Styled by Pininfarina, the Peugeot 403 made its debut in saloon configuration in 1955 at the Trocadéro Palace in Paris. This collaboration with Pininfarina marked the start of partnership which would see the Italian designer producing designs for Peugeot for more than fifty years. Produced between May 1955 and October 1966, the Peugeot 403 was the first model for the French carmaker to exceed 1 million production models across all variants – Saloon, Commercial, Cabriolet and Pickup editions. That said, there was a small quantity (around 2000 models) of 1953 Peugeot 403 Convertibles that were produced in that time and one of the classic cars is coming up for sale with French auction house Ivoire Nimes.
Though it was eventually superseded by the Peugeot 404 in 1960, so popular was the 403 that it remained in production until 1966. As a car, it was popularised on the American TV series Colombo starring Peter Falk as the titular detective Lieutenant Colombo whose crumpled raincoat and cigar imagery was as popular as his shabby-looking Peugeot 403 Cabriolet convertible from 1959.
Chosen by Falk, the 1959 Peugeot 403 Convertible was every bit as iconic as the grizzled policeman and though Peugeot was not initially pleased with the roughly driven, worn-in look of the prop 403, the car became so beloved of the viewers that the company eventually came to bank on its popular appeal. Today, French auction house Ivoire Nimes will be selling a Peugeot 403 cabriolet soft-top classic car a few weeks from now on August 12th for an estimated £22,000 to £26,000 (Euro 25,000 to 30,000).
Initially launched with manual 4-speed all-synchromesh transmission, the Peugeot 403 was eventually given an optional paid upgrade in the form of an electro-magnetic Jaeger automatic clutch at the 1957 Paris Motor Show. The 1959 Peugeot up for auction by Ivoire Nimes is also know as the 403 Cabriolet Grand Luxe with opening roof top and though the entire 403 range has produced 1,214,121 models, only 2043 of the inline-four, 1468 c.c. engine producing 60 horse power Peugeot 403 Cabriolet Grand Luxe were produced from 1956, the soft top models were much more expensive than the regular 403, likely the reason why there were so few models of the 403 Cabriolet Grand Luxe produced.
This classic car was owned by renowned trumpeter Tony Canal. A native of Nîmes. Peugeot offered eight shades for the 403 convertible including a red version which was rather unusual for the brand, and which is very popular today.