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Cars you didn’t know you want: Peugeot 504 Coupe

A French classic with Italian flair.

It was unquestionably Peugeot’s world car, the 504, that venerable machine produced between 1969-83 and remaining largely unchanged over that time. It was also one of the most versatile, produced not only as a sedan, but also an estate, a ute, a cabriolet and the car we’re looking at here today, the gorgeous Peugeot 504 Coupe.

Revealed at the 1969 Salon de Geneva one year after the 504 sedan made its debut in Paris, the original Coupe featured the same 1.8-litre inline four cylinder petrol engine as the sedan. With a modest 59kW of power sent to the rear wheels, via either a four-speed manual or an optional three-speed auto, the Coupe was never intended as a performance car, a fact borne out by its 13.2-second 0-100km/h claim.

The Coupe and Cabriolet both received a heart transplant the following year, now powered by a 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder engine pumping out 78kW, a modest gain.

But, what it lacked in straight-line speed, it more than made up for with its gorgeous styling, courtesy of Italian design house Pininfarina.

Pinifarina’s design language is obvious, and reminiscent of the time, the 504 Coupe sharing lines and bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Fiat 124 and 130 Coupes, both also styled by the famed Italian studio.

A 1974 update saw the 504 Coupe gain some much-needed oomph in the shape of a 2.7-litre V6, developed jointly by Peugeot, Renault and Volvo. Power increased to 101kW while top speed was now rated at 186km/h. And yet, while the prospect of more power is always tantalising, customer demand saw the V6 shelved in 1977, the 504 Coupe returning to its four-cylinder roots. Perhaps the price had something to do with it, a V6-powered Coupe wanting for 55,900 French Francs in 1976 (around A$14,000). Compare that to the 28,350 FF (A$7400) a regular 504 cost in 1976.

The Coupe and its Cabriolet sibling were produced in three series between 1969-83, incorporating subtle design changes mainly to the head- and tail-light treatment as well as interior appointments. All were built at Pininfarina and not at Peugeot’s Sochaux plant in France where the more austere versions of the 504 were built.

It’s estimated around 23,000 Coupes and 8100 Cabriolets rolled off the production line between 1969 and 1983, a decent number but nowhere near the three million regular 504s that rolled out the Sochaux factory over its lifespan.

And that makes finding a decent example difficult. A quick search of the internet revealed you’ll need around $30,000 for a Coupe and upwards of $60,000 for a Cabriolet. If you can find one. Sedans, on the other hand, can be had for between $5000-$10,000 depending on condition.

Still, if you're lucky enough to find a good example, for that outlay, you'll snare yourself a stylish Coupe with typical Gallic charm married to Italian design.

MORE: Everything Peugeot

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