrrrrr sound it drove away. Thus my first diesel experience.
    Remember that same neighbor had a Borward, rèndèndèndèn. At one point the Borgward was discarded, stopped in the street and in my experience we, like “street pics”, played the car and expertly “demolished” the car.
    I later found an Indénor in the hold of the Ariadne cruiser that my father later sailed.

  2. The 404 or the French Mercedes / German Peugeot. From a location (Alsace) where French ingenuity and German quality come together. The best of both worlds. (And that is actually still the case with Peugeot).

  3. What a bear of a car like a 404. Nice and steady on the road and good handling.
    Afterwards I always regretted that I got rid of that 404. Then the 504, also a wonderful car.
    With those Peugeot's you floated over the road. If you did not put those cars under extreme stress, they would last for years without any problems. Just a nice car.
    The French car drives wonderfully relaxed. The French can build a nice car.

  4. Nice article in these dark times. Unfortunately, our 404 has also stood still for most of the year this year. In July we occasionally took our French lady for a self-organized ride with a small group of old-timer friends through the beautiful Limburg countryside. From Hotel Asteria in Venray, where the Knapsacks Tour of the Venray Oldtimer City foundation normally leaves every year. Hope that they can pick this up again carefully in 2021.
    Furthermore, the lady has been out of the garage for short journeys in our own area (North Holland), when she has to keep moving.

    I wish everyone a healthy 2021.

    PS is it possible to order your magazine online containing this article about the Peugeot 404? Because with the current measures, purchase from our bookshop is unfortunately not possible for the time being.

  5. Oh well, the 70s, At our place the Ford 12M was exchanged at the Peugeot dealer for a new Scaldia, at the same dealer .. That an eastern blocker steers differently than a Ford may be clear, but if you talk about a potato with the Scaldia you had a good chance to launch with your head against the roof, if you were still on the asphalt .. Anyway, after 3 months this was exchanged for an almost new 404! Super what a car and what a difference! Dad was very proud, white body, dark red velvet upholstery, and .. a floor ghost! You won't say .. but the previous owner is a man of standing
    and also Baron did not necessarily want a steering gear from the factory, and so the Peu became a special car for us with a floor lever and built. 1971. Those were great times!

    • True indeed, there was even an accessory option, floor switch. only it switched just the other way than most were used to, it took some getting used to. 1 of our mechanics had it in his 404

  6. Hello, I still drive a 404 from 1966 every day.
    Can still keep up very well with daily traffic.
    Still a great car, it is a car from the dry region of France,
    no rust.
    Greetings Peter Visser

  7. The 404 has been in my life since 1964.
    From the time an uncle bought his first in 1964, I was in love with this car.
    From 1975 I owned one myself, first my uncle's used one.
    In 1977 I bought a "new" 404 built in 1973 with only 9000 km on the round clock.
    I have this to this day… Still in perfect condition, both bodywork and technology.

  8. Good morning. My father bought a diesel version of the 1968 in 404. We had to go to Doetinchem near HoegenDijkhof to pick up the thing. This company “just” had a side company in Dronten.
    Living in Dronten, I went to school by bike. In our yard was 1 MassyFerguson and a few farm wagons. Pre-heat in winter before starting the engine.
    With the Peugeot, the Opel series came to an end.

  9. I ridden 1969 different 1970 Peugeots during the late 2 early 404's.
    They were great on the road; in the bends they could not get out, provided that you slow down
    for half of the turn in question and immediately accelerate afterwards. They shot through and a very
    quick follow-up was one of the possibilities.
    They were very good and strangely enough you were always behind a slightly crooked steering wheel.
    Unfortunately, if they started to rust, you better get rid of them after half a year. Very unfortunate, because
    they were technically just as solid as they appeared.

    Simon Venhuizen.

  10. In 1992 in Brisbane Australia bought a Peugeout 600 (from 404) for 1972 Australian dollars. With the two of us drove through the outback of Queensland, and finally arrived in Townsviile, and drove back to Brisbane in one night (1100 km). This was too much for our loyal friend, who also needed a fully replenished oil sump when filling up. Eventually he puffed his last breath on arrival, before the last traffic light… but he was a tough rascal.

    • Nice article!
      What was the first gear shift pattern of the first series? As a kid I knew the steering gear of the Opel Rekord, but that didn't get away in the 404, I remember.

  11. My late father drove several 504 at a later age,
    late 70s-early 80s.
    Don't forget the English versions of the 404.
    The Austin Cambridge and the Morris Oxford, and the more expensive ones
    Austin Westminster.

  12. what else can one add to this, except that on a personal level: I got my time certificate in a 404 from 1962 that year, with that unusual fourth gear shifting pattern, off and up I believe. And my dad had an identical 404 to the photo, same color, and he was very fond of that

  13. It was my 2nd car and in 2 words a great car!
    One problem, the rust devil! But driving was great and certainly not a lazy car for that time.
    I have had the whole series, except for the 104 and 604, and I dare say that the quality of Peugeot was better then than at the moment! In Africa they were also happy with it in the 70s and 80s!
    They got a second life there after being written off here!

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