Some of us remember a time when Peugeot 504s were more or less common on our streets, provided those streets were either on the left coast or the right coast. It seems it wasn’t that long ago that these were just used cars and everyone’s grandma had one locked away in the garage out back with 27K on the clock after something broke. Some of us may even remember a short period of time when 504s were used as taxis in New York city. That’s right, for a time in the early 1980s New York experimented with fleets of foreign cars. Since clearly nobody remembers that little experiment, I don’t have to explain which cars New York ended up choosing.
Regardless of the 504’s people-moving skills, which are considered legendary in Africa by the way, the 504 disappeared from our roads quite abruptly by the end of the 1980s. Ignoring for a moment the fact that these were not real strong sellers in the midwest, to put it mildly, the bulk of former 504 owners had by then already been driving 505s, or something else altogether. And just about the only chance you have of seeing one today is at a classic car show, like the annual Citroen Rendezvous in Saratoga Springs.
The 504 came out in 1968, complementing rather than replacing the 404 range of saloons. At the time it was not all that uncommong for manufacturers to launch an identically-sized model alongside an existing model, so the 504 and 404 were sold together for an entire 6 years, something that now seems unthinkable. The base engine was 1,796cc inline-four, which made 97bhp. Pretty good performance for the time, though some reviewers remarked that the car’s weight meant that the engine had to work pretty hard. And these were relatively hefty sedans, weighing in at 1,175 kilograms.
At the top of the range, however, was an engine which had no problem making the whole thing move, and that was a 2.7 liter V6, one of the most common engines that you can find on surviving stateside 504s. Providing you actually come across a surviving 504 in America.
And speaking of coming across a 504 in America, I’ve only seen them at classic car shows. And only two shows for that matter: the Carlisle Import Nationals, and Citroen Rendezvous, which is coming up soon on the calendar. This mostly-Citroen gathering usually has about a dozen or so other French makes, Peugeots included, and every year it’s not unusual to see a 504 or two, like this sharp 504 GL from 1975.
Browse the full gallery from last year below:
[Images: Copyright 2013 Redusernab/Jay Ramey]