This week we may have been drooling over a Peugeot, of all things, but it’s actually not the first time. We lusted after the French brand’s wares solely based on looks in the late 1990s; specifically the sleek and streamlined 406 Coupe.
Just look at it! The wheels are as dated as your grandma’s living room but that achingly cool Pininfarina-penned silhouette still does the business 20 years on. Rarely did the three-box shape ever reach such subtle heights of style and sophistication. Between this and the slightly brasher Vauxhall Calibra we were spoiled in the late ‘90s.
As you’d expect, a range of engines was offered, from four-cylinder petrols that couldn’t pull a nun off a chair to a creamy 3.0-litre V6 with 194-220bhp and plenty of Gallic charm. These days you can pick one up for not much money at all, and if you’d like one then you’d better get on it now – they’ve become surprisingly rare.
Did it drive well? No, not particularly, being just a 406 beneath the marriage-material shell. It had a level of dynamism that wouldn’t startle a sleeping meerkat. Instead, in V6 guise it was a comfortable and just-nicely-wafty cruiser that would always turn a few heads.
Just one is for sale on Auto Trader UK at the time of writing, with none on eBay Motors or Pistonheads and three on Gumtree. One has crept below £1000, but the rest hover between £1100 and £1800. For a car that looks more like £18,000 if it’s kept tidy, we admit we’re intrigued.
Our pick is this £1250 example from 1999, with 110,000 miles down and merely ‘average’ bodywork. As we all know, that basically means it’s a wreck on the outside. On the other hand, it has 12 months of MOT certificate. Not to be sniffed at.
Also good news is a set of leather seats, the fronts of which are heated and electric, for maximum bum comfort. They’re in amazingly good condition for the age, too. Ahead of them you’ll find a gear lever for the slushbox automatic and a cassette player. Younger readers will have to think of cassettes as kind of like music storage boxes that you pushed into a mechanical player to extract the tunes. They were all the rage once. Honest.
The seller claims the (budget) tyres have plenty of life left and that it drives ‘lovely’. With that fresh MOT and a fairly simple mechanical setup throughout, promising easy enough at-home maintenance, this could be an absolute gem of a runabout for at least the next year. As the French might say with a cheeky wink… tu sais que tu le veux.