BF Auction: 1961 Peugeot 403 Break Wagon

Bid to: $600View Result

French manufacturers have earned a well-deserved reputation for producing cars that aren’t loaded with luxury appointments but feature excellent engineering and unsurpassed versatility. One such car is the Peugeot 403, which remains a firm favorite in many African nations over five decades after the last example rolled off the line. Our feature car is a 1961 Peugeot 403 Break, a classic wagon that offers endless possibilities as a project candidate. The current owner planned a sleeper build, although it would be equally suited to a custom or rat rod project or faithful restoration. A lack of time to do the wagon justice has made the owner decide that this French classic needs a new home, so he has listed it exclusively with us at Barn Finds Auctions.

The original owner ordered this Peugeot in attractive Ivory, but most of its paint has faded away as the dry corrosion common in hot and dry climates has crept across its panels. However, there isn’t any bad news on the rust front because there is no apparent steel penetration requiring a grinder or welder. The new owner faces a lot of sanding and rubbing down, and while that process will be long, completing it in a home workshop will consume nothing but time and many sheets of the appropriate abrasive. The underside is rock-solid, with no structural issues or other problems. Significant panel damage is minimal, with dents on the left side front and rear fenders being the only areas requiring attention. The new owner may be able to massage the panels back into shape, but sourcing a replacement front fender should not be challenging. The windshield is badly cracked, but the previous owner sourced a custom-made tinted replacement and a range of trim pieces that are included. The overall impression is that whipping the panels and paint into shape should cost the winning bidder more time than money.

Peugeot spent a considerable period finalizing the engineering of the 403 to ensure it was mechanically bulletproof and provided excellent ride comfort. These vehicles feature soft suspension with significant travel, making them the ideal tool for traversing inhospitable territory. The engine adds to that ability, and while the power and torque figures of 66hp and 86 ft/lbs appear modest, the low-end delivery of both makes them extraordinarily flexible and able to pull away from very low speeds in surprisingly high gears. Selecting low gear with the engine barely ticking over allows the 403 to clamber over obstacles that can challenge some off-roaders. This car retains its correct 1,468cc four-cylinder engine and four-speed manual transmission but doesn’t run. At some point in the car’s past the battery caught fire, melting it and some of the wiring. However, the engine turns freely, and the oil is clean. It seems that with some new wiring and fresh fuel, the little four should roar back into life. The current and previous owners assembled an impressive collection of spares included in the sale. The winning bidder receives:

• Windshield (new, not pictured, wrapped and stored indoors)
• Gauges/instrument cluster (not pictured, wrapped and stored indoors)
• Rear passenger-side cargo window
• Doors (side and rear)
• Hood
• Bumpers
• Hubcaps
• Wheels
• Grilles
• Steering wheel (great condition, not pictured, wrapped and stored indoors)
• Seats
• Jacks
• Drums
• Front axle assembly w/springs, hubs, drums
• Steering column
• Steering box
• Diesel engine

The Peugeot’s interior carries the hallmarks of a vehicle exposed to harsh UV rays, and a complete retrim is on the agenda. Some French suppliers will ship new trim and upholstery internationally, and that is an option to consider as part of a faithful restoration. However, even though the existing upholstery is shredded and tired, most pieces could serve as templates allowing a person with decent sewing skills to stitch together replacements. One of the greatest attributes of the 403 is the extraordinarily comfortable seats. They feature excellent padding to absorb the lumps and bumps effectively. The winning bidder needn’t worry about the condition of the wheel and gauge cluster because the list above confirms that replacements for both are included. There are electrical faults requiring attention, courtesy of the fire mentioned earlier. With the interior whipped into shape, the enormous amount of space would make this Peugeot an accomplished and comfortable long-distance family cruiser.

Classic station wagons remain strong performers in the current market, and many buyers focus on domestic models in their quest to own one. However, looking further afield is worth considering, with European manufacturers producing interesting and spacious candidates. Those words perfectly describe this 1961 Peugeot 403 Break. While it won’t possess the outright performance of a V8 alternative, it should effortlessly cover vast distances while providing total comfort for its occupants. The lack of structural rust makes it an ideal candidate for an enthusiast planning to be hands-on in their build, and the significant parts collection provides that person with a headstart. If you’ve never considered a European wagon to park in your workshop, maybe examining the gallery below will help to change your mind.

  • Location: Peoria, Arizona
  • Mileage: TMU
  • Engine: 1,468cc 4-Cylinder
  • Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
  • VIN: 403U52864224
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Auction

High Bid: $600 (Reserve Not Met)
Ended: Jul 26, 2023 10:00am MDT
High Bidder: Junkyardjonny
  • Junkyardjonny bid $600.00  2023-07-25 15:11:39
  • Wareagle01 bid $500.00  2023-07-24 15:35:08
  • goodrotties
    bid $250.00  2023-07-18 09:42:43

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. Maggy

    The French produced cars with excellent engineering? Think Chauchat machine gun type engineering maybe.Their quality was also substandard too. Worked on a few 80’s Peugeots in my time and they were junk.Just saying from experience. This would be a neat car to try and get running and tinker with but I wouldn’t pay much over scrap imo.

    Like 11
    • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

      Eighties Peugeot cars may have been junk, however, the sixties Peugeot’s were a whole different kettle of fish. The next model, the 404, won the East African Safari, which was the Paris-Dakar of it’s time, five times! My friend had a 403 sedan and we 17 year olds couldn’t kill that car on Rhodesia’s gravel roads whatever we did with it. We even turned it on it’s side once, pushed it back on it’s wheels, and carried on with our trip!

      Like 14
  2. LCL

    What happened to the battery?

    Like 2
    • John

      This is exactly why the car crusher was invented

      Like 5
    • Rx3

      A car next to it caught fire. The heat melted the battery and some of the wiring.

      Like 4
  3. Kenneth Carney

    Looks neat but VERY impractical. The
    French and British couldn’t build a reliable car if their lives depended on
    it. The side draft carbs often leak and drip fuel onto hot manifolds and
    poof! instant barbecue. Couple that
    with the Lucas electrical system, and
    you have the perfect recipe for disaster. Best thing to do with any
    French or British car would be to rewire it to American spec and install an American drive line in it if you’re
    gonna drive it every day. Had a jaguar sedan many years ago that I
    got for free. And boy, let me tell you,
    it needed everything. Wound up having it rewired to our specs here and added a 350 Chevy V-8 and a T-400 tranny for go. Nice car when I got
    it done– so much so that I sold it to a
    doctor in our town for $4K that summer. That’s what I’d do with it.
    Just my $.02 though.
    American

    Like 10
    • Peter

      Sounds like a lot of American gobbledygook to me old pal!

      Like 15
    • Earl

      I’ve had older Peugeot in my time., the sleeved gasser was unstoppable.

      Like 11
    • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

      Don’t know what you Yanks do with British cars as we don’t have the troubles that you are on about over here. The old ones used to rust, yes, but so did the American cars and today there is no such thing as rust on British cars. As for the electrics I very much doubt that our cars are any worse than yours bearing in mind that most of todays electrics are Chinese anyway.

      Like 6
      • bone

        Are there any British cars left ? And British cars used to rust terribly , at least here on the East Coast , much more than the domestic cars ( Vega excluded) . And Lucas is known as the prince of darkness for a reason …..

        Like 0
  4. wa rowe

    Chauvinist is a French word, right?

    Like 4
    • Pagodaman

      It hasn’t a side draft carburator, neither Lucas electrical system… you are talking about a wrong country, and probably never seen a French car.

      Like 13
    • jwaltb

      Freedom Fries isn’t!

      Like 0
  5. Peter

    Sounds like a lot of American gobbledygook to me old pal!

    Like 4
  6. MikeG.

    Hmmm..
    No LS suggestion? The GM clowns must have overslept !!

    Like 2
  7. XLR8TG

    Why would any auto maker market their car as a “Break”?

    Like 6
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars

      Short for “Shooting Brake?”

      Like 10
      • Rick

        Yes, shooting brake is a British term, equivalent to a station wagon on the other side of the pond.

        Like 5
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      XLR8TG,

      Break is the common term for what Americans call a station wagon. While it might seem to suggest what the car tends to do, the word has a different meaning in French.

      Like 12
    • MikeG.

      The correct spelling is brake, not break. A little research would have
      corrected this error.

      Like 1
      • Erik

        MikeG Maybe you should learn at least one foreign language:
        Break is the French word for station wagon
        .
        So….. the spelling is correct.

        Here the front of a French Peugeot 305 Break brochure: https://i.ibb.co/xJmdDNb/Break.jpg

        Like 3
      • MikeG.

        Rick,
        Thank you!!

        Like 0
    • Erik

      Because it’s a word in their language that they use for a station wagon…..

      Like 1
      • MikeG.

        Erik. I’ve lived in both England and Germany.
        Shooting brake s were originally designed and built by Rolls Royce…they spelled the word brake. Perhaps you should do a bit of research before trying to correct someone!!

        I

        Like 1
      • MikeG.

        BTW Erik, I’m fluent in both French and German. Be certain that you are correct before getting snarky !

        Like 0
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

        MikeG,

        As someone who has lived in the USA, England & Germany, and also owned many Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, as well as owning a Rolls-Royce repair & Restoration shop, I can tell you the term shooting brake [also known correctly in the UK as a shooting break] pre-dates the founding of the Rolls-Royce firm by at least 100 years, as they originally referred to types of horse-drawn wagons.

        Rolls-Royce [the automobile division] never built a shooting brake or break. Until the advent of the Silver Dawn after WW2, the company never built a complete vehicle, only producing the chassis and running gear. I owned a pre-WW2 Rolls-Royce shooting break, and when I bought the car it came with the original British coachbuilder’s watercolor drawings, marked as a “Break”.

        In the UK, the terms shooting brake and shooting break can be used interchangeably. Both are acceptable. This is a result of the combination of English and French languages, primarily as a result of the Norman conquests.

        Here is some of my research that may help clear things up:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_brake#:~:text=A%20shooting%20brake%2C%20occasionally%20spelled,instead%20of%20being%20sedan%2Dbased.

        Like 1
      • MikeG.

        Erik, you might
        Download shooting brake
        In Wikipedia. It may help to straighten your snarky attitude a bit.

        Like 1
  8. Rick

    Just one more thing. Did this Peugeot 403 wagon trigger the memory of Lt. Columbo?

    Like 9
    • Fred W

      Was about to say, the cabriolet version got the Lieutenant through about a zillion episodes. With the help of a Hollywood maintenance crew.

      Like 6
      • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

        Evidently there were 2 or 3 of Colombo’s Peugeot’s for the series.

        Like 4
    • Steve

      My first thought was it was Columbo’s wife’s car. (“Uh, one more thing…”)

      Like 7
  9. Leancy

    How to contact seller to view car?

    Like 4
  10. Lumpy

    Awww….what a cute little hemi!

    Like 3
    • James B Dillard

      « With a battery and some fresh fuel it will start right up probably »

      That’s a joke right??

      Like 0
      • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

        Actually James I wouldn’t be surprised if it did exactly that. These Peugeot’s are virtually indestructible, apart from rust that is.

        Like 0
  11. Bub

    1)”whipping the panels and paint into shape should cost the winning bidder more time than money.”
    2)”with some new wiring and fresh fuel, the little four should roar back to life” 3)”it should effortlessly cover vast distances while providing total comfort for its occupants”
    I’m afraid I can’t hold my water. What absolute malarkey. I don’t know what type of shop the writer owns, operates or dreams about, but it must be staffed with a few hundred Keebler elves.

    Like 4
  12. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    My dad bought a 403 “long roof” new in 1961, from the local imported car dealer in Bethesda, MD; Manhattan Auto. The dealer had ordered the car with the optional 3-row seating, the center row was a pair of folding jump seats, and the back seat was almost all the way back to the rear door. In France they were known as a “Familiale”.

    The car had been ordered by the dealer as part of a plan to sell more of them as Taxicabs, due to the number of people they could carry, and get good gas mileage. Problem was, the local DC taxicab regulations required the use of full size cars!

    So the car sat on the lot for a long time and dad ended up buying it real cheap. He drove it until 1968 when he bought a new Porsche. Dad sold the Peugeot to a neighbor who was going to drive his family to South America on a missionary trip. They returned some 10 years later, the Peugeot having been all over the world, including most of Africa. It had well over 300,000 miles at that point. A friend of mine who had wanted the car in ’68 [but didn’t have a driver’s permit yet], saw the car was back, and he bought it for $50.

    Like 18
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars

      As usual, a great recollection from you Bill! Reminds me of my days in DC with Manhattan Auto broadcasting all over the automotive classified ads in the Sunday Post (which I would pour over). Manhattan was my first introduction to the wide world of European imports. Somewhere, I think I have one of their dealer badges, popped off a long-ago scrapped MG or Triumph. Cheers!

      Like 4
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

        Little_Cars,

        Back then Manhattan Motors was just getting started and was a nice, friendly place to gather to see and talk unusual European cars.

        My dad started off his European car buying with a 1958 Volvo Duett wagon, trading it in on the 403 Familial. When the neighbor offered him way too much money for it [he wanted a 403 Familial because he was going to 3rd world countries where the Peugeot 403 cars ruled, and they had become hard to find], dad took the cash and bought a 6 month old Porsche 912 with a 5-speed!

        I came home from high school to find the Porsche in the driveway, and the 403 nowhere to be found! I walked in and asked dad if the Porsche was his, and he said: “Yep, it’s mine, and NO, you can’t drive it!” I will never forget those words!

        Like 7
    • PairsNPaint

      Oh yeah, good old Manhattan Auto! My friend Wendall worked there as a service manager in the early ’70’s. Another friend, Jeff, worked there as a mechanic. He “left” when he dropped a customer’s TR-4 upside down off the lift.

      Like 4
    • jwaltb

      Very cool car built the year I got my driver’s license. But this looks like a parts car. Even the spares look played out.
      Lots of BFers showing their ignorance on this one. Too many old Camaros will do that I guess…

      Like 0
    • MikeG.

      Bill,
      Thank you for your clarification post. I’ve lived in both Germany and the UK, as well as Japan.
      I’ve always seen it spelled b r a k e.
      I imagine my confusion resulted from the French spelling
      Again, my sincere thanks
      Mike

      Like 1
      • Erik

        MikeG: Listen when other people are telling you’re in the wrong instead of being stuborn. It will make your life way easier….

        It’s a break, not spelled as “brake” when it comes to a French wagon.
        It’s just basic French.
        You should learn a few languages instead of the few words you are able to say now in German or French: that has nothing to do with speaking a language!

        Like 0
    • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

      And it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that it is still running around with 4 or 500,000+ miles on the clock by now.

      Like 0
  13. Little_Cars Little_Cars

    Similar story. My family’s first “extra car” was a Vauxhall Victor. Dad traded that on a Corvair Lakewood wagon which is the first car I remember riding in. But then, our world changed when Dad chose to trade the Lakewood on a 1967 Pontiac Firebird Sprint in a beautiful copper finish. He never looked back and owned a half-dozen Firebirds through the 1980s.

    Like 6
  14. goodrottiesMember

    Does the seller believe all the spares, except the diesel engine, will fit in the back of the car? And, is he willing to pack them in so they go away with the car?

    Like 3
    • Rx3

      I don’t know about getting the extra doors and hood inside, but everything else is already packed inside.

      Like 3
  15. Odd Cars

    To the seller. Whats the diesel from? Is it a 403 xd, or a diesel from a 404? Or not from a pug at all? It looks familiar..

    Like 3
    • Rx3

      The diesel engine came from a 403 brought over from Europe by the PO.

      Like 3
  16. Sam61

    Mrs. Columbo’s grocery getter soccer, sorry “football” mom car.

    Like 3
  17. John Arnest

    Had a 403 here in Honolulu when I was in college. A very cool car, but a bit of a hassle getting parts. I remember when I was broke and couldn’t afford a new battery coming in from surfing and getting out the starter fluid and crank to fire it up. Went to Tahiti a couple of times in the 70’s and some some very neat 403 and 404 pickups that were diesel powered and that was one vehicle (either one) I really wanted to own!

    Like 3
  18. Roy MarsonMember

    In Egypt they are used a long distance cabs. Known there as “Flying Coffins”.

    Like 3
  19. geoff a

    my parents bought a 1960 wagon and we had it till they bought a 1966 404 both cars were totally reliable. The remarks about earlier were clearly made by someone who has no clue about the 403 or 404 models Never had any problems with electrical or mechanical and I learned to drive on the 404 and beat the snot out of it and never broke a thing and I live in Maine and some of the roads would be comparable to a 3rd world country. Some people talk about things they have no experience with and have cranial inversion.

    Like 5
    • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

      The same people that consider that every British car ever made is junk and that Lucas electrics are even worse. I have owned many Brit cars and have not had any serious problems with either their mechanicals or electrics. Rust, yes, but there are many comments here on American cars that used to rust in front of the owners eyes back in the day.

      Like 1
      • Erik

        Solosolo UK: The placement of the steering wheel is a big NO for me…. ;-)

        Like 1
  20. Bub

    These days, you gotta pay good money for a cranial inversion.

    Like 0
  21. Erik

    Break is the French word for station wagon, so the title of this article “1961 Peugeot 403 Break Wagon” is in fact saying “wagon wagon”.

    Like 3
  22. MikeG.

    The correct spelling for the vehicle is
    Shooting B R A K E…not b r e a k !!

    Like 0
    • Erik

      MikeG: You obviously don’t speak French, but maybe you can read the front of this Peugeot brochure…..

      It says Break, and that’s the word that the French use for a station wagon:

      https://i.ibb.co/xJmdDNb/Break.jpg

      Like 1
    • Pagodaman

      Really? You are using a British denomination for a French car? In French, like several said, is
      B R E A K!!!! Please you must do a little research before insisting in an error. Can’t imagine how fluent in French you are…

      Like 4
  23. Erik

    The correct spelling is Break, because that’s what the French use for a station wagon.

    They don’t care about whatever the British name it, they are French.

    Or do you really think that the author of the article made up the name Break?

    Google is your friend, even if you speak very poor French ;-)

    Like 5
  24. Scot rodz

    When I see this car I see potential …. As a hot rod ! Picture a handbuilt frame Chevy ls4 motor and 5spd stick shortened rearend tubbed now you got a car no one else has it ain’t a hot rod till it’s a Scot rod

    Like 1

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