Vintage motor is sweet find for Morecambe Peugeot fanatic
A quaint looking car which had languished immobile in a barn in rural France for 60 years is now in Morecambe ready to take to the open road once more.
The 1122cc Peugeot 201, with a top speed of 50mph, has been nurtured back to life by Andy Larton, who has been involved with Peugeots for around 35 years.
And Andy, whose firm, Larton Engine Developments Ltd, is based in Morecambe was amazed to discover that the vintage Peugeot was in good order and needed relatively few adjustments.
The car was left in a barn in the Cognac region of France in 1960, with an electrical problem, and subsequently discovered by the family of the previous owner. They put it up for sale two weeks after its discovery and a Birmingham dealer brought it back to the UK before selling it on to Andy.
Andy, who wants the model to retain as much of its original specifications as possible, replaced the tyres and inner tubes, apart from the spare which remains in good shape, and carried out a number of other relatively modest adjustments.
Then came the big moment...“unbelievably, she started first time...after 60 years of standing, she was as sweet as a nut,” said Andy.
“The next step was to try the gearbox and there was a reluctance to engage any gear. The clutch had stuck so we turned the engine off and started it in gear which freed it off straight away.”
Andy, accompanied by his father, Ernie, then hopped in and took it for a road test, wondering if the brakes would work. They did!
The only other job Andy has done is to replace the vinyl roof panel that had rotted away, and been torn on its way back from France, and to apply beeswax to protect the paintwork.
Apart from that the car is in its full patina and more or less the condition it was when last used on the road in 1960.
Production of the Peugeot 201 started in 1929 and ran through until 1937, with about 140,000 models being built. It was also the first of the three number models with the middle zero.
Andy added: “It’s just a bit different, a bit unusual, but it’s a really nice little car. There are not many in this country.”
Once the pandemic allows, Andy intends to show off the car at classic shows and meetings and is looking forward to going for a spin round Morecambe.”