Peugeot. 1920 : QUADRILETTE

Peugeot. 1920 : QUADRILETTE

Given Peugeot's struggling financial situation at the end of the First World War, the brand decided to create the Quadrilette, a popular and economical model. Perfectly suited to post-war conditions, the Quadrilette showed the same spirit as the Baby had in the 1910s. Peugeot thus became the first of the large French manufacturers to offer a popular small car.

The brand new Quadrilette (type 161) caused a sensation at the 1920 Brussels Motor Show, where it made its public debut. An innovation at the time, the press had discovered it in December 1919 in Beaulieu. It was an ultra light vehicle, weighing under 350 kilos in order to benefit from the reduced taxation applicable to cars in the cyclecar category (vehicles under 1100 cc paid annual tax of only 100 F).

With its very narrow axles (narrower at the rear than at the front) the car could seat two people in a tandem configuration. The 4-cylinder 667 cc engine had a non-detachable cylinder head and delivered 9.5 hp with a maximum speed of 60 km/h. The transmission had a 3-speed transaxle without differential. There were no shock absorbers fitted to the suspension.

In addition to its "toy car" appeal, the vehicle's practical aspects made it popular. An all purpose vehicle which was easy to handle, it was also very economical - fuel consumption was five litres per hundred kilometres. It appealed to a young market, but was also bought by those wanting a second car. It became fashionable and seduced stars like Mistinguett. It also raced in competitions, hill races and regularity rallies, and was the winner in the cyclecar category in the 1923 Motor Tour de France.

The cyclecar became the "voiturette". The 1921 type 161 E model (E for enlarged), was fitted with two seats, no longer arranged in tandem but side by side, fifteen centimetres apart. Under pressure from the competition, in particular from the Citroën 5 CV, the Quadrilette was replaced in 1923 by the type 172. It was wider and the passenger compartment was more comfortable, it was now a real two-seater, with a slightly shorter wheelbase butwith identical front and rear axles. In 1924 a new limited edition model was launched - the "Quadrillette Grand Sport" (type 172 BS), equipped with a more powerful 720 cc engine.  Between 1921 and 1924, 12,305 quadrilettes were manufactured (all models), equating to 31% of Peugeot's production for this period.

Fitted with similar mechanics, the vehicle which would popularly be known as the Peugeot 5 CV succeeded the quadrilette in 1924. It also met with great success.

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