Peugeot 1935 : 402

Peugeot 1935 : 402

The Peugeot spindle, a stylistic wind of change

Apart from being one of the flagship models in Peugeot's history, the 402 was also one of their most alluring cars.

The star of the 1935 Paris exhibition the first car in the 02 series was Peugeot's answer to André Citroën's Traction. This was a completely new car and a radical departure from any of the company's previous models. Although it replaced the 401, it became Peugeot's top of the range model after production of the 601 was ceased in the autumn of 1935.

Ultra modern and innovative, the slender, sculpted body with its fleeting shapes is streamlined and elegant. Named the “Sochaux Spindle”, this daring design by Henri Thomas, became part of the aerodynamic movement which was flourishing in the mid 1930's in the United States and Europe. The design was inspired by the 1934 Chrysler Airflow but Peugeot improved the aesthetic aspect. With close-set eyes, hiding behind a convex radiator grille in the form of a shield, the 402's original front end panel was to be the new face of Peugeot.

However, this seductive silhouette which was extended to the entire range up to the war (302, 202 and utility versions), was not the 402's only attribute. With modern mechanics, the car's performance is as fine as its appearance. With its performance, comfort, silent engine and robustness, the 402 was superior to the competition on more than one level.

Under the bonnet was a four cylinder two litre engine with overhead valves together with 55 hp, enabling the car to reach speeds of up to 120 km/h. This was joined to a silent, three gear gearbox or a four gear electro-mechanical Cotal gearbox as an option. The customer had the choice of no less than seven bodywork versions with three cabriolet versions including a long version (the 402 L), and the light, high-performance versions of the 402.

Manufactured up to the war, the 402 went through several changes, particularly in 1939, when the car became the 402 B with a 2142 cc, 63 hp engine.
A first class aesthetic and technical success, the 402 established itself as one of the most valued French cars of its era and, commercially, was extremely successful with 75,172 models produced between 1935 and 1942.

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