Guilty Pleasure: Peugeot 604

We've talked about the Renault-derived shouldn't-oughta-want-it Eagle Premier and Chrysler LH in recent episodes of this series, but our last full-blooded French Guilty Pleasure was the Renault Fuego Turbo back in July.

Anyway, when you're talking French cars that really just don't make sense, you need to start talking Peugeot. I've owned a 504, but that car was just far too reliable (and considered semi-desirable by "normal" car freaks) for true GP status.

What I need for my personal fleet is a Peugeot 604!

The Peugeot 604 was based on a lengthened 504 chassis and shared the 504's doors for good measure. Peugeot, at the time getting ready for its nose-dive into French-government-backed takeovers of Citroën and Chrysler Europe, dropped the troublesome PRV V-6 engine in the 604, then added a dash of Pininfarina styling. The result was an interesting-looking car that provided a super-comfy ride, rusted in a hurry, and tended to develop costly engine trouble.

I figure, hey, any 604 that's survived this long must be a lottery-winner-grade lucky survivor with an inexplicably bulletproof PRV. If I buy one (which is a big if, given that 604s in North America are about as common as showroom-condition Hyundai Scoupes), I should be able to count on it being as trustworthy as Grandma's '67 Plymouth Valiant. Right? Yes!
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  1. When I was in middle school, my 7th grade English teacher was married to Roger Barlow who wrote for Auto Week magazine. One of their cars was a maroon 1982 Peugeot 604 Turbo Diesel. The Barlows were also friends of my fathers and when Roger passed in 1989, my father drover Roger's 604 back to their house in New Market, VA. I think I have only seen two 604s ever, Roger's and a blue one owned by someone who worked for Eastern Mennonite University. The last time I saw Roger's old 604 was around 1995 when I was looking for parts in a New Market junkyard for my 1973 BMW Bavaria.
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