IN June a Peugeot 404 with special off-set coupé body, powered by an Indenor XD88 1,948-c.c. diesel engine, broke 22 Class E records at Montlhéry and established three new records in the same class. Driven by Lageneste, Genestoux, Besnardiere, Gerard and Tchekemain, this compression-ignition Peugeot 404 averaged around 100 m.p.h. for distances and durations from 100 km. to 72 hours, its best speed 100.75 m.p.h. over 200 km., its consistent high-speed running proof positive of the reliability and performance offered by Peugeot diesel engines. The same car, fitted with a 2,163-c.c. Indenor diesel engine, then took Class D records from 50 km. to 5,000 km. at speeds of from 99.668 m.p.h. (for the overall distance) to 101.085 m.p.h. (for 3 hours).
Peugeot have been making diesel engines in their factory at Lille for industrial, agricultural, marine and other purposes since 1928 and during July of this year r.h.d. versions of their 404D saloon and 404DL family estate car were introduced in U.K. markets.
The 4-cylinder 5-bearing alloy-head Peugeot Indenor diesel engines for private-car installation come in three versions:
Type XDP85.—85 x 8o mm. (1,816 c.c.), developing 55 b.h.p. at 4,000 r.p.m., used in the 403 Peugeots and light commercials.
Type XD85.—85 x 8o mm. (1,816 c.c.), developing 55 (S.A.E.) b.h.p. at 4,000 r.p.m., inclined at 20º in the Peugeot 404 station wagon.
Type XD88.—88 x 8o mm. (1,948 c.c.), developing 68 (S.A.E.) b.h.p. at 4,500 r.p.m., inclined at 20º in the Peugeot 404 saloon and family saloon.
The Indenor XD88 diesel engine compares very favourably with the well-established Peugeot 404 petrol engine which, of 84 x 73 mm. (1,618 c.c.), and incidentally inclined at 45º, develops 76 (S.A.E.) b.h.p. in carburetter form, 96 (S.A.E.) b.h.p. when equipped with indirect petrol injection.
The diesel version has a c.r. of 21 to 1, uses Ricardo-type swirl chambers, and Bosch injection pump, injectors, heater plugs and fuel filter cartridge (respectively, Types EP/VM 4/80 A2200 R.5; DN O SD 210; 10.5-volt V KB/GSA 10/1 and FJ.DEIN 5.42). A full-flow oil filter of Purflux manufacture is fitted.
To all intents and purposes the diesel Peugeot 404 is like any other Peugeot 404, except that the saloon lacks a sliding roof and has the usual cut-off and pre-heater controls of a diesel-engined car. This is to say that it is a comfortable, roomy, very well sprung, practical saloon, and Peugeot claim for it nearly 80 m.p.h. and approx. 40 m.p.g. I was able to confirm by some long-distance driving that the noise level is modest for such a car and the performance very adequate, the diesel Peugeot settling down to a stolid 60 m.p.h. cruising speed which I found rather charming. In this country, where diesel oil costs more than 5s. a gallon, the increased economy is not pronounced, especially as the petrol Peugeots are notably sparing of fuel. However, pressed hard, this 404D gave an overall fuel consumption of exactly 41 m.p.g. and in countries where the tax rate favours the heavy-oil engine this represents a halving of fuel costs. The engine requires heavy-duty lubricating oil but hadn’t consumed any in a distance of 570 miles.
Over and above this useful saving there is the long-life and dependability of the diesel engine, while 11-gallon Peugeot fuel tank gives the satisfying range of no less than 450 miles on a tankful. During the test I had to drive through a series of violent cloudbursts and it was nice to feel immune from drowned ignition which had stranded many cars on the flooded roads. If anything, road-holding seems to have been improved by the weight of the bigger engine and a very generous-sized battery over the front wheels.
As to the Peugeot 404 itself, I have but recently sung its praises, and the diesel version was every bit as acceptable, although reflection in the windscreen from the light-coloured facia sill and an alarming noise which emanated at times from the speedometer drive must be noted. Otherwise, I was, as usual, full of enthusiasm for this excellent French family car and found its brakes more acceptable than the rather sudden Thermostable brakes on the fuel-injection 404 I tried some time ago.
The Peugeot saloon with Indenor XD88 diesel engine costs £1,395 19s. 7d., inclusive of purchase tax, and is equipped as standard with heater, Michelin “X” tyres and Neiman anti-thief lock. It is rather an expensive proposition, but justifiable for those who cover large annual mileages or who have supplies of Dery on tap. Diesel-engine enthusiasts may care to know that I rate it one of the nicest c.i. cars I have driven and certainly this Peugeot 404D is a prompt commencer, accelerates strongly, emits no offensive fumes and is quiet of its kind, and commendably vibrationless.—W. B.