The Peugeot 302 of Luc de Wael from Flanders is unmissable as it passes in traffic. The striking headlights behind the grille may initially suggest that it is a type 202. Until the split windshield with its striking wipers comes into view. The car has always been a rarity. Only 25,000 copies rolled off the production line in 1936 and 1937. Those who were lucky could buy a new copy in 1938, assembled from parts that were still on the shelf.
It has now been almost forty years since Luc bought the 302 sedan through his neighbor. The car was in terrible condition and was in need of a proper restoration. Luc’s car comes from the north of France and was produced in 1936. Today, almost ninety years later, Luc and his sons Benoit and Yannick regularly use the pre-war Peugeot. Since purchasing the 302 sedan, Luc has also become a member of the Belgian Club for Old Peugeots. Since then he has started collecting as much documentation as possible about this model in order to carry out the restoration of his 302 as best as possible. Luc completed this restoration almost entirely himself.
Where does your love for the two series come from?
Luc: “I have been fascinated by motorized vehicles since my youth. The Peugeot two-series quickly came first for me. My father owned a 202 sedan in the late 1940s. He drove that for a number of years. Since then, this model has remained my favorite. It’s those striking headlights behind the grille that captured my heart. And when, years later, I was able to acquire a 302 sedan through my neighbor, I didn’t doubt it for a second.”
In what condition did you purchase the 302?
“My neighbor bought the car in France and it was in a very bad condition. When I took over the 302, it had already been completely dismantled and the bodywork had been sandblasted. The car was therefore still in the early stages of a restoration. The engine no longer worked and the rear of the car was completely rusted away. In short, a complete and extensive restoration was awaiting.”
Did you do all that work yourself?
“From the start I had decided to do as much as possible myself. Apart from the overhaul of the engine and the restoration of the seat upholstery, I did everything myself. First the great search for parts and documentation began. Then I started dismantling the bodywork so that the bare chassis could be taken care of. After this I assembled the overhauled engine and placed it in the engine cabin. That left some minor mechanical work to be done before I could start the car for the first time. Soon I was able to take my children for a ride on the bare chassis. The neighbors didn’t know what they saw.
After those rides I started restoring the bodywork. First the welding and filling work and then I painted a car myself for the first time in my life. In my own garage. It cost me a lot of blood, sweat and tears before everything was sprayed nice and tight. I am proud of the result.
I then tackled the interior and recreated the door panels myself. After a few years I was done with the restoration and my 302 was ready for its first official ride. That was to the village of Hour in the Belgian Ardennes.”
Do you drive the 302 a lot?
“What’s a lot? For some classic car enthusiasts, driving five tours is a lot. For me that is not the case. I regularly go outside with my 302 and even travel with it. I also don’t have a trailer, so I have to drive everything myself. But that doesn’t scare me because my 302 is very reliable.”
Do you have to do so little tinkering?
“An oldtimer always requires more maintenance than a new car. But in all these years I have only had one major engine breakdown. Peugeot has guaranteed quality since its early years and that remains the case today. ”
How many euros can your 302 sell for?
“Sell my 302? NEVER!”
In the meantime, father Luc manages the 302 passed on by sons Benoit and Yannick. The car moved from Herentals to Brussels to find a new home within the family ranks and an overhaul after so many enjoyable kilometers.