Peugeot 304

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Peugeot 304
Peugeot 304, Malta feb 2011 - Flickr - sludgegulper slightly less rakish angle.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Peugeot SA
PSA Group
Production 1969 – 1980
1,178,423 produced
Body and chassis
Class compact
Body style 4-door saloon
4-door estate ("break")
2-door coupé
2-door convertible
2-door van ("fourgonette")
Layout FF layout
Related Peugeot 204
Powertrain
Engine 1.3 L I4 XL3
1.3 L I4 XL5
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,595 mm (102.2 in) saloon
Length 4,140 mm (163 in) saloon
Width 1,570 mm (62 in) saloon
Height 1,410 mm (56 in) saloon
Curb weight 890 kg (1,960 lb) – 970 kg (2,140 lb)
Chronology
Successor Peugeot 305

The Peugeot 304 is a small family car introduced to the public at the Paris Motor Show in September 1969 by the French car manufacturer Peugeot.[1] The saloon/sedan disappeared from the Sochaux assembly lines during the summer of 1979, while the "break" (estate) survived until the spring of 1980.[1]

Peugeot, which had always been a financially prudent company[citation needed], saw a gap in the midsize car market in France, Italy and the rest of Western Europe. By using the smaller 204's midsection, development costs were minimized resulting in a higher profit margin because of the higher pricing structure in the larger, better equipped market. The 304's main competitors on its home market came from Renault and Simca, with Citroen noticeably absent from this sector at the launch. The 304 was a success for Peugeot and was noted for several advanced features under its Pininfarina styled exterior.[citation needed] With its independent suspended front-wheel-drive drivetrain and disc brakes, it rode and handled better than most of its contemporaries, including some cars in higher price brackets.[citation needed] The chassis served Peugeot well and lasted for approximately 24 years adapted to derivative models. There was a distinct upmarket feel to the 304, its handsome lines were well suited to postwar Europe's newly affluent middle classes who desired roomy, advanced and stylish cars to park in their driveways.[citation needed] At about this time the Autoroutes were opening up France and car manufacturers around Europe knew that any car launched hence, would need to add an ability to travel at high speeds, in relative comfort with sure-footed handling to its lineup in order to compete.[citation needed] The 304 fulfilled this brief and became one of the best-selling cars in its market segment.[citation needed]

The car was sold until 1980 and was replaced by the Peugeot 305, which had been launched in 1977.

It was based on the Peugeot 204 with which it shared many components, the most obvious difference being the frontal styling.

The engine[edit]

The 304 was launched with an all alloy SOHC four-cylinder 1288 cc petrol engine (XL3). More powerful S versions of the engine, sporting a twin choke/twin barrel carburettor (XL3S), became an option in 1972: the S engines provided a 10 bhp (7.5 kW) output increase to 75 bhp (55 kW). Various detailed modifications were made to the engine in 1975 which boosted torque and included a marginal displacement increase to 1290 cc (XL5/XL5S).

A 1357 cc diesel engine became available for the saloon from July 1976, and for the estate and "fourgonette" van two months later. In July 1979, a larger 1548 cc diesel engine was offered; this was the engine also installed in early versions of the Peugeot 305.

Running gear[edit]

1976 Peugeot 304 SLS, featuring the simplified treatment of the front- and back- ends on the later post-face-lift cars

The car was moderately advanced for its time, having fully independent suspension, and a four-speed gearbox located directly below the engine, sharing the same oil as the engine. Although most interior components were interchangeable with the 204, the 304 had a floor-mounted gear change in place of the column-mounted control in the smaller car. The transverse-engine front-wheel-drive configuration conferred enhanced cabin space, although this was no longer such an unusual feature as it had been for the 204 back in 1965. The 304 also incorporated front disc brakes and headlights that could adjust for left/right hand drive.

The body[edit]

Peugeot 304 break
Peugeot 304 cabriolet

The 304 was designed to slot between the popular 204 and the recently introduced Peugeot 504. Since the 204 had an exceptionally spacious passenger cabin for its class, the 304 body used the central portion of the 204: engine and running gear components were mostly interchangeable between the two cars. However, the 304 had a restyled front grill and headlights, designed consciously to emulate the 504 which had received a generally positive response from the market place.

More substantial differences occurred at the rear of the saloon, where overhang on the 304 was 13.5 cm (5.5 inches) longer than on the 204: this allowed for a larger boot/trunk. However, estate and two-door versions shared their (shorter) rear ends with corresponding models in the 204 range. Coupé and cabriolet versions replaced their 204 forerunners in March 1970, being the first models to receive the "S" version of the engine two years later in March 1972. However, the cabriolet and coupé 304s were withdrawn from the market, without direct replacements, respectively in July 1972 and August 1973. The fourgonette (van) version of the 304 appeared only in September 1977, as a belated replacement for the 204 fourgonette which had disappeared from the production lines the previous year.

The 304 changed little during a model life exceeding ten years. From the outside, the saloon received a simplified rear light cluster design in September 1972,[2] and the Peugeot badge appearing on the front grill was now took on a gold coloured solid form in place of the silver/grey coloured outline badge that the car had worn hitherto. The roof line of the saloon was discretely squared off to give greater headroom for rear passengers: the window frames on the rear doors were modified correspondingly,[2] adding about and inch and a half to their rearmost upper edge and making them unique to the 304, while the car's front doors remained interchangeable with those on the 204. Changes under the metal included the replacement of the dynamo with an alternator in 1971 and the fitting of wider tyres in 1974. The hydraulically operated clutch was replaced with a cable operated mechanism in 1977.

Commercial[edit]

Peugeot 304 coupé

Launched in 1969, the Peugeot 304 confronted a more competitive market place than the one that had greeted the 204 in 1965. From the start it found itself in a fight for market share with the Renault 12 also introduced at the 1969 motor show: after the launch in 1970 of the Citroën GS competition intensified further. Nevertheless, the entire segment was boosted by the 1973 oil price shock as motorists traded down from larger cars. The Peugeot was particularly popular with the police and other public services both within France and in the Saarland region of Germany where the German Peugeot importer is based and where locally, for historical reasons, Peugeot traditionally enjoyed a level of market penetration usually reserved, at that time, for domestically branded makes.

The 304 saloon remained in production until 1979, by when a saloon version of the Peugeot 305 had been on sale for two years: the break (estate) 304 continued until Summer 1980, by when an estate version of the 305 had been introduced. In 1980, when the last 304 estates had come off the lines at Mulhouse, 1,178,423 Peugeot 304s had been produced: of these, approximately 36% were exported, mostly within Europe: during the 1970s Peugeot was one of several European manufacturers successfully learning to treat the entire EEC region as a single market.[citation needed]

The estate version was also exported to North Africa, where many were deployed as taxis and louages. In Egypt, as of 2009, the estate version of the 304 remains one of the most widespread types of vehicle in taxi service, though the government is hoping to persuade taxi drivers to adopt more recently manufactured, more government-imposed emissions compliant vehicles.

Cabriolet[edit]

The Peugeot 304 also had a 2-door cabriolet version, which also contained only 2 seats, unlike the coupe version. This version is also the only version of the 304 that exists in any significant numbers in the UK today, as most saloons imported were destroyed by corrosion.


Data[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Automobilia". Toutes les voitures françaises 1979 (salon 1978) (Paris: Histoire & collections). Nr. 84s: pages 35 "Les brelines et breaks 304". 2006. 
  2. ^ a b "Automobilia". Toutes les voitures françaises 1975 (salon Paris Oct 1974) (Paris: Histoire & collections). Nr. 72: Page 42. 2005. 

External links[edit]