23 Jun 2014
Faded beauty on the street
I spotted this faded beauty on the street early morning in Munich a few weeks ago.It's a Peugeot 504 convertible.A fairly rare car nowadays.The 504 was an very succesful car in saloon,ute,wagon and convertible versions.It was good looking,well built and and you could not kill it with an axe.It was a really big seller in South America,Africa and the Middle East as well as in France.It was locally assembled in many of those markets.
It also enjoyed rally success particularly in the East African Safari Rally.
The 504 was styled by Pininfarina as was the rather chic convertible version.I have an idea that Pininfarina actually made the convertible version which came with 4 cylinder and V6 petrol engine options.
In its day the 504 convertible was seen as stylish car-not a Bentley,E-type Jaguar or a Ferrari convertible competitor in the glamour stakes- but certainly a worthy conveyance for transporting a minor starlet to a premiere at the Cannes film festival.
I was responsible for sales and marketing for the Australian importer of Peugeot through the 1980s and we took over the importation and assembly from Renault Australia in 1981.We never sold the 504 as we started by assembling the 505 -the 504's successor-from CKD kits at an assembly plant in Enfield,Sydney.Although when we took over the distribution we inherited 25 light green diesel 504 saloons.Now there was absolutely no interest in diesel cars in Australia at that time -petrol was still very cheap - and quite why Renault bought in these 504 diesels I never knew.The naturally aspirated diesel with the quite heavy 504 body was as slow as a wet weekend in Narrabri (an Australian country town).The 0-100 kmh time was way over 25 seconds.Cyclists and even joggers and mothers pushing strollers passed you as you moved away from the traffic lights.I gave the 504 diesels to our country sales and service managers and they clocked up the kilometres on them and somehow we managed to sell them all as used cars.I am sure they were all bought by country people who travelled long distances and were not in a hurry.