Columbos caboose celebrates birthday

Cologne, 7 July 2016

Inspector of Columbos service car, the Peugeot 403 convertible, celebrates 60th anniversary. While the four-door notchback sedan was introduced in April 1955, the convertible was in the summer of 1956, at the start. Overall, the series meant the step to the large series manufacturers for Peugeot, because for the first time, the magic number has been exceeded here of a million pieces.

Typical of the times and ahead of its time

The 403 was designed by Pininfarina and had a pontoon body, that is to say, the car had a modern shape with smooth sides, without applied steps and fenders. In the 1950s, it was still beetle shows not natural as just the VW. As a typical representative, he had 403 very round, curved forms, as it also the "Ponton Mercedes" (the model 180) showed. The 4.47 meters long and four-seater convertible had a large folding hood and optionally a plastic hardtop. It was one of the first fresh air models with self-supporting pontoon body in the 1.5 liter middle class. The car of a 58 HP strong 1.5 liter four-cylinder petrol was driven. It crowned the Peugeot model program's 70 percent cost more than the sedan. Nevertheless, the 403 cabriolet was still cheaper than most competitors.

Unusual mechanics folding to

Surprisingly easy entry proved to be backwards, for waving the backrests of the front seats not only forward, but also to the side. Alternatively, leave the switch the car was comfortable: optionally an innovative electromagnetic coupling by Hunter took over the domes during gear changes.

In the old car to the rich and famous

From 1956 to 1961 only 2,050 were built. Not only the chic Pininfarina bodywork, but also the extraordinary quality of the product makes the open 403 desirable today. In addition also the slightly scraped look made the car for his TV career she adapted well to the crumpled and unconventional Columbo, who was portrayed by Peter Falk. in 1968, seven years after production end of 403 convertible, the Inspector so that launched his investigation among Hollywood's rich and famous, and the series ran for 25 years. According to the film script had the car far beyond 160.000 km on the clock. One problem was always the loud crashing three-speed column shift for Columbo. Well, we could trace his problems as we pulled a copy of the year 1960 in 2008 from the holdings of the Peugeot company Museum at Sochaux. (sl)