From one of the world's oldest-established manufacturers, the Peugeot 104 carries on the Company's tradition of producing a quality small car. Peugeot's original Bebe was bom in 1902, and after being redesigned by Ettore Bugatti went on into the 'twenties, gaining a high reputation for reliability. The presentday `Baby' is only 360.7 cm in length yet has a roomy four-door saloon body and a fair-sized boot. The one-litre 104 has a transverse engine, driving the front wheels, and for 1976 gets new wraparound rear lights. The Show model has the optional folding rear seat. Aluminium head and cylinder block make the 104 engine one of the lightest in its class, which helps towards light steering and fuel economy. Mounted crosswise and driving the front wheels, this is a modern overhead camshaft unit. Probably the smallest four-door car now built anywhere, the 104 is made to the exacting standards which have given Peugeot a fine reputation for durability.
First of the modern Peugeots with transverse light alloy overheadcamshaft engines and front-wheel drive, the 204 was followed by 304 and 104. It has been kept up to date with heated rear window, better tail lamps and significant improvements to suspension and steering. Body styles are four-door saloon and five-door station wagon. In France there is also a 204 diesel.
Buyers of Peugeot's front-drive 304 have an unusual range of choice: four-door saloon, five-door station wagon, and the 304 S short wheelbase Coupé and cabriolet. Estate models are equipped with reclining seats, heated rear window, lighter and clock. A thermostatically coupled fan saves engine power when not needed. An unusual point is that the station wagon is shorter than the saloon.
Diesel engines are attracting increased attention as a means of cutting fuel costs and Peugeot have put one in their 504 L saloon. The L is the lowest-priced version of the 504, with a rigid rear axle, radius arms and coil springs instead of independent rear śuspension. Mechanics from all Peugeot dealers have already been trained to service the diesel which should be specially attractive to commercial users doing big mileages. Peugeot's five-door Family Estate is a very commodious vehicle with three rows of faceforward seats which will accommodate 7-8 people. Powered by the 1971 cc patrol engine, this sturdy model has a live rear axle, unlike the 504 saloon models which have independent rear suspension. The 504 GL Estate seats five, and there is a new `L' model for the British market with smaller 1796 cc engine in the interests of petrol economy. For super-economy Peugeot have introduced the 504 `L' Diesel Estate which has a 1948 cc oil engine, noted for low fuel consumption.
Peugeot's new big model, the 604, uses the 2.6-litre `Douvrin' V6 engine, produced in the French factory set-up jointly by Peugeot, Renault, and Volvo. The large four-door body was designed by Pininfarina, and is all-new except the front doors which are from the 504 production line. With its shape, conservative looks, and 472 cm length the 604 is obviously aimed at the Mercedes/Fiat 130/BMW pastures. The light-alloy V6 operates on low-grade fuel yet delivers 136 bhp, and there is an option of four-speed manual or automatic transmission. Interior trim is sheer luxury.