Historic Peugeots swarm southern England

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More than 120 classic Peugeots gathered on Britain's south coast for the annual International Peugeot Meeting, with this year's theme being 'Best of British'.

All of the car's owners belong to l'Aventure Peugeot, the French firm's club and heritage arm, and travelled from as far afield as Austria, Luxembourg and Italy to attend the event. After meeting in Southampton, the group drove through the New Forest to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, where they displayed their classics to the public while enjoying a picnic in the grounds.

Among the classics on show was a 1922 Peugeot Type 173S. Its owner, Christian Bottero, said: "This is a unique model with roadster bodywork by a coachbuilder in Marseille. Even so, I still do around 500 miles a year in it. It would be impossible to restore if it got damaged, but I like driving it because it puts a smile on people's faces."

Meanwhile, 80-year-old Piet Kostelijk travelled from Amsterdam in his 1934 601 Roadster. "Only 109 of the 601 Roadsters were built and there are just five left in the world," he said. "When I got mine 17 years ago, it wasn't a runner. But this was always my dream car so there was never any question of whether I would get it working again."

Ken Broughton has owned his Peugeot 403 since 1964. "I've never seen so many 403s in one place," he said. "I don't have a problem finding parts for my car because whenever I heard that a dealership had any parts, I would buy them for my car. I've still got a garage full!"

Phillipe Boulay spent two years restoring his stunning 402 Darl'Mat. "It was taken to the USA by an American soldier after the war. When I bought it in 1989 in Seattle it was complete but in very poor condition. I brought it back to France, restored it and now drive around 1300 miles per year. It's got cable brakes and very heavy steering, but they're worth putting up with for such a beautiful car."

Peugeot product director Xavier Peugeot said: "I like looking backwards but only if we can use it for the future. The 402 Eclipse is a good example. It was very innovative when it was launched. It proved that Peugeot had a vision for the future very early on. I don't know why it took us such a long time between doing the 402 Eclipse and the 206 Coupé Cabriolet! What I do know is that looking at our heritage can make us more credible and stronger."

Club Peugeot UK chairman Ian Kirkwood, who helped to organise the event, added: "It was fantastic bringing together so many people who have such a vast knowledge of Peugeots. I was talking to a guy from France I'd never met before and we quickly established that we were looking at the same cars for sale on the Internet, and even had bought vehicles from the same guy in France! It really is an incredibly close-knit community."

 

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