1937 Peugeot 402 Cabriolet by Pourtout

Location: Chicago
VIN #:797280
Engine:2.1 Ltr OHV 4
Transmission:Cotal 4 Speed

Peugeot is a major French car brand, part of PSA Peugeot Citroën, the second largest carmaker based in Europe.

The family business that precedes the current Peugeot company was founded in 1810, and manufactured coffee mills and bicycles. On 20 November 1858, Emile Peugeot applied for the lion trademark. The company produced its first automobile in 1891. Due to family discord, Armand Peugeot in 1896 founded the Société des Automobiles Peugeot. Armand Peugeot became interested in the automobile early on and, after meeting with Gottlieb Daimler and others, was convinced of its viability. The first Peugeot automobile, a three-wheeled steam-powered car designed by Léon Serpollet, was produced in 1889; only four examples were made. Steam power was heavy and bulky and required lengthy warmup times. In 1890, after meeting Gottlieb Daimler and Émile Levassor, steam was abandoned in favour of a four-wheeled car with a petrol-fuelled internal combustion engine built by Panhard under Daimler licence. The car was more sophisticated than many of its contemporaries, with a three-point suspension and a sliding-gear transmissionMore cars followed, twenty-nine being built in 1892, forty in 1894, seventy-two in 1895, 156 in 1898, and three hundred in 1899. These early models were given "Type" numbers with the Type 12, for example, dating from 1895. Peugeot became the first manufacturer to fit rubber tires (solid, rather than pneumatic) to a petrol-powered car that year. Peugeot was also an early pioneer in motor racing, entering the 1894 Paris-Rouen Rally with five carsand the 1895 Paris-Bordeaux with three, where they were beaten by Panhard's car despite an average speed of 12.9 mph and taking the 31,500 franc prize. This also marked the debut of Michelin pneumatic tyres in racing, also on a Peugeot; they proved insufficiently durable.Nevertheless, the vehicles were still very much horseless carriages in appearance and were steered by a tiller.

At the 1901 Paris Salon, Peugeot debuted a tiny shaft-driven 652 cc 5 hp one-cylinder, dubbed Bébé (Baby), and shed its conservative image, becoming a style leader.

Peugeot added a motorcycle to its range in 1903, and motorcycles have been built under the Peugeot name ever since. By 1903, Peugeot produced half of the cars built in France, and they offered the 5 hp Bébé, a 6.5 hp four-seater, and an 8 hp and 12 hp resembling contemporary Mercedes models.

The 1907 Salon showed Peugeot's first six-cylinder, and marked Tony Huber joining as engine builder. By 1910, Peugeot's product line included a 1,149 cc two-cylinder and six four-cylinders, of between 2 liters and 6 liters. In addition, a new factory opened the same year at Sochaux, which became the main plant in 1928.

A more famous name, Ettore Bugatti, designed the new 850 cc four-cylinder Bébé of 1912.The same year, Peugeot returned to racing with a team of three driver-engineers (a breed typical of the pioneer period, exemplified by Enzo Ferrari among others): Jules Goux (graduate of Arts et Metiers, Paris), Paolo Zuccarelli (formerly of Hispano-Suiza), and Georges Boillot (collectively called Les Charlatans), with 26-year-old Swiss engineer Ernest Henry to make their ideas reality. The company decided voiturette (light car) racing was not enough, and chose to try grandes épreuves (grand touring). They did so with an engineering tour de force: a DOHC 7.6-liter four-cylinder with four valves per cylinder. It proved faster than other cars of its time, and Boillot won the 1912 French Grand Prix at an average of 68.45 mph , despite losing third gear and taking a twenty minute pit stop. In May 1913, Goux took one to Indianapolis, and won at an average of 75.92 mph, recording straightaway speeds of 93.5 mph In 1914, Boillot's 3-liter L5 set a new Indy lap record of 99.5 mph , and Duray placed second (beaten by ex-Peugeot ace René Thomas in a 6,235 cc Delage). Another (driven by Boillot's brother, André) placed in 1915; similar models won in 1916 (Dario Resta) and 1919 (Howdy Wilcox).

During the First World War, Peugeot turned largely to arms production, becoming a major manufacturer of arms and military vehicles, from bicycles to tanks and shells, During the '20s, Peugeot expanded, in 1926 splitting the cycle (pedal and motor) business off to form Cycles Peugeot, the consistently profitable cycle division seeking to free itself from the rather more cyclical auto business, and taking over the defunct Bellanger and De Dion companies in 1927. Soon afterwards the Depression hit; Peugeot sales decreased but the company survived.

In 1933, attempting a revival of fortune, the company unveiled a new, aerodynamically styled range. In 1934 Peugeot introduced the 402 BL Éclipse Décapotable, the first convertible with a retractable hardtop— an idea followed later by the Ford Skyliner in the 1950s and revived in the modern era.

Three interesting models of the thirties were the Peugeot 202, Peugeot 302 and Peugeot 402. These cars had curvaceous bodies, with headlights behind sloping grille bars, evidently inspired by the Chrysler Airflow.The 2.1-liter 402 entered production in 1935 and was produced until the end of 1941, despite France's occupation by the Nazis. The Peugeot 402 was offered with a range of 16 different bodies. The French coachbuilder Pourtout built custom bodies for Peugeot from 1928 until 1942.

This one off example is beleived to have been built for the Paris Auto Salon. It remained in France until the late 80's, and then languished in a restoration shop stateside before being traded to Jerome Sauls as partial payment for a Duesenberg. The current owner acquired the car from Mr. Sauls and embarked on an exhaustive 3-year professional ground up restoration which was completed in 2010. The restoration was performed by International Restorations of Oaklawn, Il who have several Best of Class wins at Pebble under their belt. The car has been shown at several Major Midwestern Concours and Amelia Island where it has received important awards, often beating Bugattis and Delahayes, and was judged at 100 points in CCCA Competition.
While there are still several open invitations to Major Concours waiting, the seller has turned his attention to vintage racing, so this car still has lots of trophies to collect for the new owner.

The most valuable Peugeots from the Classic Era are typically the Darl'mats- about 100 performance inspired models on a shorter wheelbase that were built at the suggestion of a dealer. It's no wonder though that the factory chose to use this car for the very important Paris Salon. This longer and much more elegant car is simply without peer. When you want to make a statement, this is the kind of date you bring to the big dance.

This exciting car boasts all the best of French Design with a fully disappearing top, Vestigal Fins, and chrome fender skirting. The flowing lines of the body perfectly accentuate the long rear deck. Finished in a tasteful Silver and Black with Grey Leather Interior, this important car is without fault and will be most welcome at any Major Concours in the World. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire one of the most important and certainly one of the most attractive Classic Era Peugeots.

Click on any image to enlarge it.