Classic Peugeot’s are quite rare in the United States. Few Peugeot; s were sold in the US and even fewer were well maintained. But the cars that are left are cherished. Alex’s 404 convertible therefore gets all the attention, both technically and from astonished passers-by. Many Americans have never seen a Peugeot up close and certainly not a 404 convertible. The 404 fits perfectly with Alex and his wife Steph. The convertible is part of their vintage styled home and eclectic lifestyle. And the 404 appears to be made to ride under the California sun.
Alex Zangeneh Azam lives in Sacramento, California. He and his wife Steph work in the creative industry. Designing is their work and life. There is a story behind every piece of furniture in the house. And then we have not yet been in the garage, the domain of Alex’s projects. There we find vintage motorcycles and classic cars and a small but complete workshop. Part of the collection is a 404 convertible, a rarity in the US and this is his story.
Alex: “How I came across our 404 Cabriolet? That goes back almost twenty years when I saw a breathtaking red convertible driving by. I knew this car had to come from the European car specialist around here. I immediately drove behind it and indeed, there was a red 404 Cabriolet idling, as pure as a Swiss watch. The merchant and I had a nice conversation and he told me the 404 was on sale. Not knowing anything about the car, I decided to look up some information on the internet first and came back the following week with the intention of leaving a deposit and eventually buying the car. Wrong! To my annoyance, the car was already sold. For a year, I was disappointed because I could not buy this beautiful car. But after a year, I ran into another 404 convertible while on the road near Sacramento. This time a black 404 came on my path. After months of research I found clues about the whereabouts of the car. Finally I met the owners at a nearby coffee shop. We became friends and kept in touch for almost 15 years. Because of health problems they decided to sell the car to me. The long wait was rewarded. I’ve had the 404 for almost three years now. ‘
“This particular 404 convertible is in unrestored condition, it still has the paint it got in 1965. The frames of the front seats were broken at some point and the vinyl was torn in several places, so I decided to fix it and have it repaired by a specialist. This 404 is in excellent driving condition and is still completely original. I did have the window and door rubbers replaced. A nice change from the previous owner is the wooden dashboard that I plan to sand and repaint. Fortunately, the car is rust free, so I can do everything I can to make sure it drives and stays in good shape. Nearly all brakes, master and slave cylinders and the infamous hydro-vac booster system have been overhauled and replaced. ”
“I recently drove the 404 from Sacramento Los Angeles to visit a Peugeot specialist (Ukit Suwantararungsri from US Foreign Auto Repair in El Monte, CA). It has overhauled the engine and gearbox, and the 404 has also received a new clutch. He did a great job. I am happy that a Peugeot specialist is relatively close to home. And by relatively close by I mean almost 6 hours driving, something like driving from Amsterdam to Paris. ”
“So we will also make a party of the outward and return journey. We took the tourist route. Driving the Pacific Coast Highway in a vintage convertible, let alone a Peugeot 404 Convertible is definitely a dream come true. Another of the most beautiful trips was last year. We then took Highway 1 north of Monterey to Bodega Bay. Beautiful winding roads with nothing but coastlines as far as the eye can see, wineries and oysters! ”
“Driving the 404 is a lot of fun and for many people it is quite guesswork about the brand. Although classic cars are quite popular here, you rarely see European classics driving around. And not like a Peugeot 404 Cabriolet, designed by Pininfarina! Usually people keep walking around the car to find the brand, stand and stare for a while. When I say it’s a Pininfarina bodywork design and it’s a French brand built in Italy, people usually ask if the car is for sale. Once I was followed to the front door of my house by an enthusiast who did not recognize the car but was completely enthusiastic about the design. Now he is also looking for his own 404 convertible. ”
“My plans as the owner of this beautiful 404 convertible are to lower it, buy new chrome rims and make the car red and airbrushed flames on the hood … no, just kidding !!!?”
“My real plans are to keep the car and continue to address any issues that arise. My next job is to replace the rubber inner lining, maybe new shock absorbers and the left front window to be repaired because it is not going well. Apart from minor maintenance, I continue to drive and enjoy the Californian landscape with the hood closed. In any case, drive and enjoy your classic Peugeot as much as possible, maintain the equipment well so that posterity can also enjoy it. Life is too short to drive a boring car. Nothing lasts forever. “