When you think of Peugeots in the US (let’s face it, who doesnt?), this probably isn’t the model that comes to mind. While the 505 dominated Peugeot sales for more than a decade, and the 504 even served as NYC taxis for a few years, the 604 was a relatively niche model that was not even kept in stock at every Peugeot dealership in the states. Made from 1975 to 1985, the 604 was Peugeot’s first entry into the full-size sedan segment since the 1930s. There are plenty of perfectly logical reasons for this: post-war Europe was not big on big cars, and if you were in the market for a big French sedan in the 1970s, it was tough to find yourself in a position where Citroen was not your first choice.
Despite being in production for 10 years, only 155 thousand Peugeot 604s were made. The Pininfarina-styled 604 was pricey for its time, and even though the automotive press was impressed, this didn’t change the fact that the 604 went up against segment stalwarts like the BMW 6-cylinder sedans, the Mercedes W123 and W169, the Ford Granada, and the Citroen CX.
More after the jump
The example above is owned by Steffen Moller, and is a rare diesel GTD Turbo version. This particular example is from 1984, which was the last year the 604 was offered in the states, and has held up remarkably well. As some of you may notice, it wears the 505′s wheels. (Steffen also owns a rare 1989 Peugeot 505 Turbo with a manual transmission, only a handful of which were delivered in the US). As you can see in the photos, the DOT bumpers on the US-spec 604 probably did not contribute to the 604′s popularity in the US market, but they were only slightly larger than the bumpers on European-spec examples. Power in the GTD came courtesy of an Indenor-Peugeot 2.5 liter inline four, propelling the car to 60 seconds quicker than some other cars offered in 1984, let’s put it that way.
The 604′s strength is not its performance stats, but the longevity of the diesel engine and the overall build quality. Even though these had a reputation for rusting a bit prematurely, the mechanicals were relatively simple as the 604 was based heavily on the much older 504. While it’s tempting to say that the 604s disappeared from our roads far quicker than the 505s, the simple truth is that there weren’t that many in the US to begin with. But its always a treat to see one of these still being used, even though there are only a couple automotive events in the entire country where you have a chance of finding one.
Seen at the 2011 Citroen Rendezvous. Full gallery below