The sorcerer's apprentice


Dating from mid-1970s, Peugeot 404 is being prepared for more years of service.
    After leaving the shop where Alonso's Chevrolet is being worked on, we stop by another garage a little farther along the country road. Here, a young man is busy renewing the floor of a Peugeot 404 that would have come to Cuba from Argentina, as the badge on its decklid attests.
   This fellow, Alonso tells me, is a student of the man restoring his `56 Bel Air. From the high-quality work we see on the Peugeot, it`s clear that the master`s magic is brushing off.
   When I was a teenager, a friend`s family owned a pair of Peugeots like this. The 404 was the French automaker's largest model upon its 1960 introduction, but by North American standards it was a compact, and those two little round-fendered 404s were an odd contrast to the blocky Detroit products occupying most driveways at the time.
   I've since, however, come to quite admire the 404's balanced proportions and pure lines.
   Wikipedia, we know, can be hit or miss, but its entry on the 404 is exemplary. Here we learn that the stylist was Pininfarina (explains the appeal), that assembly in Argentina began two years after its launch in France and continued through to 1980 (this one's likely from the mid-1970s), that other global assembly points included Quebec (probable source of my friend's family cars) and that along with coupe, sedan and station wagon versions, Peugeot offered a 404 pickup model (I want one!).

Rusty floor panels have been cut out.

Sweet lines, courtesy of Pininfarina.

Purple primer? Why not?

Argentine plant contributed to a global production run of nearly 2.9 million Peugeot 404 models over 31 years.




See also:

CubanClassics: 1974 Peugeot 404




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