Why I miss Peugeot

by Mike Satterfield

The car pictured above is a 1991 Peugeot 405, the last Peugeot sold in the United States. I had one, it was one of the last Peugeots sold in Southern, California. It was in remarkable condition, bright blue with grey cloth interior. I loved the styling of the car, with clean lines by Pininfarina, a massive trunk, room for five, and manual transmission. 

As was the style of the time the late 90's I added a Peugeot Sport Steering wheel I found on eBay, large tachometer, a custom air intake and exhaust, and I had a really cool Euro Tuner with a name that no one could pronounce. The Peugeot to me at the time represented everything that youth should, it was as far a departure from the cars my parents drove, it was bright and fun, it was the perfect car for being 19 years old. 

When my work with Ford's brand new hot hatch, the Focus started, in 2000 I picked up a Kona edition ZX3. Because it was a test mule for work I drove it everyday, the Peugeot started to sit, but was always around as a back up or for weekend runs up the canyons. It was a good thing that I kept it around because one day my friend asked to barrow it for a few days. I got it back the better part of a year later, still in great shape but with more miles on it. 

Did it have issues, of course, parts were a nightmare, you had to wiggle the key just right to get it to start, and while driving something unique is fun, it can get a little old constantly correcting people on the pronunciation. One of the best memories in the Peugeot was when my girlfriends family was in town and had made reservations at the hottest restaurant in Hollywood, it had it all celebrity owners, cool name that like the Peugeot no one could pronounce and valet parking only. So in front of me is a Lamborghini, behind me is a Bentley and here I am with my girlfriend in a bright blue Peugeot. But the best part was having to pull the valet aside to tell him how to wiggle the key just right. 

It's final day came when I was out for a spirited country drive with my girlfriend (now wife), a guy in a Honda and I were having a bit of fun when a strange noise came from the engine and then went away. I drove the car home normally, and the next day it would not start. The entire motor was cooked, but it did still get me home at least. Parts for the 405 were hard to find and the car went on to keep other 405's on the road. But I do check craigslist from time to time hoping to find that ultra clean 405 that has been tucked away in a garage somewhere. But it is those moments that make a car more than a car, it is something you are connected with, its part of your history, and it is why I always get excited when I see one of those old 405s still rolling down the highway.