Peugeot 1948 : 203

Peugeot 1948 : 203

Technology and design for the return to service

A car with a very modern design, the 203 was to ensure Peugeot's renaissance just after the war. It seamlessly blends an indestructible engine with innovative technology and an extremely attractive design. Inspired by the “sedanet” in the United States, its fastback line was the epitome of elegance.

After being unveiled in October 1947, the 203 was launched at the Paris exhibition in 1948. It was an immediate success and, consequently, built up an outstanding reputation. From its introduction, it certainly ranked at the top of the market which was unusual for a French car in that era. With its monocoque frame, a first for Peugeot, it was the only modern, middle class car available in the first few years of post-war France until the production of the Simca Aronde.

For a mass produced car of that era, the 203's engine incorporated state-of-the-art technology. With a four cylinder, short-stroke engine, the engine had a hemispherical alpex cylinder head with V-shaped overhead valves. With 42 hp for 1290 cc, these mechanics were far from being fully exploited and would enable rally enthusiasts to increase performance without worrying about breakdowns. At the exhibition of 1952, power was increased to 45 hp due to work on the valve timing. Although simple, the 203's engine was proof of a highly regarded robustness. The four speed gearbox (overdrive fourth gear) was fitted with a synchronised first gear in 1954.

A year after the saloon was introduced at the Paris show, Peugeot produced a range of 203's. There were two new cars, the saloon convertible (production of which ceased at the end of 1954) and long versions of the family and commercial models. At the same time, several utility models were launched, which, in this era of reconstruction, were essential. A cabriolet and a coupé completed this range.

Up until May 1955, the 203 was to be the only model to represent Peugeot. The launch of the 403 signalled the end of production of the 203, the final model of which was produced in February 1960. During the twelve years of its production, 685,628 models were produced.

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