How many 403's are left?
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  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default How many 403's are left?

    Hello All.

    As a new member I have to ask this question...

    Are there many 403's left on the road?
    I have seen 2 in the last 10 years here in Brisbane.

    The reason Im asking is that I still have a soft spot for them. I got my licence in one during the late seventies. I bought a 403B off a workmate of my father when I was a teenager and then it stayed in the family for another ten years until age and rust claimed it.

    I've been harbouring a dream of maybe owning another one in my midlife crisis.

    Clive

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    1000+ Posts cav91's Avatar
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    Dad's got one that will be on club plates the year! Its done a genuine 1 million miles, not kms!
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    Gordon Miller had over 200 on the PCCV Register but there are a lot more than that. They are not popular for restoration. People seem to either go to the 203 or 404. The result is they are excellent buying. A 403 will rarely make its restoration cost. I know someone who has probably the best 403 in Australia. Bought from Adelaide, previously owned by a forum member, (I forget who), motor rebuilt by a race mechanic and recently re-ducoed and rechromed. The owner (who is a backyard dealer and none too honest)was making noises about wanting 12k for it but it would struggle to make 10k. If you want one, buy an absolutely immaculate restored or very original car. It will be cheaper than doing one up.
    Note there were around 12,000 403's sold in Australia, from 1955 to 1967 (effectively 1956 to 1966 because hardly any were sold in the first and last years). The largest sales year was 1960.
    Last edited by Russell Hall; 1st April 2011 at 12:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Hall View Post
    Gordon Miller had over 200 on the PCCV Register but there are a lot more than that. They are not popular for restoration. People seem to either go to the 203 or 404. The result is they are excellent buying. A 403 will rarely make its restoration cost. I know someone who has probably the best 403 in Australia. Bought from Adelaide, previously owned by a forum member, (I forget who), motor rebuilt by a race mechanic and recently re-ducoed and rechromed. The owner (who is a backyard dealer and none too honest)was making noises about wanting 12k for it but it would struggle to make 10k. If you want one, buy an absolutely immaculate restored or very original car. It will be cheaper than doing one up.
    Note there were around 12,000 403's sold in Australia, from 1955 to 1967 (effectively 1956 to 1966 because hardly any were sold in the first and last years). The largest sales year was 1960.
    and seriously they are a better car than a 203 in so many ways and also better than the 404 in so many ways

    i would have a 403 over either a 203 or 404 anyday of the week

    the 203 had the looks but that's where it ends, choppy ride, tight space

    the 404 went ok but the body had high carbon content steel and panel fit was never as good as the 403 and to be honest, a 403 rides better

    the 403 was a car that was generally run into the ground as it just kept on chugging along and probably the reason why there are more 203's than 403's

    also 403's gave up their lives to power many a 203
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  5. #5
    Fellow Frogger! racing405's Avatar
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    We had a 403 in the family, dad paid $50 for a pair, one runner one spare. Another $50 had a water pump kit and the car was on the road. Ran for years after until all the door handles fell off (dad had a bad habit of carting gas cylinders in the boot and tying steel to the door handles). From memory that car would do 90 miles an hour. Ours had the overdrive box - or did they all? For the last 3 years it was on the road, it was on hydbrid wheels - 403 centres and falcon 14" rims with diamond hard second hand Japanese import tyres. Really handled a treat like that - NOT!!! I always enjoyed driving into full drive way service petrol stations and waiting to see how long it took the attendant to give up and ask where the petrol cap was. A clear indication that they were uncommon in Tasmania.
    I honestly can't remember a time that car broke down. My sister crashed it a couple of times, and we blew an engine up once - but even then it was driven 400km home in 3rd gear smoking like a loco to get an overhaul.

    I can also remember rebuilding a diff on the side of the road in Hobart one weekend, can't remember why.

    What a great car!

  6. #6
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pugrambo View Post
    and seriously they are a better car than a 203 in so many ways and also better than the 404 in so many ways

    i would have a 403 over either a 203 or 404 anyday of the week

    the 203 had the looks but that's where it ends, choppy ride, tight space

    the 404 went ok but the body had high carbon content steel and panel fit was never as good as the 403 and to be honest, a 403 rides better

    the 403 was a car that was generally run into the ground as it just kept on chugging along and probably the reason why there are more 203's than 403's

    also 403's gave up their lives to power many a 203
    As Russell knows I have four of them.

    Two wagons, one sedan and a ute.

    I love them.

    Restoration is expensive but worthwhile.

    Be carefull to buy only sound vehicles for restoration.

    If you do you will be rewarded with finished projects that will give you enjoyment for years to come.

    Russell, wait until you see the ute.

    You know who, will be very upset.

    Regards Graham

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    1000+ Posts fnqvmuch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pugrambo View Post
    and seriously they are a better car than a 203 in so many ways and also better than the 404 in so many ways

    i would have a 403 over either a 203 or 404 anyday of the week

    the 203 had the looks but that's where it ends, choppy ride, tight space

    the 404 went ok but the body had high carbon content steel and panel fit was never as good as the 403 and to be honest, a 403 rides better

    the 403 was a car that was generally run into the ground as it just kept on chugging along and probably the reason why there are more 203's than 403's

    also 403's gave up their lives to power many a 203
    well said, really really well said; only query - high carbon = ?

  8. #8
    1000+ Posts fnqvmuch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racing405 View Post
    I can also remember rebuilding a diff on the side of the road in Hobart one weekend, can't remember why.
    er, ... why not?

  9. #9
    Fellow Frogger! sideways_505's Avatar
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    I've got one. A 1957 sedan. Whilst she is registered, she isn't running.

    They're my favorite of the classic pugs, best looking IMO too.

    I'd be willing to bet I'm the only 17 year old in Australia that has one!

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    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sideways_505 View Post
    I've got one. A 1957 sedan. Whilst she is registered, she isn't running.

    They're my favorite of the classic pugs, best looking IMO too.

    I'd be willing to bet I'm the only 17 year old in Australia that has one!

    'sideways,
    Don't whatever you do let the 403 rego lapse. Half the value of any older Peugeot is in keeping up the licence.

    I didn't get your earlier post re using your knife sharpener to clean up Ruby's head. A desperate measure to get mobile perhaps?

  11. #11
    Fellow Frogger! sideways_505's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeest View Post
    'sideways,
    Don't whatever you do let the 403 rego lapse. Half the value of any older Peugeot is in keeping up the licence.

    I didn't get your earlier post re using your knife sharpener to clean up Ruby's head. A desperate measure to get mobile perhaps?
    I wont let the rego go that's for sure! It's due right now actually, a nice $450 wallet abusing bash.

    As for the knife sharpener. As shown in the picture, you slide it along what ever you are "machining" obviously with a hand on the other end to equalize the pressure on it. It's not course enough to take decent amounts off the head or risk reshaping it badly, good for taking the old bits of gasket off and lowering any high points. It's crap really but better than nothing, haven't found anyone willing to machine it for a reasonable price anyway. I checked the sharpener on a strait edge, it's good enough. It's basically useless on cast iron (like the pictured Suzuki F8A engine) but pretty good on alloy.

    The most annoying part is every time I go to do something with the head, wasps have made a new nest in it.

    Thanks

    Hayden
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How many 403's are left?-sam_1326.jpg  
    Last edited by sideways_505; 2nd April 2011 at 02:11 PM.

  12. #12
    Fellow Frogger! Roland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sideways_505 View Post
    I wont let the rego go that's for sure! It's due right now actually, a nice $450 wallet abusing bash.

    As for the knife sharpener. As shown in the picture, you slide it along what ever you are "machining" obviously with a hand on the other end to equalize the pressure on it. It's not course enough to take decent amounts off the head or risk reshaping it badly, good for taking the old bits of gasket off and lowering any high points. It's crap really but better than nothing, haven't found anyone willing to machine it for a reasonable price anyway. I checked the sharpener on a strait edge, it's good enough. It's basically useless on cast iron (like the pictured Suzuki F8A engine) but pretty good on alloy.

    The most annoying part is every time I go to do something with the head, wasps have made a new nest in it.

    Thanks

    Hayden


    I have used a carpenter's sharpening stone in much the same way in the past. I keep it wet with kero or a very thin oil or CRC. It has a largish flat surface to start with so it takes off all the old gasket material and any high spots. Check with a good straight edge as you go - easy!

  13. #13
    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Default 403's left ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sideways_505 View Post
    I wont let the rego go that's for sure! It's due right now actually, a nice $450 wallet abusing bash.

    As for the knife sharpener. As shown in the picture, you slide it along what ever you are "machining" obviously with a hand on the other end to equalize the pressure on it. It's not course enough to take decent amounts off the head or risk reshaping it badly, good for taking the old bits of gasket off and lowering any high points. It's crap really but better than nothing, haven't found anyone willing to machine it for a reasonable price anyway. I checked the sharpener on a strait edge, it's good enough. It's basically useless on cast iron (like the pictured Suzuki F8A engine) but pretty good on alloy.

    The most annoying part is every time I go to do something with the head, wasps have made a new nest in it.

    Thanks

    Hayden

    sid'
    I think I'm repeating myself here. Gasket removal from head..paint stripper, spray or gel, leave for a short while then a careful scrape with a putty knife. Finish off with coarse wet and dry wrapped around steel rule or straight edge.
    Not exactly hi-tec but anything less the job should be done professional. You will find someone to do the job but unfortunately not at your price.

    Wasps eh? What conditions are you working in?

  14. #14
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    Take the gasket and gunk off like John says and then upend (Carefully!) onto a sheet of thick plate glass with moistened valve grinding paste on it and slide back and forward a few times. Will show high and low points and finishes it nicely if it is even. If not keep going back and forward until you are happy. Do the same with the head too. The cheapest linishing machine around, it just might take a while BUT it does remove the smallest amount of material and does the least amount of damage if you are, like me, ham-fisted. Works better with the block face down than using the glass on top, more pressure I guess.
    FLASH

  15. #15
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    Default 403

    In the 60s in Kew there was a 403 wagon owner who warped the head in Adelaide , bought a gasket and ground the head "flat" on the concrete footpath !!! it burnt a valve on the way home, so he pulled that plug lead and drove it for a year or more (the wagon was very rough)
    was pulled up by the cops in same green wagon with another 403 wagon body on the roof rack!!
    i have the 16 mounting point rack to this day.( originally built to carry a 1ton safe)

    there are others on the forum from Kew who know the owner of the green wagon and may have other tales to tell

    403 wagons were the handymans ideal vehicle, great space and carry capacity
    Bruce Taylor, ran a delivery fleet of 403 wagons in his brake business, the drivers really flogged them,
    rarely did they did they blow an engine

  16. #16
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    The 403 wagons were great. What a pity you can't buy them today. You could go just about anywhere a 4WD could. I would gladly buy one in preference to any of the modern stuff. They were so stable on the road and had lovely steering. Although I did know a girl who didn't have the strength to drive it. I put a massive mileage on mine and used to overload it wickedly. I remember the Taylor Brake Service cars.

  17. #17
    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Hall View Post
    The 403 wagons were great. What a pity you can't buy them today. You could go just about anywhere a 4WD could. I would gladly buy one in preference to any of the modern stuff. They were so stable on the road and had lovely steering. Although I did know a girl who didn't have the strength to drive it. I put a massive mileage on mine and used to overload it wickedly. I remember the Taylor Brake Service cars.
    Our family 403 wagon/ light truck was the first car I drove and what a fantastic work horse it was. We bought it new from Canada Cycle and Motor in the early 60s.

    My Dad used to cart bags of cement (1cwt, 112lb, 42 kg bags then) down to the Mornington Peninsula, I don't know how many per load, but the springs were flat and we needed first gear to get up the Hill coming in Dromana on the old Moorooduc Road.

    What a fantastic vehicle. A bit heavy in steering, but never the less quite nimble on the road.

  18. #18
    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeest View Post
    sid'
    I think I'm repeating myself here. Gasket removal from head..paint stripper, spray or gel, leave for a short while then a careful scrape with a putty knife. Finish off with coarse wet and dry wrapped around steel rule or straight edge.
    Not exactly hi-tec but anything less the job should be done professional. You will find someone to do the job but unfortunately not at your price.

    Wasps eh? What conditions are you working in?
    This is fine for the head.
    I once saw a man using sandpaper to clean off the block surface and despite my warnings, abrasive grit got into the cylinders and bottom end. One shudders to think of the damage caused. I saw him months later, and he said "well, it does in fact use a bit more oil ". Aargh !

  19. #19
    1000+ Posts Pugnut403's Avatar
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    I wish I'd never sold my old 403B...
    It was totally knackered but kept plugging along, what a fantastic old beast!
    Pugs Rule!

    403, now sold
    404, project
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  20. #20
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    I was heading to Brisbane from Melbourne many moons ago in my 403 which I'd owned for a couple of years. I think it was around Narrabri when I heard the knocking start. One of the big ends had become very slack. But I found a sweet spot just under 50mph and kept driving all night, just cruising into Brisbane at dawn when she actually picked up a little speed.
    I scoured the wreckers and found one with what they said was a good engine. I think it cost $100 which was in the early 70's.
    When I went to get it they had to get it out of the car. You should have seen these wrecker bastards pulling this motor with a forklift, not able to clear the gearbox shaft so they just wrenched till it came out. Ouch. Anyway I took the engine back to my friends place and spent three days pulling it down and cleaning it, then fitting it to my car. That engine lasted a couple more years before I sold it to a friend who had it for another two years before drowning it in a creek up at Cape Tribulation.
    I managed to find another car which I fixed up, spraying her a deep maroon. It was really smooth and beautiful but silly me, I sold it and bought a Rover. However several years later I was well over Rovers and I found a 403 rusting in someone's front yard. They said I could have it for free so I got it running and registered for a total of $500 in 1980. This lasted me about three years but living in Sydney by that stage, with no place to work on cars, meant that I had to let it go when it needed the full resto. It was probably not worth a resto as it had the dreaded sagging bum disease, meaning that there was serious rust in and around the fuel tank. Whenever it rained I knew I only had a limited time before water would get into the carby. When that happened I had to pull the main jet and crank her over and water would come out for awhile before the petrol would come through. This happened once on the harbour bridge in fairly busy late arvo traffic. That was exciting. But the funny thing was when I was driving in torrential rains up to Glen Innes one time and cars were stranded everywhere, but we just cruised through. It was actually sunny by the time the water got me and by then I was on a deserted country road. Yes had many memorable times with those cars.
    Never had a 403 since then but my 203 has the 403 engine so a 403 gave up it's life for her.
    Well the 203 may not be as good as a 403 for all those reasons given by Pugrambo but I'm in love with mine.

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