For historic and complicated reasons, today is the start of the income tax year in the UK.
More interestingly, we have a Peugeot. Meet the 604.
Designed by Pininfarina like all Peugeots of this era, the 604 was launched in 1975 and continued to 1985 by which time production had slowed to a few hundred per year. It shared doors, bulkhead and part of the floorplan with the smaller 504 and was Peugeot’s first large car since the 1930s.
In keeping with the luxury image it was initially made only with the PRV V6 in 2.7 litre form and with the option of a GM three speed automatic which happily for Peugeot was made in Strasbourg. In 1977 Peugeot introduced the 604 with the inevitable square headlights and big bumpers to an American audience .
The 604 was intended as a large, comfortable car and contemporary road tests praised it for its comfort. Autocar described it as
“an effortless long-distance car and should be considered by anyone whose motoring is of the order of 30,000 miles a year”
It took until 1979 for Peugeot to introduce something that they offer on almost all their models today,a turbodiesel which was the first sold in Europe (but not the first made there, an honour which went to the Merc 300SD). It produced just 80 bhp from 2.3 litres so one can only imagine at the performance of a NA diesel of the time.
Over the years Peugeot fiddled around with the 604, introducing a 2.5 diesel with a mighty 90 bhp, dropping the GM automatic for a ZF one and replacing the 2.7 engine with a 2.8, but nothing arrested its steady decline. Sales in America stopped in 1984 by which time and interestingly the 604 was sold there only as a diesel and the last few were sold in Europe in 1986.
Top trivia: the 604 had wipers mounted very close together and the wrong way around for both RHD and LHD. Note this RHD one and compare it to the LHD model above.
The 604 was Peugeot’s last big RWD car, being replaced some time later by the FWD (and quite popular, in comparison) 605.