Skip to content

The 402 breathes speed

In 1965 the Peugeot 204 was introduced. At that time, somewhere in the Netherlands lived a twelve-year-old boy named Henk Oost. He also saw the new Peugeot in the newspaper, but it did not affect him. 1965 was the year that Henk realized that the T-Fords from the silent film by Laurel & Hardy fascinated him. A car was not a car until it had a straight windshield, a copper radiator and a large steering wheel. And not to forget the classic humming sound from the exhaust with a little bit of gas. More than ten years later, Henk would buy the car of his dreams: a Peugeot 402, the opposite of the Citroën Traction Avant.

De voorliefde voor antieke auto’s is voor Henk letterlijk en figuurlijk een ontdekkingsreis geweest. Het begon bij de stomme film en zijn Pyro modelauto’s, en resulteerde in avontuurlijke zoektochten met vrienden in een oude Snoek door Frankrijk, op zoek naar die ene bijzondere auto. En auto’s kwamen er. Het begon met Citroën Traction Avants voor het dagelijkse vervoer. Later werden daar een Citroën Rosalie, Bernet, Donnet Ci 17 en een Peugeot 177R aan toegevoegd. Maar tijdens kerst 1975 vond Henk bij Sontrop Ancienne Voitures – een Nederlandse handelaar in Frankrijk – zijn droomauto: een 402 N4Y. 

Met Pasen 1976 werd de 402 opgehaald. Henk werd meteen uit de droom geholpen, want de 402 moest volledig worden gerestaureerd om er iets moois van te maken. Wilde plannen werden gemaakt en daar bleef het bij. Het leven ging door en de 402 wachtte geduldig op zijn restauratiebeurt. De auto was in goede handen, want als Henk iets doet, dan is het geen half werk. In de loop der jaren werd de collectie antieke auto’s wegens tijdgebrek uitgedund. De 402 bleef, evenals een antieke Voisin. Maar 22 jaar na de aankoop was het dan zover: Henk ging de 402 restaureren. 

The restoration consisted of two main activities: refurbishing the car, and at the same time looking for missing parts. The 402 is from the year 1936, which means that we are dealing with the first model here. The model as presented at the fair, full of interesting details. That made the search for parts very difficult at times. Because in the year of purchase the car was already forty years old and already sixty years old at the start of the restoration. Then look for small parts and accessories. Anyway, that only made the project more challenging.

Henk worked with extreme precision. After many hours of toil and perseverance, the time had come for the car to be ready on the outside. He did the sheet metal and paintwork himself, as well as the upholstery of the car. The latter took a year to get it in the way it is now. And then came the first stage, towards the inspection in Waddinxveen. Then it was up or down. ‘At that moment you have to gain confidence in the car,’ says Henk. “You’ve worked on it for years and of course you don’t want a failure on that first ride. That was quite an experience. It took almost a year before I could really believe that the car was reliable.”

“The 402 breathes speed. The streamlined body, that perky lion in front, the headlights behind the grille and the split window just give me a kick. “Aérodynamique” is one of the most exciting design styles I know. The 402 N4X concept model takes the cake in my opinion. The lines, the panoramic windscreen and the tail fin make this car mythical. But when I look at how the chassis is built as a block tube, the car is also a picture from a technical point of view! In all respects, the 402 is a simple and soothing design. It is therefore inextricably linked to Art Deco, and is the result of a transition period from square to streamlined cars.”

Speaking of the past: Henk’s 402 belonged to a greengrocer from Auxerre. Little is known about the further history of the car. Various searches through old addresses and municipal archives have not yet yielded a ‘first owner’. It seems that the car originally comes from the Spanish Pyrenees.

In the meantime, Henk does not have to be bored. His other car, a Voisin, has yet to be fully restored. Speaking of challenges…

Back To Top