Peugeot 403 (1955 – 1966) Review

Peugeot 403 (1955 – 1966) At A Glance


+Elegant and timeless styling, good to drive and still very capable in modern traffic

-Lacking in image in the UK

Although the 403 was originally developed as a replacement for the popular 203, in traditional Peugeot style the two cars ran alongside each other for the first five years production of the new car. Although they looked pretty similar, the 403 featured larger Pininfarina-styled bodywork, and ended up being a much more spacious vehicle. Available with the 203's 1290cc engine, as well as a bored out 1468cc version, the 403 was adequately lively - although buyers in France and Spain could choose the slow and noisy but highly economical 1.8-litre diesel version.

An estate model was offered from 1956 onwards, and could be specified with eight seats arranged in three rows – suggesting the 403 was significantly ahead of its time given the current popularity of people carriers. The 404, 504 and 505 all had the same option offered. A Décapotable cabriolet model was also offered between 1956 and 1963, although this accounted for only 2000 of the 403's seven-figure production run. In other respects, the 403 was a very conventional machine, but rugged build and its solidity meant that was successfully exported around the globe, became a huge hit for Peugeot and a big money spinner for France.