French Diesel: 1968 Peugeot 204 Estate


This cheeky little “wagon” is a 1968 Peugeot 204 Estate and it’s in Wellington (Somerset), United Kingdom, between the Bristol Channel and the English Channel in the southwest part of the UK. It’s on eBay as a classified ad with a price of £2,995 ($3,650).


The Peugeot 204 was the best-selling car in France from 1969-1971 and they were made from 1965 to 1976 with over 1,600,000 produced. The wagon, or estate, is the most unique body style, I think, and this car looks pretty solid. The seller says that they imported this car from France in 2015 as a project and they have done “just 4 small patches of welding under the removable sill covers. It also had new cover sills but other than that the bodywork is totally original.” The headlights have been switched out to right-hand-drive versions but they have a spare brand new set of headlights, although there is no word on if they’re for roads in right-hand or left-hand drive countries or not.


This car was put in storage in 1994 with a full tank of diesel fuel in it and although it started, it probably wasn’t a good idea to try to run any of that decades old fuel through the system. So, “the injector pump kept sticking so the pump has been overhauled and a new filter head etc fitted.” This car has four new tyres/tires and the brakes have been gone through and a new clutch slave cylinder has been installed so it should be ready to go.


I say this every time, but there’s something about a red interior that gets to me, in a good way. Or, at least the seats and half of the door cards are red, and they look like new! I do see a crack on the top of the dash, and a little wrinkling on the passenger side door panel but other that, and a good carpet cleaning, this interior would do very nicely. This is a 4-speed car with a column shifter, right-hand-drive markets got a floor shifter. Either would work for me, just so I can shift for myself. There are no photos of the cargo area included with the eBay ad, unfortunately, but as this ad shows, these cars are both good looking and useful!


The seller says that this is a 1.2L diesel and it was used previously to the 1.3L diesel. But, if I’m not mistaken, this is Peugeot’s 1.3L (1,255 CC) diesel that was available in the estate and van towards the end of 1968 and it put out 40 hp and 48 lb-ft of torque. In 1973 they went with a 1.4L diesel. The 1.3L engine was notoriously sssslllllooooowww but it got about 40 mpg so once you got up to speed you were set, or at least you were up to about 80 mph. 150,000 diesel 204s were produced and at the time that they were introduced it was the smallest commercially-available diesel put into a passenger vehicle. This car is out of my range being in the UK, but I think it would be fun to own a 204 Estate someday. Heads would spin at almost any car show if this one pulled up, clattering away.


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  1. Jean Lecointe

    These small diesel engines on the 204 have a bad reputation.
    They were subjected to frequent cylinder head gasket failures and even cylinder head cracks.
    They needed slow temperature raise at idle, which was a nuisance for an utility car.
    Few of these motors were able to run over 100000Km as other diesel engines could reach 300000 or more without trouble.
    I would choose a 204 with gasoline engine which are much more reliable and more powerful and pleasant to drive.

  2. brakeservo

    Wow – a French car improperly stored for decades and apparently quickly and cheaply resurrected – gee what could possibly go wrong?? But if this were still in France, wouldn’t it be a “Break?” Yes I know, the Brits spell it “Brake” as I ‘ve had both Rolls Royce and Aston Martin Shooting Brakes. And shoulda never sold ’em!!

  3. Leon

    I like the hatch decal. Wonder where to find one ??

  4. Dubois

    The price seems high for a car you find easily.
    Here is my barn find which is since 4 years my daughters daily car

  5. Howard A Member

    I’ve always liked French cars, even with their silly 3 bolt wheels, it was one of the few foreign cars my old man would let in his driveway. He called these “Poo-Joe’s”. I like the wagon part, but I see a trailer hitch. I hope you don’t plan on pulling anything bigger than a wheel barrow. I’d have to think that motor would be incredibly low on power. I can’t imagine there’s too many of these around. Cool find.

  6. Dominique Legeai

    ….who in his right mind would go through the hassle and expenses to import such a non interesting car to the US…?

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Dominique, I guess for the same reason someone might import a Rambler American to France. Peugeot’s are great cars, I think it’s cool.

  7. Dominique Legeai

    you are right Howard, but a Rambler in France would at least “stand out” as an oddity perhaps but still show a “presence”…whereas this otherwise cute Peugeot is irremediably “nondescript”…..but to each its own, bottom line!

  8. Laurent Herjean

    May I add a few pieces of information:

    1- This was the world’s smallest Diesel engine back then. It was introduced on the estate for the 1968 model year, which makes this specific car one of the oldest surviving Diesel examples. The saloon got the Diesel engine in 1974 or 1975 IIRC.

    2- The headlights can be adjusted for RHD or LHD by a small tab under the bulb housing.

    3- Early (petrol) RHD 204s did have the column gearshift. Not sure when they were converted to floor gearshift. I have no idea how early RHD diesels were equipped, though.

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