FIFTY years ago a car was launched that heralded the birth of the stylish, high quality
FIFTY years ago a car was launched that heralded the birth of the stylish, high quality small cars that Peugeot is famous for today.
We take front–wheel drive cars for granted now, but half a century ago they were out of the ordinary, revolutionary even.
That meant the 204 was at the forefront of automotive innovation when it was revealed to surprised Peugeot dealers in Paris on April 22, 1965.
Although the stylish Pininfarina–designed saloon appeared relatively conservative, its four–door shape cloaked some true innovations.
After nearly eight years in development, the 204 was the first Peugeot to have the driven wheels at the front. It became the first production Peugeot to have disc brakes at the front and there was independent suspension all round.
But arguably the biggest revolution was in the car’s size. From the end of the Second World War, Peugeots had gradually grown in dimensions.
By the 1960s the French firm was known principally as a large car maker. The models were chic and sophisticated but their price put them out of reach of buyers with more modest budgets.
The 204 changed that and brought Peugeot back to its basic principles with characteristics that still define its range today: stylish, high quality and fun to drive cars that are affordable.