Yohai Rodin has posted a picture of a vehicle by one of my favorite companies, but not one that I’m very familiarwith. It obviously is FWD, thanks to the give-away protruding front end, affectionately called “pig nose” by the French. And given that Peugeot was all RWD until well into the 1960s, that raised some questions. The answer turns out to be quite simple: these vans didn’t start out as Peugeots.
It started out as the Chenard-Walcker CPV, a wartime design that went into production in 1946. It had a two-cylinder two-stroke engine making all of 26 hp, modest for even the times.
Given the limitations of that engine, C-W began buying and installing Peugeot’s 1133cc inline four from its 202 sedan, which require extending the front end. After C-W couldn’t pay its bills, Peugeot, being the biggest creditor, ended up with the company in 1950, although the van continued to be called Chenard-Walcker for a while. Peugeot’s entry into FWD turned out to be unintentional.
Eventually, the vans became to be called Peugeots, the D3, and later the D4. Its engine size grew as Peugeot’s engines did in their passenger cars, to 1290cc (from the 203) and finally 1468 cc, form the 403. In 1959, Peugeot’s new Idenor diesel was also available, a first in the class. Production finally ended in 1965.
Apparently Peter Sellers gets hauled off to jail at the end of “The Pink Panther” in a Peugeot D4 paddy wagon, but I couldn’t find an image of it.