When it comes to cars, French intake ports are the only thing weirder than French exterior design. That’s what the crew found out this week with a challenge to find something from the land of Brie la somme genereuse from $50,000. They went everywhere but France to do it.
road & track Editor-in-Chief John Pearley Huffman traveled to Belgium to retrieve a piece of French history: a Panhard Dyna Z, rarer than a truffle and no more pleasing to the eye. Panhard was an innovator who created some of the earliest clutch pedals and steering wheels, built the first production car and gave us the Panhard Rod. This Dyna Z was avant-garde through and through until it opened its hood. Then it was a Hungry Hungry Hippo, a look that has no French translation.
Managing Editor Joey Capparella, who used this show to reveal that he has a degree in French, opted for beauty and a different hemisphere over innovation. His Peugeot 406 coupe in Argentina could be considered the least French car of the bunch, as it was designed by Pininfarina without an odd line on it. It could also be considered the most French car of the bunch as it’s beautiful, comfortable and underpowered.
Contributor Jonathon Ramsey got out on a Peugeot 505 Turbo sedan that was pulled from a barn in Vermont. The 505 was the flag bearer of Peugeot’s misadventure in North America, but panellists were more interested in specifics like the hub bolt pattern, the umbrella on the back seat and the surprising fact that Pug established assembly plants in 14 countries.
Editor-in-Chief KC Colwell traveled to the most French of American cities, Phoenix, Arizona, to cruise the boulevards in a Parisian icon, the Citroen XM Berline. A set of anonymous 1990 aftermarket wheels couldn’t hide the ultimate French twist of Syd Mead’s sci-fi lines, pneumatic suspension and an ashtray half the size of the radio. However, the manual transmission could make it difficult to enjoy a café au lait on the morning drive through Scottsdale.
Editor-in-Chief Tony Quiroga drove to Portugal for a French legend, the Peugeot 205. The Rally Maestro was almost everything you could want from a hot hatch called the “GTI”, including a (more) reasonable price. Shame on the ride quality, but Quiroga has set a new benchmark for accessory shopping to counteract that.
Watch the latest weekly episode for distractions on Michelin, European versus US headlights, Capparella’s French translations and how long it takes for air to travel from the intake to the manifold in a 205 engine. No Le Cars were injured in the making of this video. Even though they were insulted.
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