Ir. Maarten van Zanten is a Peugeot driver and did so every day in his classic 203 and 404. A classic as daily transport requires a specific approach to remain ‘en route’. In 2004 Maarten talks about his passion for Peugeot in an interview with Peugeot Expo Magazine. On October 6, 2019, Maarten passed away and we will have to miss the enthusiastic engineer who drove classic Peugeot’s every day. That is why we are republishing the 2004 interview.
Where does your passion for Peugeot come from?
“From France. In the summer of 1977 we were on a camping site in Les Eyzies, on the Vézère in the area of the Lascaux caves. There was a 1951 Peugeot 203, which the owner of the campsite wanted to renovate. Only time was missing. The car was ready to drive after a few minor changes. We managed to do this together with another camping guest. After all, we were on vacation. We were quite proud. Then the questions: does the owner want to part with it and… who will take the car home? So I do. The return journey home after the holiday went well. Only a new V-belt was necessary to ensure that the 12 Volt battery would recharge sufficiently.”
“At home in Amsterdam I quickly found information about an existing Peugeot club, the APH. I immediately received a few copies of the club magazine: the numbers 5, 6 and 7 and then became a member very quickly. That was also necessary because a few things had to be done on the 203, at least if you wanted to drive it daily. That was not really a problem either. The technical commissioner of that time, Jacques Antvelink had a garage in Amsterdam and knew a lot about the 203. At the time, the club mainly revolved around the different types 203. In the end, I drove this 203 every day without any problems for about a year and a half. During that time my passion for Peugeot has only grown. Especially when I had the opportunity to purchase an original blue-gray 203C, year 1960, from the (French) first owner in early 1978. I have had this car for more than 25 years and it has also been my car for daily transport for 3 years. ”
What kind of classic Peugeot do you drive every day and why this model?
“When I became a member of the APH, most club members drove their 203 or 403 every day. It was wise not to drive all winter, so the car was increasingly parked in the winter. With my 203 I actually did that from the beginning. The car is used daily, but not in winter. Because I always liked driving a classic and the 203 is mainly used for longer journeys, (club) events and because we also need a 4-season car as a family, our choice fell on a 404. Since 1988 We drive continuously in a 404. We have had the current sedan since 1990 and built in 1974. One of the very last Dutch 404s. On average, it drives 12,000 km per year.”
“The 404 model has always been a beautiful car and the parts supply is excellent. The car is classic, but especially the latest versions are extremely modern, especially for the mid-1970s. In addition, there are many mechanical and drive technical similarities with the 203, even more than you would expect. Most parts are easily accessible and therefore suitable for maintenance. ”
What advantages and /or disadvantages does driving a classic have?
“There are many advantages to driving a classic. With me, the biggest advantage is that if you keep the classic in good condition you have no depreciation. That does mean that you have to invest. But you are still no more expensive than with a small modern car (106, 205, 206). At age 30, my 404 is valued nearly twice as high as it was 14 years ago when I started it. If necessary, I try to restore part of the body every summer, so that I can always keep driving. In addition, I have the 203 to drive in the summer. What is advantage for one person can be a disadvantage for another. Personally, I also think it is very possible to drive classically in the winter months. Keeping your distance is very important, your braking distance is much longer than with other cars in traffic. Good lighting, two exterior mirrors, then the 404 can still be fine in today’s traffic. You may not be the first to leave at a traffic light, but the 404 is good in traffic. From time to time fellow road users also raise their thumbs. Also abroad I often hear that the 404 is such a good car and that you should honor such a car. That gives a feeling that you are doing well. On the other hand, however, is the noise that occurs above the speed of 110 km / h. ”
What do you do about extra maintenance to keep the car “en route”?
“In the beginning, if you don’t know the car very well, of course you really pay attention. You check the points mentioned there, such as oil level, coolant level and so on, according to the instruction booklet. The 404 really runs better if you actually do the maintenance. Over the years, many peripherals in my 404 have been replaced, such as the distributor, the ignition coil, the struts, the shock absorbers and the swingarm / cardan. There was no wrong oil here, but a broken ball bearing. The current (2nd hand) cardan has already run 110,000 km. Ultimately, the engine was overhauled in 2002. The car drives like new again and climbs up the mountains as in its first youth. I like that. But in my neighborhood lives a 404 club member who really knows everything about 404. Without him I probably wouldn’t have had the car anymore. That enthusiasm (call it passion) is really necessary if you visit all of Europe with such a car. ”
What advantages does this car have compared to a new Peugeot?
“For me these are 2 plus points: The classic Peugeot’s are built very traditionally. If you like tinkering (that is recommended for driving a classic) you can usually fix defects yourself. Knowledge and experience come with age. It is precisely that craft that appeals to me. This does not apply when looking at the engine of a modern Peugeot, where access to many parts is a problem and special tools are required. You also build up a lot of knowledge in the club (s) that you can use sooner or later. All this in a casual, say cozy way. In this way many friendships are created and that is perhaps the most important plus. ”
Heb je nog een advies voor lezers die een klassieke auto (willen) rijden? 73/5000 Do you have any advice for readers who (want to) drive a classic car?
“The following actually applies to all classic brands: When purchasing, always have an ANWB or another expert inspection carried out, preferably if you have little knowledge / experience yourself. Or of course with someone from one of the existing Peugeot clubs. Compared to about 25 years ago, much more information is now available about our classic Peugeot’s. Preferably store the classic in a garage or carport, preferably well ventilated. During the winter period, clean the car from below every week with the pressure sprayer. Driving a classic is less suitable if you are always in a hurry. Avoid risks for yourself and for your classic. Firm driving is no problem, but keep in mind that the more aggressive fellow road user with 3 times as much horsepower and ABS probably does not count on you being careful with your classic and so… ??
Make sure the brand of the classic is clearly to read. Especially with the 203, whole families stay right behind, next to or in front of you because the children want to know what make and type of car this is. Above all, make sure that your wife (and also the children) are and remain enthusiastic about driving a classic. My wife often drives the 404 and she likes it very much. ”
Bonne voyage Maarten! We will proudly continue your motto, “Make friends with a classic Peugeot”.