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A brief history of the Peugeot 402 Saloon 

In the late ‘30’s Peugeot designer, Jean Andreau, the pioneer aerodynamicist boldly stepped out into designs that were way ahead of their time. Among these was the 402 series, launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1936, creating quite a sensation. The 402 was perhaps the first mass-produced car to be fitted with aesthetically successful aerodynamic bodywork and its lines have weathered well.  

Of the production range, the one that has always attracted me most is the 402 conduite intėriere, the original saloon. Its fascination goes more than skin deep. Peugeots up to that time had been soberly styled and conventionally engineered, robust and well made, but by no means exciting. With the introduction of the 402, this old and well-respected firm had clearly decided, despite the prevailing climate in France of recession, worker unrest and political uncertainty, to pull out all the stops. The car was bursting with Gallic charm and individuality. The interior though plain, was large and of good quality with comfortable cloth seats and a profusion of well-placed arm rests. Fittings were stylish and practical with a robust simplicity of finish that typified the era. Careful forethought was evident in the car. For example, the recessed headlamps, adjustable from the driving seat could be cleaned by hinging forward the one piece grille, released by twisting the lion mascot. The same process gave access to the battery that was placed in front of the radiator, protected from damp by a simple cover. I deeply admire that kind of thinking, especially when it results in such a well thought out and, to me anyway, stunning looking product. When introduced to the world in Paris, Parisians nicknamed the car the Sochaux Rocket. (Sochaux was the site of the factory). The 402 was truly a landmark family saloon of the 30’s and well deserving of its collector status as an Art Deco design icon in France today.  

With acknowledgements to:

Douglas Blain, The Automobile, November 2003 issue

The Car, Orbis Publishing Ltd

Care of Your ‘Painted' Art piece 

Your AutCouture Art piece is treated with automotive wax and all that is required is a dusting or wipe down with a damp cloth.  

Should it become dull, polish with again with an automotive wax. Scratches can be removed by light sanding with a fine (1,500 grit) water-paper, then polished with a Brass polish and finished off with auto wax.  

John Wessels.




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