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Peugeot 304. A golden handle

Peugeot 304

The Peugeot 1969 will be presented to the general public in Paris in September 304. For the 304, Peugeot uses the technical principles (suspension, front-wheel drive, cross-mounted alloy engine with gearbox underneath) and the middle section of the 204. The wheelbase is also the same as the 204 dimensions. The front is inspired by that of the 504, which made its appearance a year earlier than the new middle class. The 304 very conveniently fills the gap in the Peugeot range and blends seamlessly between the 204 and the 404. It will be a valuable model for the French.

The 304 gets a motor according to the well-known 204 recipe. The light metal and transverse power source grows for the 304, however, to 1.288 cc, where the 204 power source has and retains a volume of 1.130 cc. The front with the Sophia Loren lamps betrays the 504 origin, the longer drawn rear houses a large luggage compartment and partly determines the silhouette of the 304. The rear light sections, made up of two vertically placed units per side, are also a trademark of the new Peugeot, which combines individual lines with elegant family traits.

Berline is followed by "CC" and Break

The following result of the collaboration between Peugeot and Pininfarina in 1969 is thus debuting. For some 204 models, the arrival of the bigger brother is not without consequences. The 204 Coupé and Cabriolet disappear in 1970, the strongly similar 304 Coupé and Cabriolet take their place, and they get the same power source as the Berline and Break. The latter makes its appearance in 1971 and accompanies the maintained 204 Break in the smaller station class of Peugeot.

Changes to 1972

Peugeot changes the 1972 saloon in 304. The rear of the roof line is drawn at a more right angle and the window section and pillars of the rear doors are extended. These adjustments provide more freedom of movement for the rear passengers. The rear light sections now have a rectangular shape and all variants have round clocks in the dashboards, which are otherwise constructed differently in the coupé and cabriolet than in the saloon and break versions. The updated 304 also has outflow openings in the C-pillars.

Faster versions: the arrival of the S models

At the end of 1972, the 304 Sedan will also be available with the XL3S engine from the “S” versions of the coupé and the cabriolet, the body versions that are no longer available in combination with the regular engine from 1973. The XL3S engine also has the well-known displacement of 1.288 cc. Larger valves, a double Solex carburetor and an adapted exhaust manifold, however, provide more potential, which must be exploited by frequent switching. The regular 304 engine is less potent, but does have a calmer and smoother characteristic. The 304 S also gets floor switching, the basic versions still retain their steering acceleration. Furthermore, all S versions get rims with twenty cooling holes.

Various changes from 1976

In 1976, the diesel version of the 304 makes its appearance in the delivery program. From that moment on, Peugeot's small mid-sized car is available with an 1.357cc self-ignition engine. In the meantime, the charming Coupé and Cabriolet versions have left 1975 in July. The 1.288 cc engines for all gasoline Berlines and Breaks have since grown to 1.290 cc and are now called XL5 and XL5S. The latter engine finds its way to the 304 S, retains among others the double Solex carburetor and the exhaust manifold with double tubes. For all XL5 power sources it applies that flexibility has been gained in particular.

Floor switch for all berlines, the arrival of the SLS and a new family member

Peugeot is adapting the 1977 again for the 304 model year. All Berlines get floor switching. The "S" will be called "SLS". The Break is - after taking the 204 Berline and Break out of production - from mid 1976 more in line with the Berlines and is delivered as GL (with 1127 cc engine from the latest Peugeot 204 versions) and SL. He also gets a delivery brother: the Fourgonette, who gets the same engine palette as the Break versions. Regardless of the implementation, the Break (and therefore the Fourgonette inspired by it) maintains the lever at the wheel. In 1977 the 305 makes its appearance, to fill the gap in the Peugeot range. That was after the disappearance of the 404. The 304 has sales problems from the 305, which is considered by many to be the 304 successor.

On to the end

It does not alter the fact that Peugeot takes over the 304 one last time. The front suspension is modified, and all versions now have (lidless) steel rims with nine cooling holes and black hub caps. After this, the 304 is gradually phased out. The SLS is the first to blow a candle in 1978. The other sedans will last until March 1979. The Break and the Fourgonette reach the eighties. In its final production year, they can also be equipped with the 1.565 cc diesel power source in addition to the existing engines. In May 1980 rolls out the last 304. It was built in total (the Berline accounted for the lion's share) 1.178.423 times, and may be called a golden hold.

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  1. my father, general practitioner, first had a 204. With my wife and 4 children we went on holiday to Italy with it, and in France, due to the heavy load, the radiator was hot, something in my memory with all the Peugeots he had, a recurring problem appeared. After the 204, and the 5th child that came, a 304 appeared, and with that the love for French cars was cooled. Rust and little added value next to the predecessor, the 204. But they were sublime and the front-wheel drive was praised by my father in the winter months, when he had to drive visits or had to go into the harsh winter cold for births….

  2. The 305 was indeed the successor of the 304, the 304 described with black hubcaps had the chassis of the 305 to try. I just had my driver's license at the time, or actually not in 1978, and the last 304 SLS was in the showroom, I would buy it with a staff discount. Due to the failure to succeed on time, the car went to another and my first, because I didn't like the 305, became a second-hand 504. I don't recognize the 304 diesel in Mr v Dijk's story. The v.string did indeed run around a corner via a guide and tensioner, but that was made out of space, the V string did not last longer or shorter. and that the engine was slow is true, was a Mercedes 200 d too, but that the engine after 30000 km on would be nonsense, they were just trouble-free engines, except for the pre-heater coil in the dashboard, which burned out regularly.

  3. I had some 304s at the time. They drove great, especially with steering gear. The floor switch was tough, but switched outright for a Peugeot. At a complicated intersection in Rotterdam, the low point was a completely separate gear lever, so that shifting had become impossible.
    They also had huge rust problems, but so many cars had at the time. I think it's a nice classic now.

  4. The 304 petrol engine may have worked well, but my father got the 1977 diesel in 304. My father was always crazy about “his cars” (from the company), but this car he has had quite a bit of criticism on many occasions, to say the least. And rightly so, slow and noisy and impossible constructions, such as the battery at the bottom of the engine compartment and a fan belt that was turned a quarter turn. Although the car lasted 3 years and 120.000 kilometers with the same (!) Engine, it was nevertheless advised to replace the car, which also happened with a different brand and no longer a diesel! During the ANWB inspection, it was asked whether the engine had ever been replaced. Experiences with the testing of this type of diesel showed that some 204 and 304 diesels had already broken all bearings with 30.000 (!) Kilometers! My father and I were therefore completely done with diesels and it took me a long time before a diesel in passenger cars could convince me, as long as there was no Volkswagen or Mercedes on it. Strange though, while the 504 in diesel version did well!

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