The Peugeot 404 had one of the longest production lifespan in the history of the automobile. Introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1960, the Pininfarina-styled 404 was initially available in 4-door Saloon (sedan), 5-door Estate (wagon), and 2-door Pickup body configurations. A 2-door Cabriolet was added in 1962 and a 2-door Coupé in 1963. Suspension was by coil springs with hydraulic shock absorbers in the front and a solid axle with Panhard rod at back.
The 404 was fitted with a variety of liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder engines. The base model was powered by a 59-horsepower 1.5-liter inline-four while up-market models were powered by 1.6-liter inline-fours fitted with either a Solex carburetor (71 hp) or Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection (85 hp). A 63-hp 1.9-liter inline-four diesel engine was available as an option as was a 3-speed ZF automatic transmission in lieu of the standard column-mounted manual.
Popular as a taxicab, the Peugeot 404 enjoyed a reputation for durability and value. It was also a popular entry in rally races around the European and African continents. The 404 was manufactured in France from 1960 to 1975 with a production total of 1,847,568 units while the pickup variant was marketed until 1988. The 404 was manufactured under license in various African countries until 1991, which gave this Peugeot model a production cycle of 31 years and a total production of 2,885,374 units.
In 1965, the power of the carburetor-equipped inline-fours was increased from 71 to 76 hp while the fuel-injected engines increased their power output from 81 to 96 hp. To match the increased horsepower, Thermostable hydrovac brakes servo-assisted by a Bendix mechanical vacuum improved the 404’s stopping power. The Super Luxe, coupé and convertible models were fitted with eight-hole wheel covers cells instead of six-hole ones while all 404 models were given reclining front seats.
On December 4, 1965, the British Motor magazine tested a Peugeot 404 Coupé with the 96-hp fuel-injected engine and praised its remarkable performance and beauty. Even with 188 kilograms of driver and test equipment on board, the car posted a 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time of 12.2 seconds, a standing quarter mile of 18.8 seconds, and a top speed of 169.3 km/h. Fuel economy was measured at 8.4 kilometers per liter. The magazine blamed the high British taxes of the Sixties for raising the price of the 404 Coupé to the same expensive level as a Jaguar Mark X but concluded that it was an excellent car.
Le Club 404 of France is currently conducting a worldwide inventory of the remaining 404 Coupé and Cabriolet cars of the 17,223 units originally produced. As of June 1, 2019, 2,331 of these cars have been identified, which accounts for more than 13.5% of the total number of units made. About 1,240 of those 404 Coupé and Cabriolet have associated photographs on the Le Club 404 Register website. If you own or know of any Peugeot 404 model, please log on to the Le Club 404 website and register your classic Peugeot. It would be an honor to feature a Peugeot 404 that is here in the Philippines.