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Retired workhorse

Cars are restored, cherished and preserved for various reasons. Sometimes it is because the car belongs to the family. Like the Marrocchi family from Argentina. Juan Marrocchi owns a family heirloom on four wheels: a Peugeot 404 “Normandie”, a pick-up with a box body. The car served for years as a commercial vehicle for their wool factory. When father Carlos retired, the work for the 404 was also over. Juan restored the car as a souvenir of the family business.

Juan is a car enthusiast, just like his father. Besides the Peugeot 404, Juan also likes to drive another classic car, a 1940 Ford deluxe Coupe. His father raced a 1939 copy for years. He even drove it to Chile to compete in the “Gran Premio Dos Oceanos”. Juan has adapted his current Ford to drive a little faster and more comfortably.

There are enough memories of Peugot’s in his youth, says Juan. “The first Peugeot we got was a 403 and then a 404 diesel. That diesel was delivered with an engine that was built in Argentina, but the quality was not good. The last 404 was of much better quality. The 404 that has been preserved is from 1979 and was delivered as a bare pick-up in Manila beige on which a closed steel unit was later placed. Better known as Furgo from the brochure.”

“We were always working. As a little boy I helped and during the daily trips to the spinning mill I sat next to my father in the 404. Invariably I got a packet of cookies from him that I was sweet with. The first years it was an open pick-up and later a closed body was delivered by the Francital company. The 404 was a real workhorse because on some journeys the cargo could weigh up to 700 kilos. Everywhere we went, including business, the white 404 was seen. The entire local textile industry saw the 404 as our company logo.”

“The car was therefore used for everything. I remember my father putting all the baggage for a school camp in the 404 and hardly anyone could believe how much that car could hold. With memories like that, I couldn’t bear to sell the car after its term of service. In addition, it is a trouble-free car. It has more than 300,000 kilometers on the clock, but it has not needed much overhaul. Sometimes some water has entered the cylinders. That had to be fixed, the 404 looked like a steam locomotive. I also went through the brakes sometimes. Fortunately without a load. A perilous moment, but the gearbox and handbrake really helped me.”

“Today the 404 is retired in my garage. Every month I drive around the block and sometimes also for a transport job. My father is proud that the car is still in the family. Thanks to the 404 we have always been able to move our merchandise and earn a good living with it.”

“Next year I will take my father and the 404 to Autoclassica, a well-known classic car fair in South America. We drive there in company with the local Peugeot Club. A great opportunity to hit the road again with the three of us.”

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