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Peugeot 604: The Last Thing I Expected To Find For Sale Near Me.

Chris Haining March 5, 2014 Cars You Should Know, For Sale 10 Comments

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For whatever reason, I’ve been giving the Peugeot 604 quite a lot of bandwidth lately. It turned up when we were talking about the PRV Douvrin engine here, and in humungous-bumper equipped form in this US brochure.

And that was all without having seen one of them in the flesh for as long as I could remember. Then, last week, a funny thing happened during a routine drive through the village. Like an apparition, I only caught it in my peripheral vision, and had nagging doubts as to the validity of what I’d seen. The next day, I felt duty bound to go for a walk, verify, and take some truly dreadful photos. Click the jump to share the excitement.

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It was there alright. It was hidden away in the back corner of a local car dealership, the sort of place that deals in all kinds of weird tackle (including this Renault Twizy) as well as price-point scoring everyday conveyances of the white-bread flavour. Up by the street was the Aston DB7, the Merc CL500 and the E46 330Ci, and this sat safely at the back, not drawing attention to itself.

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This is a car with clean, straight surfaces, free of much of the Gallic eccentricity that enriched so many large French cars over the years, not least the Citroen DS and CX. The 604 was an altogether more soberly designed machine. But don’t for a moment think I’m calling it boring.

In fact, the body styling of the 604 was an exercise in studied restraint and the proportions were spot on, as the most terrible of my photographs from the day might, possibly demonstrate:

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Good grief. Well, if you stare at the above with the same concentration you might have afforded to one of those 3D Magic Eye images a decade or so back, you’ll see the rectilinear outline of the 604. Not all of it, though; the sun was so bright I couldn’t confirm whether the whole car had fitted into the screen. It hadn’t. Bleh.

There’s an amount of Italianism to the design, and that’s the fault of Pininfarina, who were responsible for the basic design, albeit working around certain fixed points like the doors, which were straight from the 504. But they were good doors, so that was OK.

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Inside was just as stylish, with a clear, legible, horizontal binnacle packed with information, set behind a lateral shelf on which were placed switches for various functions. It was crisp and fresh, and the radio installation on this example (which is a complete joke) isn’t necessarily representative of the breed.

The interior design was credited to one Mr Paul Bracq, who you may know as BMW chief designer for the period including the E12 5-Series. Can it be a pure coincidence that the next 5-Series, the E28, came with a styling feature that was, shall we say, redolent of the 604? Can you guess?

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Maybe it’s just me that sees the likeness, but whenever I see a glimpse of an E28 tail lamp I get all excited that I might get a 604 sighting. As if an E28 sighting wouldn’t be enough these days.

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This particular car is the best preserved 604 I’ve ever seen. Being that I estimate that I last saw one fifteen years ago, I’ll accept that’s not saying much.

Looked at closely, there are a few imperfections creeping through in this car. More than a few actually. But that’s OK. After thirty seven years on the road (or in a garage or a barn, or wherever this thing has been hiding) a car has a right to a certain patina.

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So, what’s your bid for this piece of understated Gaulish loveliness?

It has 29,000 miles on the clock (which could be 129, or 229k with the 5-digit odo, but I guess it’s all documented), and is in as good a condition as any 604 you’re likely to find. It’s an SL and it’s got the PRV, together with an automatique gearbox distributing power.

But just how much are these things worth, anyway? You might have wanted one of these since you were a kid, then made your fortune in the dotcom boom and have endless cash to fritter away on 604-shaped trinkets. On the other hand, you could be an average Joe with, *checks pocket*, £1.27 hard currency in his pocket right now.

With garaging for one car and a Rover, an Audi and her car all taking turns to use it, there’s no room at the inn. And anyway, if I have to ask, I can’t afford it.

[Images copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Chris Haining. Dealership gets a free plug here http://atlasautos.co.uk/]

By the way, they’re asking £4995 (awaits gasps and cries of “How much?!?”).

 

  • Vavon

    I just had a look on the French equivalent of Craigslist: Leboncoin.
    There are a grand total of 35 Peugeot 604s for sale. That's how rare it is in France…
    So finding a 604 in nice nick in the United Kingdom is quite something!
    Results: http://www.leboncoin.fr/voitures/offres/ile_de_fr

    • It's amazing what turns up on Leboncoin.

      http://www.leboncoin.fr/collection/591486737.htm?…

      • Manic_King

        Will you make an offer? Also, how tiny driver has to be to require side steps on this KV……

        • Tempting, but no, even though this is only the second KV Gad'Jet I've ever seen for sale. This model lacks the stone capstan drive of the Mini 1 and has the more modest 49cc engine, for those who feel that 125cc is excessive.

          <img src="http://v4s1.yimg.com/sj/2858/12958224795_5c70325e88.jpg&quot; width="400">

          • Sjalabais

            On the other hand, you could outrace yourself on the oval dirt track around your plum tree.

  • dukeisduke

    I have a soft head spot for 604s.

  • Jay_Ramey

    I was just looking for one of these today on CL (true story). Yeah, they pop up a couple times a year on the eBays

    4,995? That's still much in shekels or rubles. I bet they'll take like 500 quid just to get rid of the thing.

  • mallthus

    I recall seeing these new on the dealer's lot when I was a kid. (Yes, I lived in that rare American town with a Peugeot dealer.)

    Outside of that, I believe that I've seen a grand total of about 10, including in France.

  • Rover1

    To be fair, when Pininfarina re-used the doors from the 504 they were using their own work as they did the 504 as well.

    Imagine if they'd made these things properly, Peugeot may have become a big player in the US as well as the Germans and the Japanese.

  • johhny

    They DID do these properly, I owned a 1982 TurboDiesel version and to this day it is the nicest car I have ever owned, and I've owned many nice cars since then. The smoothness of that car in every aspect is hard to describe, and I got near-Prius level fuel economy in mine back in the late 80s when I owned it. My timing chain snapped 2 days before I was off to college so I had to have my parents sell it for me while I was away, a very sad day..I've always wanted to find aother now that I have the money to afford upkeep.