This Peugeot 604 Is One Man’s Obsessive Restoration

Production the “turbodiesel” badge affixed to the back again of this 1984 Peugeot 604 took Harjeet S. Kalsi two comprehensive months. With painstaking precision, he recreated the unique font, milling a solitary slim piece of aluminum, micron by micron. Prototypes ended up designed and discarded. He then blended two batches of resin, acquiring the tint just appropriate before pouring them into the millimeters-deep cavity. The surplus was carefully hand-sanded away, and the piece then buffed to a spotless sheen. That’s how considerably energy went into just the badge.

John Brendan McAleerCar or truck and Driver

Witness what is likely the most excellent Peugeot 604 on the earth. An unusual automobile when new, the 604 is now mainly extinct. Inquiries about sections availability are ordinarily fulfilled with a Gallic shrug, and to be blunt, couple people still care about this vehicle. But Kalsi does. To him, restoring this car or truck is about environment the entire world again in stability.

We’ve satisfied Kalsi ahead of when Automobile and Driver featured a search at his unusually responsible 1982 Aston-Martin Lagonda. Yes, you’ve got just read through the words and phrases “reliable” and “Lagonda” in the same sentence. “I don’t consider there is certainly really any motor vehicle I’m concerned of functioning on,” Kalsi claims. It can be not bragging, just silent self confidence.

John Brendan McAleerCar and Driver

His Lagonda is wholly bananas. Painted a vibrant teal, it looks like the sort of factor Lando Calrissian would acquire in an illegal Cloud Town poker match. Small, lengthy, and with a jaw-dropping inside, it is at as soon as a car and also a rift in the room-time continuum.

Following to that alligator-cover jumpsuit, the 604 seems as reserved as a scowling French banker. Appear closer and the perfection of this car is just as surprising as the garish Aston. The shut traces are all even and similar. The Marchal lights are polished as dazzling as a youthful cat’s gaze. The reduce valence appears to be like brand new. Even further, no other 604 has mirror-straight flanks like this one—the manufacturing unit production course of action constantly warped the rear doors into a slight concave. Kalsi smoothed them into perfection with the patience of a single of the takumi who hand-chamfer the flanks of the Toyota Century.

It can be the get the job done of a plainly pretty affected person mechanic. But then, what else may well you anticipate from another person who uncovered automobile restoration strategies by developing an essentially-immortal Aston Martin? The level bears underlining: Each individual strategy utilized to carry this 604 up to this sort of a superior common is some thing that Kalsi learned by doing on his Lagonda. Fiberglass repair service, bodywork, welding, inside leather-based- and woodwork, and of system engine repair.

John Brendan McAleerCar or truck and Driver

A Teen Fixates on the 604

And it is also the operate of an individual who was acknowledging a childhood aspiration. Decades back, Kalsi’s father assigned his vehicle-crazed teenage son the undertaking of picking out a new family members automobile. The younger man pored about his magazine assortment and settled on a Peugeot 604. It was an unusual preference but not wildly so.

In the 1980s, obtaining a Peugeot was not substantially diverse than deciding upon a Mercedes or a Volvo. European marques represented unique personalities: a BMW for the leather-based-driving-gloves crowd, a Saab for the black turtleneck-putting on architects, a Citröen for Grace Jones. Peugeots available French motoring characteristics in a reasonably regular offer, and U.S. sales peaked in 1984 at 20,000.

The 604 government-class sedan boasted most of the ethereal convenience of a Citröen, with out the quirkiness. Even though not a commercial results, it was a convincing hard work, acquiring specific critical praise for exquisite styling and pliable trip good quality.

Kalsi Sr. looks to have held an open up brain, and the household did go and look at a 604. On the other hand, there were fears about the price and exertion of seeking to hold a French vehicle likely on this facet of the Atlantic. Checking out a area Peugeot dealership, an worker provided some brutal honesty. A 604 was potentially far too a lot perform if you have been not a legitimate Euro fanatic.

Kalsi describes leaving shorter essays on the again doorway for his dad to read upon coming household from work—here are all the superiorities of a 604, it’s going to be the poshest car in the neighborhood, I am going to constantly keep it washed and waxed. The entreaties were being thought of, but practicality prevailed. The Kalsi spouse and children acquired a sensible 1982 Ford Escort GLX.

Harjeet was bereft, but also unswayed.

“I knew at some place I would get a person,” he claims, “I was certain of it.”

A Majorette design of a 604 was a frequent childhood companion. He custom made it to have a comprehensive turbodiesel motor and doing work suspension. It sat on his desk by means of university and university. He nonetheless has it.

John Brendan McAleerVehicle and Driver

A Candidate Is Identified

Nonetheless, attrition was coming for the 604. By all around 2010, Harjeet commenced noticing that fewer were all over whenever he was idly exploring, and the examples that cropped up were being commonly afflicted with rust. The lookup grew to become far more major. He uncovered this U.S.-spec model in Washington condition in January 2017. It was in primary affliction but had not operate in a long time.

Getting the engine turning again was the 1st priority, but not an uncomplicated task. Some world wide web sleuthing and a cold connect with turned up a cache of Peugeots in a area in close by Langley, BC. Kalsi waded by way of blackberry thorns to get at a 604 with what turned out to be a incredibly nicely-preserved turbodiesel four-cylinder engine. He pulled the engine himself with hand equipment and the help of the farmer’s tractor and hauled it back again to his household in Surrey.

It must be famous here that Kalsi is not functioning a restoration store. This was operate carried out on his own, an all-consuming side venture performed at the same time as he was also undertaking an extensive house renovation. It was exhausting.

“I did occur really in the vicinity of to my limit towards the conclude,” Kalsi states. “It was really irritating to be 99.9% there but not but performed. I would like to have just woken up and not experienced anything to do.”

Pieces availability was challenging. When pieces could be tracked down, the pandemic slowed shipping and delivery to a crawl. However Kalsi persevered. The task felt like a Zeno’s paradox, inching tantalizingly nearer, still by no means really comprehensive.

John Brendan McAleerCar or truck and Driver

The Desire, Recognized

But the working day came, and it was worthy of it. Whilst what you can see is remarkable adequate, it truly is the concealed features that make it so special. For instance, 604 dashboards all crack and warp, so Kalsi built a steel body to hold it in spot, concealed beneath the very carefully re-wrapped vinyl. Original labeling was recreated for the underhood location and at the rear of the gasoline doorway. The driver’s seat is formed from the foam of 3 seats sectioned into a single.

Sinking in, it really is as comfortable as when the car was new. In fact, the complete motor vehicle feels new. The steering is fantastic, extra responsive than you’d be expecting from a auto initial launched in the 1970s. The suspension is adequately tender that a driver can just disregard speedbumps, but the 604 doesn’t wallow in the corners. In its working day, holding the turbodiesel torque on the boil, this would have been a decently speedy cross-continental European tourer.

To Kalsi, it is also righting a incorrect. His father’s pragmatism was probably suitable at the time, but this 604 is capturing the auto that when acquired absent. Right now, he parks it in his garage up coming to his Lagonda. They characterize two really unique dreams, each willed into actuality by a male who can make even a badge into a function of art.

John Brendan McAleerVehicle and Driver

This content material is created and managed by a 3rd celebration, and imported onto this page to assist users supply their e mail addresses. You may possibly be in a position to discover a lot more information and facts about this and equivalent information at