While the Peugeot brand’s image is not among the best in the business nowadays, after having made uninspiring car after uninspiring car for the last fifteen or more years, it’s now on the upswing again, with the release and upcoming release of cars that you’d actually consider buying for more than mere A to B transportation.
They still stand very little chance of achieving their former glory, though, when their cars were bought, driven and appreciated by some of the most sonorous names in the age, like the father of the Prancing Horse, Enzo Ferrari, who owned several Pugs.
In 1966, old man Ferrari’s daily driver was a metallic grey (1960 – 1975) 404 saloon with beige leather interior, to which he had mounted a special Nardi steering wheel and front fog lights from a Lancia Flaminia. This car he drove himself, but a knee problem kept him from driving the Peugeot that replaced it in 1969, a 504 saloon, most of the time, and the car was left completely stock.
His last Pug was the sexy 504 coupe that he owned between 1970/1971 – 1973, after which time he started using cars from Fiat; he also owned and drove an original Mini Cooper (a gift from Alec Issigonis), preferring to use that in the winter when front-wheel drive made it a wiser choice.
All of this information came from his old driver, a Mr. Dino Tagliazucchi, who was keen to point out that while Ferrari did own one of his own cars, a truly stunning-looking 365 GT (V12-powered 2+2 fastback coupe), he only used it to promote the brand, and always used a Peugeot for his usual trips of 200 to 300 km (125 – 186 miles).
This story also brings to mind the fact that Peugeot doesn’t currently sell a large(-ish) coupe, whereas archrivals Renault are still offering their questionably successful, but very nice looking and driving Laguna Coupe; before they always had one of their own (406 Coupe and the latest was the 407 Coupe), even when Renault didn’t offer one.
They should really channel some of their creative energies away from minivans, saloons and econoboxes and make a nice halo model that’s not the RCZ, a car that while nice and overtly sporty doesn’t really embody the historic values of the brand of reliability, style, comfort and then a good drive (in that order) – the old 407 Coupe was much more apt at filling that role in the range.
By Andrei Nedelea
Thanks to Zimny P. for the tip!