This car was designed by Pininfarina in Italy. It has been said that it was originally intended to be an entrance level, cheap Ferrari and that once the project was underway, it was decided that it would devalue the brand, so the whole thing was sold to Peugeot, who fitted it out with their standard drive trains and interiors. Sadly, this isn’t quite true.
It was designed and built by the same people who did the Ferrari 456, and does bear a marked similarity, but that’s as far as the connection goes. On the plus side though, the only things it shared with its 406 saloon sibling, were the engine, which was an award winning design, the floor pan and a few interior items, which were in any case changed for the coupe.
It is often referred to as the poor man’s Ferrari, particularly the 2.0litre 16v model like mine, which is a bit of a shame. I can see their point, but for me, car ownership isn’t a status competition – I just like owning and tinkering with them and the way they look.
Don’t get me wrong, if I win the lottery I’m going to need a real big garage for all my automotive toys, which will be expensive, but I think I can manage to enjoy whatever I have got, like the Peugeot.
I bought this one from eBay too, from a garage a long way away. It had been shunted on the motorway, both front and back, had a broken passenger window and some of the interior was hanging off. But, it had only done 48,000 miles and the price was good.
As usual, I couldn’t wait to get started. First of all, I put it into the Peugeot dealer, to have the cam belt changed, which is a real bugger of a job on a Peugeot. Whilst doing it, they noticed that it didn’t rev too well, due to the accelerator cable either being from a 406 estate, or being a well stretched original item. They weren’t sure which, but I got them to change that as well anyway.
Once I got it back, I put new discs and pads all round, gave it a full service, including the gearbox oil, a new rear exhaust, changed the headlamp bulbs for white xenon ones and the side repeater lenses for smoked items. Then it went into the paint shop for its bonnet and boot lid, and had its alloys re-sprayed as well. I finished it off with a gleaming new badge on the boot lid and it looked the business.
The air con worked well enough, but had a habit of pouring water onto the passengers feet from time to time – I think it was a kink in the outlet pipe and I seem to have cured it, but I’ll just have to wait and see. Also, the fan under the passenger footwell was making a funny noise, so I took off the cover and cured that little problem with some Copperease on its spindle. As well as fitting a front strut brace from the heavier 3.0 litre model, I put in a K&N air filter, new 4 electrodes Bosch spark plugs, a new coil pack and wheel spacers with bigger tyres to fill out the wheel arches. Mine has 15″ alloys and I know that there were 16″ ones available as an option and a 25mm lowering kit would finish it off, but it’s a pretty car, Pinifarina did a good job and I’ve spent enough and just want to enjoy it.
I recently used it to travel to and from my job at the London Olympics, putting around 6,000 miles on it in 12 weeks. Being a heavy car, motorway cruising is what it’s best suited to and it coped well with the daily slog and traffic jams and ran seamlessly, except that the ABS failure light came and stayed on.
The brakes still work well enough though and I am told that the best way to cure it, is to take out the bulb from the warning light – sounds familiar and I’m glad to see that not much has changed in the world of (mostly) DIY mechanics!
Facts and Figures – Peugeot 406 Coupe
The Peugeot 406 Coupe was produced between 1995 and 2004, with 107,633 made, of which 10,709 came to the UK. The 2.0litre 16v had 137bhp, averaging 35mpg, with discs and coil springs all round. It had a 5 speed manual gearbox and was also available as an automatic.
It has all the goodies, like Sat Nav, electric memory heated leather seats, electric folding mirrors, automatic headlights and wipers, air con and a 6 CD player with decent speakers.
During its lifetime, the 406 Coupe was awarded both the Car Design Award, and the ‘What Car’ Car of The Year. It was also twice voted The Most Beautiful Car in The World and in my house, though I am loathe to give cars a name, it is known as the Babe Mobile!