Peugeot Berline Type 203 from 1950, four cylinders, 1290 cc, 45 HP, 115 km/h
The Peugeot 203 is a small family car which was produced by the French car manufacturer Peugeot between 1948 and 1960.
The car was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show in 1947, but by then had already been under development for more than five years. Volume manufacturing was initially hampered by strikes and shortages of materials, but production got under way late in 1948, with buyers taking delivery of 203s from early 1949.
The 203 was Peugeot’s first new model launched after World War II. During its twelve-year production run nearly 700,000 203s were assembled in Sochaux, France. Between the demise of the 202 in 1949 and the launch of the 403 in 1955, the 203 was the only model produced by Peugeot.
The 203 was the first monocoque bodied production Peugeot. The car was eye catchingly modern and bore a marked resemblance to the American Chevrolet Fleetline fastback, although its wind cheating profile also reflected the streamlining trend apparent in some of Europe’s more modern designs, including some of Peugeot’s own 402 model, from the 1930s.
The 1290 cc four-cylinder engine was unusual in its ‘oversquare’ cylinder dimensions, and was noted for the hemispherical form of the combustion chambers included in the light metal cylinder heads. At launch, a power output of 42 PS (31 kW) (41 hp) was claimed, which was increased in 1952 to 45 PS (33 kW) (44 hp) for the October 1952 Paris Motor Show.
Peugeot advertising pointed out that the increase in power came without any penalty in terms of fuel economy or car tax (which was a function of the unchanged cylinder capacity). Reference was made to a change in cylinder design but there was no change in the compression ratio which remained at 6.8:1. Advertised top speed increased, in 1952, from 115 km/h (71 mph) to 120 km/h (75 mph): the longer estate versions were significantly slower. 0-60 time was 20 seconds, and fuel consumption was 14.1–8.1 L/100 km (20–35 mpg‑imp).