When it was launched in 1969, the Peugeot 304 tried to pass itself off as an entirely new car. The body of 204 is seen lengthened by two centimeters at the front, when the rear part grows by thirteen centimeters.
The year is erotic and the novelty takes up the stylistic codes of the 504, starting with the famous look that is said to be inspired by the eyes of Sophia Loren. These inward-facing optics are still part of Peugeot’s DNA.
In fact, we therefore obtain a 204 with a larger luggage compartment, a recipe already used by the house opposite, Renault for its R10. The Lion’s accountants see it as a pragmatic way to make the large investments made for the study of the 204 profitable.
A new era
The 204 and 304 were Peugeot’s first front-wheel drive cars, as well as the first French cars marketed with a transverse engine. These modern solutions are complemented by four independent wheels.
Like Hibernatus, which was released that year in cinemas, the Lion finally wakes up and offers an excellent road trip. With its 70 horsepower and four gears behind the wheel, the Peugeot sedan was powerful enough to tow a caravan at a time when France had a passion for camping.
It dusts off Peugeot’s image. But the staff of Peugeot wants to go even further. Young people are freeing up and the brand intends to support this new wind.
A sleight of hand
To offer the 304 range coupe and convertible versions, Peugeot is not going to look far. We are going to shorten the career of the 204 coupé and cabriolet after only five years of marketing and transform them into 304.
The front face of the 204 coupé and cabriolet was modified and the engine was now a 1.3-litre engine developing 65 horsepower.
A new all-alloy block that proves to be a model of robustness despite recurring cooling problems.
At the opening of the 1970 Geneva Motor Show, the Peugeot 304 coupé and cabriolet were officially presented.
304 S, an almost sporty
It will take two more years to see the ultimate evolution of these 304s dedicated to pleasure. Thanks to a reworked cylinder head and the adoption of a new Solex double-barrel carburettor, the 304 S comes to oversee the range.
The power gains ten units to reach 75 horsepower. This top-of-the-range version receives new sheet metal rims and a small chrome “S” logo between the taillights.
In 1973, the appearance of an advanced dashboard with round counters will be the last modification of the 304 coupé and cabriolet.
With a slightly modified 204, Peugeot succeeded in perpetuating a tradition of accessible coupés and convertibles. Beautiful bodies, easy to maintain, which are now the delight of collectors.
Before handing over to the 304s, the coupé versions of the 204 will be produced at 42,756 units, to which should be added 18,186 Peugeot 204 cabriolets. The 304 coupé will sell 60,186 copies, against 18,647 convertibles.
The Peugeot 304 coupé was billed at 13,900 F in September 1970. The hourly minimum wage was then 3.50 F. It was therefore necessary to work the equivalent of 3972 hours to afford one.
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Nostalgia. Peugeot 304: the look of Sophia Loren in a breathtaking little convertible!