Automatic old 604
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  1. #1
    Good Sport danielsydney's Avatar
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    Automatic old 604

    Can anyone tell me more about the history on the peugeot 604 auto in australia? I have seen some things on the Net but not that much really. It looked like quite a lavish car in its time too. What was the transmission and electrics like and were there many problems with them? :p

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  2. #2
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    I was sales manager of a Pug dealership on the Gold Coast when the 604 and 504 diesel were released.
    The 604 didn't come out with what you would call "rave reviews" in fact they didn't think a real lot of it at all.
    I can remember a write up that really upset the heirachy which started off with something along the lines of "I went to see such'nsuch and asked him if he'd like to go for a drive. He climbed in, looked around and said 'how much?' $ooiwoi I replied! 'Really! and how many do you get for that? was his reply." Real lead ballon stuff & not exactly what they were hoping for.
    I can also remember being volunteered for the job of having to take the car for the local motoring journo to test drive. As with all these types of characters, they first read what "Wheels" or someone else has had to say & base their reports on this. This bod started trying to make the car do what the southern counterparts reckoned it did which I twigged straight away. I suggested that as he was possibly not familiar with the car that perhaps it was more the way he was driving rather than the way the car handled which could be the problem. I took the wheel and as this wasn't all that long from when I gave up competition to this point in time, I really put it through its paces. Getting one drifting on the Broadbeach Carrara road on a weekday is quite an experience and one he probably still hasn't forgotten judging by the look on his face eek! eek! black_ey
    At least we got a good write up in the Gold Coast Bulletin.
    The buyers were mainly professional people; doctors, lawyers, business identities, drug dealers, brothel keepers and stand over men (I'm serious)
    They didn't sell well due to the feeling that they were too dear; from memory around $14,000 and for about $23,000 you could buy a V-12 Jag.
    The one thing that did help the unimpressive sales figures was when Malcom Fraser and his Treasurer a John Howard, decided to cut the sales tax on new cars which in turn lowered the end user price tag. This gave us "boom times" around August September that year along with the worst Christmas car sales in History.

    Hope that is some help.

    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

  3. #3
    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    the 604 did have a lot of problems in this country but most of the ones running around these days have had most of these problems fixed
    i have had a few over the years and my other half runs around in one now
    problems that they had included
    1 bad carby setup hard to tune
    2 bad ignition setup
    3 complicated wiring
    4 heavy
    5 under powered
    6 auto only and not a real good box
    7 mechanical fuel pump that led to burn outs
    remedies
    1 weber conversion
    2 electronic ignition
    3 ensure good housework and keep check
    4 not a lot unless you take everything out
    5 many mods can be made
    6 manual box or higher rpm converter
    7 electric pump
    list price for these cars in 1980 was $23 995 where as the 504 at the same time was selling for $12 000
    people could never see the value in them so most of them were leased to companies and the like
    everyone of them that i have had over the years started out as a company car that was leased including the two that we have here at the moment
    a good one is getting hard to find and are becoming a fairly sort after machine mainly because of the amount of extras that they have including power windows,roof, A/C, power steering, central locking and the list goes on
    they are in my opinion still one of the most comfortable pugs to ride in and drive and they seem to cover ground very easily
    if you have found one tell us a little about it and have a good look at it
    check for rust in the sunroof and the front guards
    these are the main areas they will go
    check the front chassis rails for any damage
    check the g/box to amke sure it picks up drive and reverse in no more than 2-3 secs any longer than that and the box is on its way out
    look in the valley for any liquids as there are a few coolant hoses under the manifold
    3 x '78 604 SL

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    1 x 1994 605 SV3.0

  4. #4
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    Sorry alan, but being mindful of politics (which you raised there), i believe it was under the labor party that the tariff reduction plan was introduced was it not?

    To blame tariff's is a bit of a cop out, as pretty bloody obvious the jag was imported too. the pug was clearly priced out of the market by peugeot. tariff's simply meant more "enthusiast" types purchased these types of cars back then. And when you think about, its those people who still buy the vast majority of french cars nowadays too, tariffs or not.
    Tim

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  5. #5
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    Hey Serge, I hope you read your exam papers better than these posts

    I'll leave it up to you to figure out what I mean.

    Stuey


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

  6. #6
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    No Sergetov,
    It was definitely good 'ol Malcom. This was around '78/9 and we didn't cop Bob until around '83 and it didn't make much difference whether they were local or imported, we were talking sales tax not import duty.
    It really kicked the guts out of the prices and caused the greatest boost to new car sales for donkeys years. The side that our brilliant economists didn't look at was that it also caused the greatest downturn in used car prices also.
    The reason I quoted the Jag was that I can still remember having some goose (complete with white shoes) turning up on the doorstep driving this BRG V-12 Jag and wanting me to jack the price of the 604 up so that he could bail out of the Jag & into a new 604. When I rang AGC for a payout, I was put through to the collections manager who I knew personally who asked me to keep this bod talking whilst they arranged for the whallopers to collect him & the car; seems that he was a "shoot through" who owed so much on the car that after the reduction in sales tax owed so much on the Jag that the difference between the value of the Jag and the payout figure was more than the cost of the 604.
    If I ever scratch up my old price lists which I may still have floating about, it will dunbfound you just how much the prices of cars fell in that period. It did nothing for the trade though, as traditional Christmas buyers simply brought forward their car buying and a few others came in on it by stretching their finances but as I said before, the ledger balanced out as we hardly sold a car for months afterwards & the used car market didn't have a clue where it was going. Almost what appears to be happening with this first home owners grant at present. How does that song of Peter Allen's go? Everything old is new again.

    Alan S

    <small>[ 22 May 2002, 10:03 PM: Message edited by: Alan S ]</small>
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

  7. #7
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    As pugrambo has said, the 604 came out initially at over $23,000... I couldn't believe it was in the same price range as the 528i BMW etc, crazy!

    But remember it was Renault Australia doing the distribution then...

  8. #8
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Ray Bell:
    As pugrambo has said, the 604 came out initially at over $23,000....
    The Price lists from my 1978-1980 copies of Wheels magazine confirm this $23,000+ price.

    Dave
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  9. #9
    Simon's Avatar
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    Ray Bell:
    As pugrambo has said, the 604 came out initially at over $23,000... I couldn't believe it was in the same price range as the 528i BMW etc, crazy!

    But remember it was Renault Australia doing the distribution then...
    The prestige end of the market was the one that the 604 was aimed at. Also it compared in price with the CX 2400 Pallas/Volvo 264/Rover SD1 which were also at the $22K end of the market. Renault passed on the Renault 30 for AUS, and had the 604 as its flagship, presumably because the Pugs were considered as the range toppers. Unfortunately the 604 seemed to let them down.

    After having driven one I can see why they didn't sell, it just seemed an exceptionally lethargic and ponderous vehicle. The car would have been about 8 years old at the time and had about 130,000k's on the clock so probably not too worn out. Probably one of those cars that shows up better on the autoroutes of Europe rather than the roads in AUS.
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  10. #10
    1000+ Posts Rod Hagen's Avatar
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    A lot of the decisions made about these sorts of things depended on positioning in the market place, rather than anticipated sales.

    Peugeot had always competed hard against Volvo, usually winning early on, but losing at this time. Volvo had the 264 as well as the heavy selling 244.

    Peugeot needed to show their potential customers that they were in the same "league". The 504 matched the 244 (and was certainly a better car in terms of handling, ride, comfort etc, but probably not in engine or reputation), and needed something to put up against the 264 to show that they were "real" Euro prestige. The 604 fiitted the bill.

    Essentially both the 264 and the 604 brought Peugeot and Volvo into the same price region as the base level Mercs and tried to compete in terms of 'status".

    Neither the 604 nor the 264 were really as good as cars as their lower priced stablemates, but they made it possible to market to upwardly mobile, status conscious, middle level execs.

    If you needed leather and a V6, to be bigger and classier than the 4 and cloth in the base level Merc next door, I guess they both made some sort of weird sense.

    Not that either were bad cars. Far from it.

    Cheers

    Rod
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  11. #11
    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    Rod
    you are right that peugeot wer trying to hit the upmarket demographic with the 604

    Ray
    yes renault australia were the distributors back then for peugeot
    my folks actually bought the last two 604's from renault australia closed up dealings in moorebank/sydney through a fella named Damon Beck (which some people around the traps may know of)

    The 604 was a rushed project for this country and i strongly believe that if they came out with things like leather,sunroof,power windows and auto as options they would have sold a lot more of them
    also if they delayed the release in this country for 12 months or so untill they sorted a few bugs out of them they would have better off as well.

    In regards to 604's as bieng sluggish, they are if they still have the 900rpm stall torque converter in them
    you change this to a 1500rpm unit you will find a much better performing car

    automotive automatics in sydney had the majority of the 604's delivered to them straight from the wharf and renault australia to have the original units removed and better ones fitted
    there were some though that did slip through and never had this done
    the last two 604's from renault australia was a prime example of this
    1 had the good unit
    the other didn't
    the difference between the 2 was amazing
    the one that had the good converter fitted would actually spin wheels from a standing start and take off like a bird shot up the rear
    the other wouldn't pull the skin off a rice pudding but once wound up toured along nicely

    As for the ponderous side of them that is typical of the car
    the weighed in at just under 1500kg's and had a very soft long travel suspension
    this quality gives the car the ability to cover ground and give the occupants a very comfortable ride
    the original anti polution gear alone weighs in at 45lbs so taking this off was a saving on it's own
    with a little work though to engine and suspension you are able to have a 604 that goes very well and handle very nicely
    the other quirk that magazine writers at the time of the 604's release was the angle of the steering wheel
    it was actually designed so that the driver could rest the newspaper on the wheel while stuck in paris traffic (so i was informed)
    regards
    pugrambo
    3 x '78 604 SL

    1 x 2018 3008

    1 x 2000 Citroen XM,

    1 x '98 306 GTi6 sadly sold

    1 x secret project

    1 x '98 406 STDT troop carrier and i don't care if it stinks, i don't sniff it's arse Death by wank tank

    1 x '99 406SV 5spd wagon, time to burn more fuel

    1 x 1994 605 SV3.0

  12. #12
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    Many apologies to Alan. Clearly i had no idea what i was talking about. Interesting reading.

    It is often frustrating when a good car is simply priced out of its league though is'nt it!?
    Tim

    2016 Lexus RX450h

  13. #13
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    The demon Damon? I get occasional e.mails from him these days... but can he be trusted?

    I was always impressed by how agile the 604 could be despite the weight...

  14. #14
    Simon's Avatar
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    pugrambo:
    In regards to 604's as bieng sluggish, they are if they still have the 900rpm stall torque converter in them
    you change this to a 1500rpm unit you will find a much better performing car
    The fact that the 604 I experienced was driven back to back with a bog stock R4 van (850cc 3 speed) only served to make the Pug seem more like a slug.

    Simon
    1963 Renault R4 Van
    1964 Renault R4
    1967 Volkswagen 1300 Deluxe
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