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Owner Review

2001 Peugeot 406 SV review

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The Peugeot 406 Coupe is undeniably one of the most attractive coupes ever designed. It's little wonder when the company who penned the design has also designed some of the best looking cars for Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and Maserati to name a few.

Peugeot 406 examples are currently ridiculously cheap for a car that (from the outside) looks equally at home with the likes of the best of European exotics from the same era, and importantly the design does not seem to have aged. From every angle the Italian flare of Pininfarina is executed to perfection, even better than the Ferrari 456 in my opinion.

The 406 coupe is a rare beast, being a unique amalgam of French, Italian and German engineering. The design and the coachwork was built and assembled in Italy using PSA mechanicals, withthe renowned driving suppleness of French suspension (which sadly has disappeared in subsequent models), and the glorious smooth power of a V6 tweaked by Porsche (in my 2001 model).

Most motoring journalists describe it as a cruiser more than a racer, but it is still amazingly agile for a large coupe, meaning a Sunday fang through the hills is just as enjoyable as a long coastal drive.

Sadly because they are so cheap to buy now, a lot of them are falling into the hands of people who either can't afford to maintain them or don't value their timelessness, with too many being scrapped. In reality, unlike an exotic Ferrari or Lambo the 406 Coupe is a derivative of the enormously popular 406 series of sedans and wagons.

The shared mechanicals are fairly inexpensive and are still available. Bodywise although they share no panels from the sedan or wagon, the parts are available from wreckers and there are plenty of mod kits if you are that way inclined. Personally I love them stock.

If there is one blemish on the desirability of the 406 coupe, it is that the interior is shared with the top of the range sedan. Apart from a few chrome highlights on the dash and Pininfarina badgework the inside is pretty much the same.

However two people can comfortably sit in the rear pews and the boot is huge so its an enormously practical coupe. If I were a millionaire with a big warehouse I'd be buying and restoring every manual 406 coupe I could find, because without doubt they will be a desirable collector's car in years to come.

There are a lot of features, considering its time; all-leather interior, motorized seats, pillarless doors, windows that automatically close when shutting the door, and sensors on lights and windscreen wipers. There are very few issues with this sports car. Rust is rare. The brakes are Brembos and they are tremendous. The manual gearbox cable drives do stretch over time but are a relatively easy fix, are available from Europe and are not overly expensive.

Like all engines, seals will start to leak with age and the cam covers on the 406's 2.9-litre tend to leak on the rear bank as they get old or driven hard. Again these are easily fixed with the right sealant and when done by a good mechanic or Peugeot specialist.

Normal wear and tear items such as brakes, suspension bushes, and engine mounts are still relatively easy to obtain. I have just had the catalytic converters done on mine (usual for a car with 170,000km on the clock) and again parts from the UK are way cheaper than on my wife's Audi. So really what is not to love, particularly with a car that looks this good?

So, Mr Millionaire with a big warehouse, let me loose and lets start collecting these future classics!

MORE: Everything Peugeot