I wanted to take a moment to talk about one of my favourite cars, the Peugeot 504. I first saw this car when I was a kid in Jamaica. My uncle came to the house to visit my grandfather, and I saw this strange car in the car port. I had to see what kind of car it was. I remember it like I saw it a few minutes ago. The exterior colour was white, it was right hand drive, had a T handle for the automatic transmission, a light brown interior with some kind of tweed pattern on the front seats. I saw the name on the front with the odd insignia, and right away I knew it was a French car, even though I had never seen this model before.
I found the front fascia of the car to be very unusual. It had giant European headlights that gave the car a rather menacing look when viewed from the rear view mirror. I found it to be very endearing. It gives the car character. So did the wheels with all the vent holes. No other car had wheels like that. I did not like the look of the American spec version with the quad headlights. My uncle’s car most likely was powered with a four cylinder petrol engine. I wish I had asked my uncle to open the bonnet for me so I could see it. I was not able to ride in in. My uncle only brought it to the house once, and I have loved the car ever since. His sister drove another Peugeot, aka “the one with the fins,” which was the 404. I was only able to glance at it when I was at their house in the hills. That car had unusual looking wheels that were different from the 504.
My last experience with Peugeot was back in the 1980’s when diesel 504 and 505’s were operating as NYC cabs. I rode in a 505, and I was amazed at how smooth the ride was, even on streets that resembled Swiss cheese due to all the potholes, and the interior was very quiet. The diesel taxis were the result of the oil crisis of the 1970’s, and taxi company owners wanted a more fuel efficient fleet. Some survived after the oil crisis ended, then the fleet owners purchased V8 Ford and Chevy sedans. The 505’s did not age well. The rear bumper was often covered in soot from the exhaust, tail lights were often dark, or did not work properly, and clouds of diesel smoke was a common sight.
I would love to have a 504 to restore and show my uncle, who is now is a die hard Chevy guy. But only the Euro spec model with right hand drive because that’s how I remember it. The American version seems foreign to me. A diesel version would not work with the ever tightening emissions regulations. Not even if I put a trap oxidizer on it. But thank you, Peugeot, for building such an endearing car. The 504 will live on in my heart. Thanks for reading my post. Sat Nam.