German club showcases vintage French cars at Retro Classics

German Peugeot Pre-War Register will display a trio of historic vehicles, and one brand new one

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The Peugeot 402 Eclipse had a retractable hardtop in the 1930s | German Peugeot Pre-War Register photos

Retro Classics is the annual collector car “trade fair” staged in Stuttgart, Germany. It opens February 27 and runs through March 1, and among the featured displays this week is that of the German Peugeot Pre-War Register.

Though its name sounds more formal, the “Register” is actually a car club organized in 2000 by German fans of the French brand, and includes both two- and four-wheeled vehicles produced between 1890 and 1949. The club now represents more than 400 members and their more than 5,000 vehicles.

The Register’s display at Retro Classics will include four cars — three historic and also a vision of the future in the form of the Peugeot e-208 electric vehicle.

The historic vehicles include a 402 Eclipse, considered the world’s first mass-produced “convertible coupe,” a car with a metal roof that retracted out of sight. The 402 Eclipse was built from 1935 to 1942 and there was a version in which the top was electrically powered. Featured at Retro Classics will be a 1936 example. 

Protruding grille led to the D4 van being known as the ‘pig nose’ Peugeot

Also on display will be a D4 van, a 1950s model affectionally known as the “pig nose” because of its protruding vertical grille. Turns out the grille was created so there would be room for the van to be powered by the same engine as the Peugeot 403. D4s were versatile vehicles, used for everything from minibuses to ambulances, even as livestock trucks.

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205 Turbo 16 was World Rally Championship winner in 1985 and 1986

The third historic Peugeot on the Register stand will be the 205 Turbo 16, a mid-engine, 4-cylinder (turbocharged to produce 200 horsepower), 4-wheel-drive special developed for the World Rally Championship, which Peugeot won in both 1985 and 1986. 

Also being showcased at Retro Classics is Peugeot’s “L’Aventure Peugeot Citroen DS,” the company’s museum based in Sochaux, France, that also operates a vintage parts program offering more than 18,000 replacement parts for vintage vehicles.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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