French Original: 1978 Peugeot 504 Diesel

French diesel cars are fairly unusual around the halls of One Barn Finds Tower, but this seller has two of them up for auction now. This incredible, original 1978 Peugeot 504 diesel can be found here on eBay in Torrance, California. There is no reserve and the current bid price is just over $4,100 and there are two days left on the auction. Let’s check out this Diesel français.

Like Citroën, Peugeot made some incredibly unusual and some would say, cool cars. Peugeot is maybe more on the college professor scale but both carmakers produced some interesting vehicles. Or, maybe I think that they’re so interesting and unusual because we rarely saw them here in the U.S. and especially in the upper-Midwest.

The Peugeot 504 was produced from 1968 to 1983 and over 3-million of them were made. I have never owned a Peugeot which is crazy, this would be one that I would want seeing that it has a diesel engine, for the unusual factor. The seller says that this 504 is all original other than a couple of maintenance items that have been replaced, like an air pump and power brake booster. If the body is truly original, that would be amazing and makes it well worth the price of admission.

There are no photos of the back seat but from what we see of the front seats, things look fantastic in this 504. For a car this old to be all original is amazing, it looks like brand new inside, too. From what I understand, Peugeots had some of the most comfortable seats in the world, but I think those were in the 505. I seem to remember period advertising and commercials about the comfort of the seats. They do show us a trunk photo and it looks great, too.

The engine in this four-door French’mobile is Peugeot’s XD2, a 2.3L inline-four diesel with 71 hp and 99 ft-lb of torque. The 0-60 time was dangerously close to being 20 seconds which is hard to imagine in 2020 traffic, but once up to speed, I bet that this would be a comfortable highway cruiser. Have any of you owned a Peugeot 504? Bonus points for having owned a Peugeot diesel.


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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    To me, the grill face of this car resembles the recent Dodge Charger.

    Like 1
    • SubGothius

      There was a competition between Pininfarina and Peugeot’s in-house studio for the 504 design. When Pininfarina’s Aldo Brovarone saw this front-end design from the Peugeot studio, he remarked, “Do not even take the cover from my car. That is the perfect front end for the Peugeot 504, and I will tell you why – it has the eyes of Sophia Loren.”

      Of course, this headlight motif wound up becoming the “family face” of Peugeots up to today. Related, that design competition also tells the story behind the 504’s unusual, er, behind as well:

      Like 1
      • Solosolo ken tillyUK Member

        Thanks for supplying the website from Irish Times SubGothius. Confirms my experience of the 504 exactly.

        Like 1
  2. Howard A Member

    A “POO-joe”, like my old man called them( but called Renaults, Renultz) I don’t care for the diesel, I’m sure it, like all French stuff, it’s a capable unit. Diesel cars had a short flash in the pan here, but once people found out what a pain they can be, most went back to gas. French make great cars. and this is one of them.

    Like 5
  3. Grolar

    I weekend drive a ’79, US-spec diesel auto in France, I can confirm the glacial 0-60 but once it’s there, this is a great, noisy and smelly driving machine. And what a cool look, definitely a fantastic conversation starter.

    Like 1
  4. Solosolo ken tillyUK Member

    I had a 504 automatic, petrol, car that I bought for my step father and it was a great car. I took it on a couple of long trips but found the seat squab too short to support my thighs and I am only 6ft 2in. O.K. around town but not so good on a long haul. I eventually sold it because it became a real rust bucket and bought him a Datsun Langley a/t which didn’t last long either owing to the rust problem. We only lived a couple of miles from the Indian Ocean so it was what was expected of cars in those days.

    Like 2
  5. Moncton(was Winnipeg)carnut Member

    In Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in the late 1970’s-early 1980’s a good friend’s father drove one of these. Not diesel though. It was so smooth and comfortable and definitely not quick. He was an engineer and a pilot and said he chose the Peugeot for the fantastic engineering.

    Like 2
    • Bry593

      I was going to say only our Canuck brethren can really appreciate the Pugh Joe.

  6. John

    If that was in the UK it would be snapped up in a flash. Brilliant reliable cars and the pickup truck version is the most coveted of all.

    Like 2
  7. Skorzeny

    Call me weird, but I love the looks of these. The 505 especially, and the 604. If I had lottery money I would paint this a dark color, and do an engine swap and a stout 5 speed. Just for fun…

    Like 1
  8. Bill Moncrief

    Having owned, in years now long past, various 504s, including sedans and wagons, both diesel and gas powered, I can tell you that it is true the diesels would never be described as quick off the line, but they were all wonderfully comfortable, lovely cars to drive.

    If you are also an North East Coast old timer, you may remember when Peugeot made a deal with Yellow Cab in NYC. For a few glorious years in the late 1970s bright yellow 505 diesel sedans could be seen all over New York; truly great times for American Peugeot lovers…

    I once had a lovely old 504 Peugeot diesel wagon which had traveled well over 300,000 miles before I bought it for $250 and started driving it to commute to work at a Windsor, CT office park… One summer day, the old girl became incontenent, embarrassingly leaking several gallons of diesel fuel on the pavement, while I was out of town on a business trip…

    It seems that this event was unfortunatley concomitant with a sudden thunderstorm downpour, which thoroughly cleaned the parking lot, but left a noticeable grey sheen on a portion of one of the office park’s ponds… (More environmentally thoughtful office park designs these days avoid draining parking lots directly into ponds…)

    In any event, I never saw that poor car again, as it was impounded by an over zealous CT DEP officer, who was also rattling the hand cuffs on his uniform belt when I returned. …The rest is obviously another story…

    Like 7
  9. JS

    My father owned a ’78 Diesel wagon. The last original Michelin came off the car at 120,000 miles. It hard to burn rubber with 54 hp. The water pump is on the front of the cylinder head, so you only need to be about a quart low on coolant to overheat it. At that point it overheats and burns out the rubber seals at the base of the wet cylinder liners. Coolant floods the oil pan and you have to pull the head and oil pan to pull the liners and replace the seals. The buyer should watch the coolant level closely or contact me to buy the tool I made to pull the liners. I still have it 40 plus years on.

    Like 3
  10. JS

    Another incident which caused the insurance company to scrap the car occured when my brother in law had the car. The battery ground failed and the starter found a new ground path through the emergency brake cables which set the center console on fire. Surprisingly, he reacted quite quickly and managed to get the fire extinguished. I’d suggest adding a redundant ground to the starter or you too could be driving a car with a R/S title and a specially textured steering wheel.

    Vibration broke an injector pipe and the dealer would only sell a new set and wanted $600. I told the parts guy the car was not worth that and I’d weld it. Of course he told me I couldn’t do that and years later when the car was sold it still had the welded pipe on it. I went with my dad to take a community college welding course and they told me I couldn’t take it because I wasn’t 18YO. So I am self taught.

    Like 3
  11. Doug F Member

    Had one !!! Loved it !!! Never failed to start, even on the coldest 0 degree F mornings. no ether no plugging it in. Wish I still had it !!

    Like 1
  12. classicsandcabrios Member

    This 504 is a little different with a V6 engine we brought over from Rome, Italy a little while ago. Classics-Cabriolets

    Like 1
  13. classicsandcabrios Member

    Even the front is a bit different.

    Like 2
  14. classicsandcabrios Member

    With a beautiful leather interior

    Like 2
  15. JS

    One time I was just pulling in having just passed a semi and the engine locked up. The rear tires were skidding and by the time I figured out what was happening hit the clutch and steered for the shoulder, I had one very angry truck driver who managed not to rear end me.

    It was pretty torquey when it did run. Once while I was in university, I was driving a $100 Volvo 122S wagon which locked up, made some really bad noises and stopped propelling itself. I drifted to the side of the road and got out to find a stream of oil leading back to where it locked up where I found a 3″ x 3″ chunk of the transmission case in the road with gear teeth marks all over the inside surface. I put a for sale sign in the window and sold it for a profit from the spot it came to rest. Dad drove the wagon down to rescue me and help me buy another car lending me the money. I wanted a bit ratty Capri but he insisted I buy a ’74 Malibu for $750. Later, the Malibu needed more repairs than I could sell it for repaired, so I welded a couple of tabs to the front bumper put a tow bar on it, borrowed the 504 and towed the Malibu 120 miles to the demolition derby. I didn’t win the $500 prize,JS but I did get $50 for it.

    • Horse Radish

      Sounds like cars in general aren’t your thing, nor your best friends either.

      Like 1
      • JS

        Actually, they are and are again. But having run a successful auto repair business and repairing and restoring a wide variety of cars, I will say the is a very nice example of the type. Every car design has its foibles. Diesel powered cars suffer from the EPAs Jacking with the composition of #2 Diesel which shrinks and swells the seals leading to injection pump R&Rs. The Bosch radial pumps like on the VWs and this car IIRC, can have the injection distributor seal replaced without removing the pump from the car. I don’t think you would be able to find a mechanic out there who would admit that, but it is true. That saves having to retime it, and a whole of other BS.

        Working as an auto mechanic and building construction worker financed a very successful career as a professional mechanical engineer. I love my car collection.

  16. Terry L McNutt

    Had a 76 504 diesel and it was a POS and I have had a lot of diesels. I had to replace the injection pump at 25,000 mi. The exhaust at 35,000 and a blown head gasket at less than 50,000. I have never had a car need so much maintenance. I changed the oil every 3,000 and did all the dealer stuff and it still was a POS and to think I traded a 72 Lemans to buy it. Young and dumb.

    Like 1
  17. Steven M Dempsey

    I had a 1974 504 gas. Really enjoyed the car. Went to get a part from the dealer one day but he was gone. Building and all!

  18. Steve

    My Father had a 77 diesel 4 speed back in the day, was pretty slow but solid.
    By 1983 or so the New England winters had taken it toll and it was put out to pasture with about 275K miles on it, still running strong. I remember he changed the oil religously at 3K miles.
    I also recall there was no hole in the center of the wheel rims, meaning tires had to be chaged by hand with tire irons because there was no way to mount them on a tire changing machine.

  19. SJ

    I have a 504 diesel pickup here in the uk, just over 200,000 miles and still running perfectly, definitely won’t win any races but certainly will never die

    Like 1
  20. Mountainwoodie

    In my minds eye I associate these with university professors back in the mid seventies. The kind with longer hair, leather patches on his elbows and he inevitably bought “hippie cabbage” from someone I knew.

    That said I think they are great cars.if they run on gas.

  21. Ward William

    I would buy that in a heartbeat if I lived in Uncle Samland.

    As a kid down under, my dad and grandfather (who was a Peugeot mechanic) had early 203s, 303s 403s 504s and several others. If that donk is in good nick, you could daily drive that sucker until doomsday and then give it to Keith Richards to drive for all eternity because you know he will be around for longer than God.

    Like 2
  22. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this great looking Peugeot sold for $5,600!

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