And even to this day, this is a car that refuses to die. With its robust body, long suspension travel and torque tube drive shaft, it was durable and hardy – perfect for rough-terrain areas – and became incredibly popular outside of Europe in far-flung places including Brazil, Argentina, Australia and, of course, Africa. In Europe, more than 3 million 504s were produced from 1968-1983. But was this the end of the tenacious 504? Not a chance! Throughout the world, production continued under licence. In Kenya and Nigeria, assembly using knock-down kits continued into 2004 and 2006 respectively. If you consider that this car initially appeared on the scene in 1968, that makes it something like the car equivalent of Mick Jagger…well, as far as staying power goes, anyway.
Need more proof of just how tough this car is? Well, in 1983 Robert Hotz bought a demo model 1.8-litre, 504 station wagon for R5 500. From that time, he used it as his daily car. In 2011, the 504 hit the million – yes, million – kilometre mark. “At one stage parts became a problem, but I found somebody in Pretoria who had a workshop full of Peugeot spares – he even found me an indicator lever when the one in my car broke. The same chap also serviced the car during that time – every 10 000km or so,” Hotz said at the time. And would he ever sell? Apparently, even though he has had loads of offers, he would never even consider it.
I totally get it, Mr Hotz. When I do find that perfect 504 wagon, I will hold on to it too.