Peugeot 404 Diesel Record Car

I've been having difficulty with permanence lately. 

This doesn't have anything to do with the 1965 Peugeot 404 Diesel Record Car per se, but hang in here.

If you want to look at the list of current outright headline speed records acknowledged by the FIA, head here (.pdf link)—and you'll see that Peugeot is nowhere to be found. What's amazing to me (apart from how many records the Volkswagen W12 Nardò holds) is the more-than-a-century of speed and endurance attempts that have fallen to that small list of superlative machines.

I often think of the man-made objects that get left in the wake of a more successful product—or, in this case, car. In my own writing, most of it online, much of it will inevitably be trashed by the publications I once worked for to make room for a "better" website and "more exciting" content. For instance, following this search will take you to some of my earlier car reviews, and many are simply unreadable. I'm surprised they're still online at all, honestly. Benign neglect, right?

Peugeot's 404 Diesel Record Car still exists, which is nice, because when diesels were becoming a real 'thing' in the '60s, Peugeot made one of the best. For a publicity-generating record run, the company (either) simply sliced the roof off of a coupé or even more simply, started with a 404 convertible.

As you can imagine, the records it set could now probably be eclipsed by a Kia Rondo with the handbrake on, but in 1965, they were good enough to shine some positive publicity on the diesel models offered in the 404 range. (And, let's face it: monopostos look awesome.)

The first set of records were set using a 2,163-cc 4-cylinder engine, with a 5,000 km (3,100 mile) run at an average speed of 160 km/h (99 mph). The second set of headlines was generated by a 1,948-cc 4-cylinder version of the car that hit 11,000 km (6,835 miles) at an average speed of 161 km/h (100 mph). Sources say the car was awarded 40 more records, but presumably they weren't quite as exciting as the two mentioned above.

The other speed records that have been set over the years? Just imagine the work involved when scrolling through these… (All are .pdf links, sorry!)

…and remember that they're just the current record holders, to say nothing of the machines that came before them—like the 404 Diesel Record Car, which has since been erased from the record books.

Sources