Peugeot 1929 : 201

Peugeot  1929 : 201

Peugeot's antidote to the slump

The 201, introduced at the Paris exhibition in 1929, was to play a pivotal role in Peugeot's development. It enabled the company to survive the economic slump. The first car from the Sochaux site to be mass produced, it was the basis for all Peugeot cars produced in the 1930's. In addition, it was the first car to be labelled according to a new system i.e. a three digit number with a middle zero.

Robust, economical and reasonably priced, it's popularity was soon apparent. With four 1122 cc L-head cylinders and 23 hp it could reach speeds of 80 km/h.

In September 1931 the 201 Comfort was introduced. This was a variation on the 201 in that it had a front axle with independent wheels for improved road-holding, comfort and driving pleasure. A world first for a mass produced car. It was produced at the same time as the model with a beam axle. The 201 C was also wider and longer. In 1932, under the supervision of the ACF (French automobile club), a 201 drove from Paris-Bordeaux-Paris using less than 8 litres of fuel per 100 km.

Another innovation from the Peugeot brand was a more rigid “bloctube” chassis which was fitted to the 201 in 1933. This consisted of tubular side members and cross members, whilst a new radiator grille with wind-breaks was unveiled at the Paris exhibition.

At the exhibition of 1934, the 201 and the entire Peugeot range abandoned its angular body shape for a new Peugeot style whose “beaver tail” rear had a luggage compartment which opened from the outside. In addition, its new four cylinder 1.3 litre 28 hp engine elevated it to the 7 CV category. The latter had a crankshaft with three bearings (as opposed to two), which increased the engine's service life.

Produced up to the exhibition of 1936, there were over 140 000 201 cars produced, including all different versions. However, the 201 name was not to disappear completely as the 301 was to be renamed the 201 M. This was to be the last Peugeot fitted with an L-head engine until it was discontinued at the end of 1937, confirming the end of the 201 model.

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