How’s this for a splendid shot? And of a Peugeot 403 pickup, no less. Benoît shot it at Embres-et-Castelmaure, in the south of France. Now that’s a pickup I’d like to have.
I’m not going to do an in-depth look at these here, as we’ve covered them in my Peugeot wagons post. The front half may look like a 403 sedan, but the chassis has been substantially modified with a longer wheelbase and different rear suspension (leaf springs) and axle. These pickups can handle serious overloading, which was their typical use in Africa. Their ruggedness and durability became legendary. And some are still at it.
That’s a nice picture. I’d like to have one too! But I guess they were never sold in North America. Were they?
Simply indestructable, really, made of a great quality of steel, later the French and Italian governments passed law that the percentage of scrap metal used for new steel for cars had to be enlarged, this is why a 403 will rust less then a more modern and newer made 404 and why a 1964 Alfa Giulia will rust less then a 1974 Giulia Nuova.
All talks about the Italians using communist steel for the AlfaSud are BS,
Volkswagen once made a deal with the DDR German government, they bought steel at a very good price, Golfs (then called Rabbits in the USA ) were made of this steel and perished after two – three years.
“All talks about the Italians using communist steel for the AlfaSud are BS”
“The 5-year plan in 1966 called for establishing a national car maker at a purpose-built city called Togliatti near the Volga River, about 800km east of Moscow. The factory would be known as Volga Automotive Plant, or in short ” Substantial help was given by FIAT chairman Giovanni Agnelli II, one of the rare Western friends of the communist USSR. In exchange for cheap Soviet steel, FIAT helped designing the Togliatti plant and offered the blueprints of FIAT 124 to form the basis of the first Russian people’s car, Zhiguli VAZ-2101. That car rolled off the production line in 1970.
That never happened.
Agnelli feared for his family’s life and he was scared of the Italian communist
unions who had very good connections in Russia. There was a large underground communist movement in Italy, that is why he agreed to have the 124 produced there.
There was even a deal that the Zhiguli or Lada would not be exported to markets where Fiat and Seat were represented.
Well that never happened either, the Russians were keen to get hard western currency and communist Italian steel workers would gave been out of jobs.
A late uncle of me worked for SIDMAR, Belgian steel and they produced steel for ao BMW and Scaldia Volga in Antwerp.
No steel was imported but the production line would run twice as fast for Scaldia as it would for BMW, resulting in very poor quality Scaldia Volga steel.
The twilight photograph has a nice eeriness to it. While the “Conestoga Wagon” photo is just unfamiliar enough to me, as to make me smile at its uniqueness.
The Pug would come through the opened door for a glass after its hard day, and life, if only she could fit. Instead, she rests outside patiently for her owner.
I know Colombo’s car was a cabriolet, not a pickup, but seeing the front end of that 403 makes me imagine he’s in that shop, asking “Just one more thing…”
Those were very popular in Israel in their day, because of lack of competition and, of course, because they were bullet proof.
And their 404 pickup replacement was even better, outselling the 403. So many were around when I was a kid, now all are virtually gone. I managed to snap one up at a classic meeting:
As usual people try to close the stable door after the horse bolts – both 403 and 404 (and even the 504 pick up) are now getting very sought after and gained something of a cult status among Israeli old car buffs, sort of like the VW T1 in Germany or the 60-66 Chevrolet C10 in the US.
Awesome photograph Benoit! Rammstein, you have answered what I have long suspected, older French and Italian metal was tougher.
Finding any sort of old car in use in Europe now seems to be a rare event. In two week’s driving through the north of Italy this month, I saw exactly three — a ’68 VW bug and a ’72 Lancia, both within half a block of each other in Bologna, and beautifully restored ’55 Fiat 1100 on it’s way to the gardens of the Palazzo del Te’ in Mantua early one Sunday morning. The once ubiquitous Fiat Uno’s, even the striking 1990s/2000s Lacia Ypsilons have all evaporated in the face of the relentless push to common-rail diesels. And I was never once slowed on an uphill climb by a wheezing, smoking first-generation Fiat 500 (and haven’t been for years).
Now that every major city is choking on the particulates and smog caused by those diesel motors, along with the new threat motorized vehicles now present in crowded areas, I wonder how quickly what’s on the road today will likewise vanish? Outside of the Netherlands, electric cars certainly don’t appear much, and I think the European penchant for manual transmissions pushes them away from popular hybrids (tho’ there are now a few Yaris-based hybrids seen on Italian roadways).
With so many countries enacting legislation to ban the sale of gasoline and diesel powered cars/light trucks in the not-too-distant future, I’m sure hot on the heels of these regulations will be bans of non-electric cars in city centers. In 20 years, if not sooner, the only fossil fuel vehicles that will be seen in London or Paris will probably be the occasional heavy truck.
No less dangerous from a injury crash or potential terrorism situation, but the air quality will improve. And I’m sure making cheap used vehicles more expensive will push people further away from car ownership toward public transit, which is a secondary goal of all this.
I don’t know. Here in Austria the main topic is the diesel and there will be some restriction in the future (I’d put my money on some kind of diesel tax which would make it as or more expensive than gasoline). EEVs are still a long way off from becoming a daily reality – I cannot see such a massive revolution taking place so quickly, what with the fact we seem to have much more oil and oil shale reserves than we thought we had. As for restricting car entry into cities, this has taken place in Vienna ages ago already. You can park anywhere but have to display a “Parkschein” and they are not cheap, so that leaving the car in some P+R and using the admittedly superb public transport makes more sense. Oh: older diesel trucks and vans with an emission rating lower than Euro 3 are not allowed in already.
As for older, collectors vehicles, those are usually left alone, and during the summer you see enough of them around. I think the Italian authorities have a different approach which explains why you see so few older cars over there.
That 403 photo is calendar worthy .
Pop’s 403 Sedan was still plugging away when the rusty firewall made it fail the annual safety inspection .
This “Le Truck” was also build in Argentina from 1967 to 1973 under Peugeot T4B name. It had the 404’s petrol engine, with 1618 cc, 76 HP, 4 speed manual gear box and 850 kg of loading capacity.
Furthemore, there was had a few volume of double cabin version.
It started opened a great dinasty of Peugeot pick up in Argentina, followed by 404 and 504 until 1999.
Indeed a great shot.
The early sedans – and I would assume the cabriolets – had a beautiful but lethal chrome lion adorning the bonnet – complete with teeth in the gaping jaw.
The teeth are rarely seen as they were so handy for removing bottlecaps but the base metal was only a soft die casting.
They were a regular sight in 1960’s New Guinea, where I spent much of my childhood.
Thanks for the memories.