Peugeot 604

Peugeot 604
Timelessly elegant. And impressive
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Peugeot 604, an impressive miss

The Peugeot 604 was presented to the public in 1975 at the Geneva Motor Show. Peugeot presented the car, roaring with genuine pride, as the "new, leading and elegant French top model" and buzzed in marketing poetry about "A successful mix of classicism and refinement." The Peugeot 604 therefore had to become a symbol in the style of "Let us make France great again!"

A French top piece

With the introduction of the Peugeot 604, Peugeot returned to the market of top class cars: the large six-cylinder engine. The 604 was the first 6 cylinder Peugeot since the 601 of 1934-1935.

With a six-cylinder engine

That V6 PRV engine was a V6 gasoline engine and was Citroën, Renault and Volvo applied between 1974 and 1998.

The PRV story starts in 1966 when Peugeot and Renault enter into a partnership for sharing certain components. Originally, Renault needed a V6 engine for the luxury Renault 30.

In 1969, La Française de Mécanique (also known as Compagnie Française de Mécanique or simply FM) was announced as the first collaboration. The FM plant was built in Douvrin in northern France. An attempt was made to safeguard employment in an economically deprived area.

That PRV engine is sometimes referred to as the Douvrin engine, but actually that is the name of the 4 cylinder line engines that were produced there at the same time.

In 1971, Volvo became the third partner in the project. All three brands would receive an equal share in the project. Originally it was intended that a V8 would be developed, but this project was canceled to make way for a smaller and more efficient V6 engine. So it was actually a cut V8 and not very economical.

Focused on the top

The car was aimed at that segment of the market in which the large models of Mercedes and BMW had largely divided the cake. At the introduction, the 604 had an 136 horsepower, light-alloy, 2.664 cc V6 gasoline engine with single - or double - carburetor. The car naturally had rear-wheel drive and was equipped with every conceivable luxury of the time. With all those plus points, Peugeot 604 had to conquer its place in the practical top segment of the market.

The 604 where so much was expected was not a commercial success. The press then complained about the inconspicuous styling (which was partly taken over from the 504 from a cost perspective), the lack of technical innovation, the poor performance and (at a later stage) the rust sensitivity.

The Peugeot 604: Thirsty after the oil crisis

In addition, the moment of introduction - after the recession after the oil crisis of 1973 - was also very unfortunate. The market for cars with large engine capacity in France had collapsed at that time. And thirsty big cars - and such an 604 could really run 1 on 6 - fell completely out of the boat

Nevertheless, the 604 from 1979 deserves its place in history by being one of the first production cars to be available with a turbo diesel engine. Mercedes came in 1977 with the first turbo diesel engine in the Mercedes 300SD, but it was sold exclusively in the USA.

After the introduction of the 505 in 1980, sales figures continued to fall and the last 1985 rolled off the line in 604. Total production number is around the 150.000.

At the moment, such a large Peugeot is rare, desirable but limited. Requirements may be set for amounts between the 4.000-5.000 euro!


Give a reaction
  1. There are five in my shed, wonderful touring cars full of character. To be seen again next year at La Fete des Limousines.

  2. Been crazy since childhood… Just like the FIAT 130 and then both in coupé and sedan versions… Delicious low wide square 70's-bins…. ???

  3. Great car that gloriously conquered the highway. Unfortunately again with a lot of hitches: the electric sliding roof and the windows sometimes opened spontaneously or did not close anymore.

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