We’ve seen various examples of the Peugeot 204.

However it had a claim to fame. It was available with the smallest diesel fitted to a car up to that date, just 1255 cc. Like the better known VW units as fitted to the Golf in the 1970s it was derived from a petrol unit and achieved its 40bhp at around 5,000 rpm, unusually high for a diesel. This turned out to be its undoing as the high speeds caused premature failure and starting problems set in as early as 30 or 40,000 km. Just to add to the woes of 204d owners the vibrations tended to cause problems elsewhere in the car.

As per an unknown Frenchman:

Enfin les vibrations engendrées par le diesel sur nos x04 ont des effets dévastateurs sur pas mal d’organes, et aussi sur le faisceau électrique!

Quite. (The vibrations caused by the diesel on our 204s have devastating effects on many parts and also on the electrics).

Peugeot have gone on to make rather better diesels and units designed by them are used in the Fords Focus, Fiesta and Mondeo.

Anyway, here’s what it looked like. If you look carefully you can see that the fanbelt went around the corner so that a transverse engine could cool a front mounted radiator without resorting to a new fangled electric fan.


The Chevrolet Corvair had the same arrangement.