Peugeot 1965 : 204

Peugeot 1965 : 204

Conversion ton front-wheel drive

Revolution in 1965 with the 204 hatchback, Peugeot's first front-wheel drive vehicle. An innovative vehicle, the 204 was groundbreaking in many respects for Sochaux. With a long list of technical innovations, the new arrival went against the Lion brand's legendary prudence. Ultra modern, the 204 boasted many original solutions which would become standard features on modern cars.

The first small Peugeot since the 202, the 204 and the 404 together were a pair of models in different ranges. The 204 thus enabled the brand to branch out for the first time beyond the single model policy which had been its practice since the war.

The result of a collaboration with Pininfarina, the bodywork on this compact 3.97 m hatchback made it more spacious than its competitors. Tilted forwards by 20°, its light alloy engine was equipped with an overhead camshaft. In addition, the engine was transversely mounted, a solution which came back into fashion in 1959 with the BMC Mini and which contributed to capacity. The 1130 cc engine delivered 58 hp and the vehicle's maximum speed was 138 km/h. The 4-speed transaxle was lubricated by the engine circuit. The 204 was also the first Peugeot equipped with a four wheel drive suspension and front disc brakes.

An estate version appeared five months after the launch of the hatchback. The range was completed in September 1966 with a cabriolet and a coupé; the brand stylists created a design which largely reflected that of the hatchback with a shortened wheelbase. The engine output was increased by several hp in 1970.

A diesel version was presented at the motor show in 1967. Its XLD type engine was the smallest diesel engine in the world to be fitted in volume production on a motor car, and the first to be manufactured from aluminium. Only available on the estate version, the 1255 cc engine delivered 40 hp (DIN). A new 1357 cc, 45 hp XL4D engine was launched in 1973 and this was available on the hatchback version two years later.

The 204 was a huge success. Despite being more expensive than the competition, it was the leader in terms of sales in France between 1969 and 1971, enabling Peugeot to cope effectively with the oil crisis. More than 1.6 million 204 vehicles were manufactured until production ceased in 1976. In 1969, a new model appeared; derived from the 204, the 304 was equipped with a 1.3 litre engine.

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