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Citroen Rendezvous Preview: Peugeot 504 GL

Jay Ramey June 14, 2013 Car Shows, Cars You Should Know 26 Comments

504 1

Some of us remember a time when Peugeot 504s were more or less common on our streets, provided those streets were either on the left coast or the right coast. It seems it wasn’t that long ago that these were just used cars and everyone’s grandma had one locked away in the garage out back with 27K on the clock after something broke. Some of us may even remember a short period of time when 504s were used as taxis in New York city. That’s right, for a time in the early 1980s New York experimented with fleets of foreign cars. Since clearly nobody remembers that little experiment, I don’t have to explain which cars New York ended up choosing.

Regardless of the 504’s people-moving skills, which are considered legendary in Africa by the way, the 504 disappeared from our roads quite abruptly by the end of the 1980s. Ignoring for a moment the fact that these were not real strong sellers in the midwest, to put it mildly, the bulk of former 504 owners had by then already been driving 505s, or something else altogether. And just about the only chance you have of seeing one today is at a classic car show, like the annual Citroen Rendezvous in Saratoga Springs.

504 2

The 504 came out in 1968, complementing rather than replacing the 404 range of saloons. At the time it was not all that uncommong for manufacturers to launch an identically-sized model alongside an existing model, so the 504 and 404 were sold together for an entire 6 years, something that now seems unthinkable. The base engine was  1,796cc inline-four, which made 97bhp. Pretty good performance for the time, though some reviewers remarked that the car’s weight meant that the engine had to work pretty hard. And these were relatively hefty sedans, weighing in at 1,175 kilograms.

504 3

At the top of the range, however, was an engine which had no problem making the whole thing move, and that was a 2.7 liter V6, one of the most common engines that you can find on surviving stateside 504s. Providing you actually come across a surviving 504 in America.

504 4

And speaking of coming across a 504 in America, I’ve only seen them at classic car shows. And only two shows for that matter: the Carlisle Import Nationals, and Citroen Rendezvous, which is coming up soon on the calendar. This mostly-Citroen gathering usually has about a dozen or so other French makes, Peugeots included, and every year it’s not unusual to see a 504 or two, like this sharp 504 GL from 1975.

Browse the full gallery from last year below:

[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Jay Ramey]

 

  • Vavon

    I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw one for the first time in an American movie!

    <img src="http://images.forum-auto.com/mesimages/1038449/1975peugeot504dieselustaxi73382689.jpg"&gt;
    Sidenote: The US-look really doesn't suite the 504 at all… YUK!!!

    • Dean Bigglesworth

      I was trying to look for differences in that taxi and the featured car and couldn't for the life of me figure out how the "US-look" differed from the euro… Only then did i notice you said American movie. It's far from the worst, though.

  • FreeMan

    Wow, the quarter panels have an odd shape – the reflection of trees makes them look significantly dented in in that rear 3/4 view. I had to look 3 times to ensure myself that they weren't.

    • Jay_Ramey

      Yeah, it definitely gives off some wavy reflections.

  • Synchromesh

    The weight is incorrect. 2700kg would be close to 6000lbs. That's slightly excessive for a small 4-door french sedan. 2700lbs is probably more like it.

    The 504 is one of my favorite cars of all time! I even have a few model cars of it! It has a classic shape and has successfully participated in many classic rallies back in the day. Someday I hope to own one. Of course I'm hoping for a Euro or US pre-73 version with slim bumpers – those look far better. I've seen a couple in a wild so far and one at the junkyard many years ago. Still have the big 504 bad at home!

    I was recently watching an older French Alain Delon movie from the 70s – tons and tons of those 504s on the French street then!

    • Jay_Ramey

      There was a white Euro-spec 504 at Citroen Rendezvous a couple years ago, it came down from QC if I recall correctly. A completely different look without all the wonderful NHTSA mods.

      Good catch on the weight stat, that's like more 2 of them put together (because people always bought two at a time, that's just how it was).

  • Slow_Joe_Crow

    I think that is the first black 504 I have ever seen. It really changes the look of the car compared to the lighter colors I'm used to.

    • Jay_Ramey

      Yeah, it's a bit of a color-sensitive design, and the black paint here really hides the droopy trunk well.

      • Paul Rain

        Agreed- have to say I have mixed feelings about the droopy trunk- might have let them achieve some pretty stunning Cd numbers for a four door sedan of the time, but even with those tall haunches there had to have been some downsides vs comparable vehicles in terms of practicality.

  • Rover1

    Some of the British magazines ( if I recall correctly ), stated that 504s from all over the world were ending up in Africa. And that that is the reason why 504s have become rarer everywhere else like Europe and the US.Does this sound likely?

    • Vavon

      Absolutely true! They go there to die after a very, very, very long life of hauling people and goods…

      <img src="http://pedagogie84.pagesperso-orange.fr/images/peugeot/504-chargee1.jpg&quot; width="550/"><img src="http://images.forum-auto.com/mesimages/222393/casselibye01gd.jpg&quot; width="550/">

      • Rover1

        Wow ,there's the proof !

      • Sjalabais

        If you put all these station wagons on top of each other and secure them with some nice wire and MacGyver tape you can invite European hippies to "a different hostel". The Peustel.

        • Vavon

          HAHAHA!!!

    • nanoop

      In certain regions in the world, Mercedes won't do it anymore: thanks to front drive, you can raise the back without troubling the drive train. I've seen pieces of railway tracks as back axles on such cars.

      • Vavon

        The 504 is RWD…

        • nanoop

          Haha!
          No really? I vaguely remembered P-cars that looked pretty much like that one, and they were fwd. Well, Peugeot buit more than one model, I assume.

    • Jay_Ramey

      I heard from a Connecticut-based Pug 505 owner that when he put his 505 wagon for sale on craigslist a couple years ago, it was bought within hours and a couple days later was on a cargo ship out of the Port on NJ heading to west Africa. So apparently they're still getting sniped from the US-market, where the 505s at least tended to be lavishly optioned. And can still be found with minimal mileage.

      I sat in a recently restored 405 Mi16 and an ex-Janet Guthrie Pug 505 IMSA racecar today. That is all.

  • Sjalabais

    I almost bought one of those a couple of weeks back. Unfortunately, it was in a very bad shape rust wise, contrary to what the owner said on the phone. Before my 15 hour bus ride. Well, I knew on my second 15 hour bus ride home.

    • duurtlang_

      What we've learned today; Always ask for clear photographic evidence before taking a 15 hour bus trip.

      • Sjalabais

        Apparently, I am a slow learner. By far not the first time my trust exceeded my intelligence. D'oh. (But the photos were good, and I forgot that wet car photos are useless, too.)

    • Jay_Ramey

      Oh my god, where was this and where did you drive from to see it?

      • Sjalabais

        Actually, it was all Robert Emslie's fault: French Craigslist Crapshoot. =8^)

        I live on the Norwegian west coast and I went to Trondheim. We don't have straight roads here, so even if the bus didn't stop for more than 1,5 hours total and the distance as the crow flies is not that much, it takes a very long time to get to places. Very long time. There was an airline strike that weekend, too.

        • Jay_Ramey

          Oh man, that's brutal.