Buy­ing Clas­sics Abroad

Peugeot 404

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Theo Ford- Sagers

There are prob­a­bly fewer than 50 Peugeot 404s in this coun­try, and even fewer peo­ple who know much about them. High prices rel­a­tive to UK ri­vals kept orig­i­nal sales low on these shores, but their dis­tri­bu­tion else­where was far and wide. Of the four UK ex­am­ples cur­rently listed on CCW’s web­site (clas­s­ic­cars­for­sale.co.uk), two were re­cently im­ported from Swe­den, while the oth­ers came from Bul­garia and France.

There are plenty of ex­am­ples in Europe and even more in Africa, es­pe­cially in French-speak­ing coun­tries such as Al­ge­ria and Tu­nisia, but also Zim­babwe and Egypt, not for­get­ting Kenya, where the 404 was built un­der li­cence un­til 1991. Ex­pect all these to have a strong patina though, and ne­go­ti­at­ing the ex­port pa­per­work is un­likely to be a jolly af­fair.

South Africa, where ve­hi­cles are right-hand drive, tends to be a more re­li­able source. There’s a de­cent se­lec­tion in on­line classifieds, mostly for less than £3000. Look in­land though, as coastal ve­hi­cles are of­ten just as crispy as UK cars. If you find a top ex­am­ple, the cost of im­port might be jus­ti­fi­able con­sid­er­ing the in­flated val­ues and rar­ity in the UK.

You re­ally need to look in Europe for the ul­tra-de­sir­able con­vert­ible. Pro­duc­tion was brief – 1963 to 1968 – and there are only a hand­ful in this coun­try, partly be­cause the rag­top added enor­mously to the price when new. Beaulieu Garage ( beaulieu­garage.co.uk, 01590 612999) cur­rently has a one for sale that came to the UK from Swe­den a cou­ple of years ago.

The 404 was also im­ported to the USA from 1961 ( by an Amer­i­can distrib­u­tor rather than Peugeot it­self ), the con­vert­ible in par­tic­u­lar pre­dictably find­ing loyal devo­tees in Cal­i­for­nia. Some were also built from CKD kits in Canada – look for ‘Alou­ette’ badg­ing.

Few from across the pond sur­vived, how­ever, and there aren’t any cur­rently for sale on the ma­jor Amer­i­can clas­si­fied sites, so you’ll need to keep your ear close to the ground to find one. Club Peugeot 404 North Amer­ica (peu­geot404na.com) would be a good place to start.

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