Saloon launch 1972
On its launch in 1972, the Peugeot 104 was offered as a four-door saloon, with a sloping rear end that suggested a hatchback. Power was provided from a 1.0L Douvrin engines / PSA X engine, (all aluminium alloy, chain driven overhead cam, with gearbox in the sump, sharing engine oil, mounted almost on its side), which was jointly developed with Renault. This transmission-in-sump arrangement was similar to that pioneered by the British Motor Corporation in the Mini. It gave good levels of economy and refinement as well as having an impressive chassis which made ride and handling excellent.
Coupé launch 1974
A three-door coupé was launched on a shortened chassis, with the same 1.0L engine as the saloon. Headlights were larger and rectangular in shape, rather than square.
A facelift in July 1976 saw the four-door saloon replaced with a five-door hatchback. Rear light clusters were modified slightly with indicators that wrapped around to the sides of the car, and a 1.1L engine was also made available. The coupé was made available in two versions, ZS and ZL. A modified camshaft on the 954 cc engines also retarded the valve timing in order to favour fuel economy at the price of a slight power reduction. The revised models only appeared in right-hand drive form at the end of the year.
The coupé gained a third variant, the ZA, and all coupé variants were given large rear light clusters with integral reversing lights. Higher specification 5-door models gained the larger headlights and grille introduced for the coupé.
The 1980 facelift was minor, with model designations changing in line with other vehicles in the Peugeot line-up. However, a 1.2L engine was now offered.
This facelift incorporated smaller headlights, a new grille and rear light clusters that included reversing lights. The amount of chrome trim was reduced and generally replaced by black plastic. The ZS coupé variant was given an 80 bhp 1.4L engine to improve its performance.
In 1983, the number of models offered was reduced to make way for the new 205 and exports to most foreign markets finished. It remained on sale in France until the end of production in 1988.
Several prototypes based on the 104 are known to exist. Different power sources were tried out, including electric and diesel. The M18 prototype (circa 1976) was a blue 5-door estate, with rear light clusters similar to those that were used on the 504 estate. The M23 was a dark red 3-door van concept based on the saloon rather than the existing 3-door coupé. A yellow three-box saloon is also known, as is a white pick-up truck.
Market impact and replacement
The Peugeot 104 was one of the most successful European small cars of the 1970s but it was starting to show its age against more modern rivals by the turn of the 1980s. When Peugeot launched the stylish all-new 205 in 1983, the 104 was withdrawn from most European markets, including Britain. But it continued in France as a budget choice until production finally ceased in May 1988 after 16 years in which 1,624,992 Peugeot 104s were built.