French Flair: 1935 Peugeot 401D Cabriolet

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Just a few articles ago, we mentioned the 1935 Peugeot Eclipse – a convertible  with a retractable hardtop. Now, here on eBay is a 1935 Peugeot 401D but in cabriolet form. The 401 and the slightly later 402 were inspired by developments at Citroen and Chrysler, respectively. Citroen had introduced the eminently usable Traction Avant, an amalgamation of several innovations in automotive engineering and design. Chrysler had introduced the Airflow, sparking the “streamliner” concept. These two influences collided at Peugeot. The 401’s flowing fenders and “beavertail” rear were a nod to streamline styling (though the 402 capitalized on the trend much more distinctively). Positioned as a mid-sized family car, about 13,500 401s were produced from 1934 to 1935, with sedans comprising most of that total; this seller says that just 185 cabriolets were made. A restoration project, made slightly more complicated by its location in Krakow, Poland, this 401D is listed at €38,000. Kyle K. found this exotic tip for us – thanks, Kyle!

The 401 series was powered by a 1720 cc in-line four-cylinder engine, making about 44 bhp. This car features a three-speed manual, independent front suspension, and drum brakes all around. Top speed was about 60 mph. The seller says this motor will run, and that it was driven as recently as 2018. These cars apparently did not sell particularly well; the 402, with a 2 liter, 55 hp engine and extravagant styling, replaced it by mid 1935.

The interior is mostly complete but will need refurbishment. I think the lever on the dash just under the windshield works to rotate the windshield open. The rear seat area offers a glimpse of the convertible top frame arrangement. This photo, and this one, show how nice a restored 401 interior can be.

The underside is surface-rusty from long storage, and the buyer will have his work cut out reconditioning the suspension. That is, if he can even get it here. The car has French documents and is not registered in Poland, where it sits. And then there’s price. No other 401s are on the market at the moment, and a search turned up only one five-year-old sale of a long wheelbase sedan which sold for half the price of our subject car – though it was quite nice. Any guesses as to the value of this derelict beauty?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. losgatos_dale

    I won’t guess at the value of this derelict beauty, but I suppose if I were in Poland I’d love to get €38,000 !

    Like 8
  2. Gary SunshineMember

    I don’t see it recently running with no ignition wires and what appears to be a head bolt on top of the engine. Good luck with that price.

    Like 5
  3. Derek

    It’s an odd one, ‘cos it’s a rare car but not a particularly desirable one. I don’t think the proportions work that well, myself; certainly not when side-by-side with a Traction convertible. Peugeots of that era are reliable old things though, so if you’re after something to trundle around and do the shopping in, it’ll work. As for the documents, I don’t think that’s a problem. It’s registered in the EU and it’s still in the EU*; you can put it on a trailer and – because of free movement of goods – take it back to France from where you can ship it.

    *insert grumpy comment here.

    Like 5
  4. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Michelle, you’ve a penchant for the eclectic and the detailed research that goes with it-which obviously puts you right in with the whole BF forum that we all appreciate. Your excellent journalistic flair is your own and so is right at home with the rest of our outstanding BF editors and readers.
    With that, While this would be a truly unique point of conversation at a Coffee And Cars it’d be a bit to restore it but truly unique wherever and whenever it arrives!

    Like 4
    • Michelle RandAuthor

      Wow, thanks so much for the compliment! You made my day! …. I feel so fortunate, I deeply enjoy digging into all these great cars, learning a lot myself, and hopefully teaching a bit along the way.

      Like 6
  5. Lance

    Needs a set of hi lo horns.

    Like 0
  6. GitterDunn

    This is so rare, it may be the only known example still in existence. Rakish lines, sporting demeanor . . . but that price!!! It’s worth doing a nut-and-bolt restoration, too expensive a proposition to warrant the €38k ask. I think it would be a stretch at €20k, but then again there’s an arse for every seat, as they used to say, and a rich Peugeot collector might go for it. GLWTS

    Like 1
  7. Mike Languein

    Here’s a “Columbo Car” I could get into! I’d leave the patina as is, buy an old rain coat and drive it. Oh, one more thing, I’d take up cigar smoking.

    Like 2
    • robbert

      Case closed!

      Like 0
  8. robbert

    This is nice! To much money but nice!

    Like 3
  9. Big C

    I wonder what 38,000 pounds will buy you in Poland?

    Like 0
  10. MikeH

    I am so glad to find out this is in Poland. I saw the pic and thought I had to have it–and I don’t need it. Not however, at 38,000 Euros. Here’s a ’35 301, a smaller version and admittedly a four door, for 17,000 in “very good condition” and driven regularly. This 401 will never end up in NA. It’s worth far more in France than it would be here.

    Like 2
  11. Troy

    Interesting, car my opinion on the design the head lights need to sit higher up glad its out of the country I don’t need a lawn ornament

    Like 0
  12. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    I did some quick research in the internet of things, and this is the only 401D cabriolet I can find, for sale or not. Plenty of 401 Eclipse cabriolets, but just this one folding top open car.

    Yes, I suspect the owner is asking a high amount, but if there are no other examples, is it really too much?

    Like 2

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