On April 20, 1955, the Peugeot 403 was presented to the Peugeot dealers at the Trocadéro. The modern engine, derived from the 203, retained its ‘Alpax’ cylinder head with hemispherical combustion chambers, which guaranteed excellent efficiency. It was also the first Peugeot with a spherical windscreen. The car emerged from the collaboration between Peugeot and the renowned coachbuilder Pinin Farina, who designed the Cabriolet version, which was unveiled in October 1956 at the Paris Motor Show.
The 1957 403 Cabriolet in this article, chassis number 2118854, is exceptional in several respects. Of the 2,500 Cabriolets produced, this is the only one that has undergone Emile Darl’Mat’s special treatment. The car was ordered at the official presentation at the Paris Motor Show, rolled out of the factory in La Garenne-Colombes on May 16, 1957 and was delivered directly to the Darl’Mat garage in the seventh arrondissement of Paris, where it was subsequently handed over to come from the first owner. The famed taxidermist opted to leave the bodywork untouched and instead install an engine originally intended for a Darl’Mat Coupé. The adjustments were therefore limited to the mechanics and the addition of a rev counter, as previously done on the 203 Darl’Mat and the five 403 Coupés.
In 1986 and 450,000 km later, the car underwent a thorough overhaul and a light restoration. In 2013, the car was entrusted to restorer Lecoq in Saint-Ouen for a complete restoration. The car retained its original dark gray metallic color, with a beautiful beige leather interior.
A dot of gas not only confirms its extra power (20 hp more than a standard 203 Cabriolet), but also its balanced driving behavior and of course its elegant appearance.
This makes it a unique example that has remained in the hands of the same family since its purchase in 1957 until its complete restoration in 2013. The car was sold at auction for €102,512. A true asset for any collector.