For the first time in over thirty years, I don’t own a French car. My first encounter with les voitures Francais was in
The departure of my 1984 Peugeot 505 and 1969 404, both on the same weekend, is almost too much to bear.
But in the interests of moving on – the separation was necessary.
The departure of the 404 was the biggest wrench. The “Olden-days car” – as my kids christened it when they were little, had been in the family as long as two of my four offspring. I had built it from two wrecks, (both from Townsville), and taken it out to
It often took my boys (then of primary school age) and me on some epic explorations of remote places like
I used to take delight in driving it into these places, generally considered inaccessible to conventional cars in those days, and surprising the owners of expensive (and flash) 4wds. I’d always tell them that it cost me $400 (true) and then ask how much they had paid for the Land Cruiser/Discovery/Pajero. Great fun.
The big wheels, torque-tube rear axle, and enormous suspension amplitude made the 404 a very capable vehicle off-road. The worst that happened was leaving the bulk of the exhaust system behind on rocky outcrops. The boys enjoyed this, because of the much better noise that was produced as a consequence.
The 505 provided first car status for one of my sons, and he delivered pizzas in it for a time as his first paying job. The cost of the wear and tear on the car just about balanced out his salary. You can guess who was paying for the car.
I came to realise that my dream of fully restoring both was never going to happen. Besides, we needed the garage space for the MX5.
Both have gone to good homes – both collectors with an aspiration to fully restore them.
I hope they get further than I did.
My total list of French cars is –
1968 Peugeot 404
1969 Peugeot 404
1970 Renault R12
1970 Renault R16TS
!976 Renault R12
!977 Renault R12 Automatique
1984 Peugeot 505 Wagon
1984 Peugeot 505 STI
1989 Peugeot 505 Wagon