By on September 24, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is one of the more obscure vehicles seen on these pages. The result of an argument between two men, the Le Mans was a short-lived model from a short-lived manufacturer.

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By on August 7, 2019

We’ve lately had some fun Citroën times here at Rare Rides, with the most recent entry being a custom-built and luxurious ID19 coupe. Today’s Rare Ride is not quite as luxurious, and there’s certainly nothing bespoke about it. But it is interesting, and it also looks like a corrugated shed on wheels.

Say hello to HY.
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By on August 1, 2019

Our most recently featured Citroën was a BX five-door hatchback, which made its way to Maine on a plane from Spain. But perhaps, as some readers indicated in the comments, it wasn’t Citroën enough given its development on a platform also used for Peugeot vehicles.

Maybe this more pure French beauty will satisfy: An ID19 Le Dandy coupe, from 1962.

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By on July 22, 2019

Citroën’s on-and-off history with North American importation make almost all of them rarities, and perfect for this series. Thus far, we’ve seen Citroëns in the form of Traction Avant, XM, and CX. Today’s front-drive Frenchy is a sporty BX hatchback from 1991.

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By on June 14, 2019

Every automotive journalist has a mental list of new models they’d like to see migrate to their home country. For many residing in North America, the Alpine A110 is at the top of the page. We didn’t get the resurrected A110, which is a faithful throwback to the original model that ended production in 1977, and this has left a subset of our staff feeling a little raw.

Alpine has since unveiled a spicier build of the car, throwing some additional salt on our collective butthurt — though we’ll happily acknowledge that probably wasn’t the automaker’s intent. It seems content building a two-seat sports car France can be proud of.  (Read More…)

By on July 26, 2018

The Rare Rides series will always have space for unique French cars. It’s featured several Renault vehicles and a couple of Citroëns to date, but only one Peugeot, to my recollection. That one, a 106 GTI, was an import to Canada by an enthusiastic second-hand buyer. Today we feature a second Peugeot: one actually sold by a dealer, brand new, in America.

It’s the hottest 405 sold in the U.S. — the excellently named Mi16.

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By on January 18, 2018

peugeot-308gti-

At Wednesday’s Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Peugeot SA Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said the French automaker is picking the brains of former Opel engineers to develop vehicles for re-entry into U.S. market. In keeping with current trends, he also said Peugeot will offer electrification as an option on all its vehicles by 2025.

With plans to use the 2017 acquisition of GM’s European Opel and Vauxhall operations as the springboard for global expansion, Americans could eventually find themselves once again experiencing the Gallic delights of French motoring.

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By on September 19, 2017

Peugeot Bipper Tepee, UImage: PSA Group

Yesterday, we brought you the latest update on PSA Group’s long-term plan to return to the U.S. market. The company will start producing U.S.-compliant vehicles starting in three years, with the French automaker able to turn on the product taps anytime after that, should buyers (and more importantly, a dealer network) fall into place.

No, there’ll be no Renaults, no slinky Alpine A110 coupe, but there could be Citroëns, Peugeots and DS models available within the decade should PSA’s plans come to fruition. Forget Germany, Japan, Korea and Sweden. Forget Ford. Is there a French car in your future? (Read More…)

By on May 24, 2017

[Kletr/Bigstock.com]

It’s always fun to see how the other half lives. In Europe, thanks in part to narrow roads that wind between ancient monuments and fuel prices several orders of magnitude greater than our own, small cars are king. When Citroën left our market in 1974, its only offering was the great-when-it-worked SM coupe.

These days, Citroën hawks a large range of cars on the other side of the pond. Compared to small base cars on our shores, does the C1 exhibit radical ideas or a dose of common sense? Whatever it is, there’s scads of it scattered all over the thing.

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By on April 6, 2017

Peugeot 405

France’s PSA Group appears to be getting serious about its re-entry into the U.S. market, naming former Nissan executive Larry Dominique as the head of its North American endeavors. That means the possibility of seeing new Peugeots or Citroëns on the road is no longer just a pipe dream.

However, PSA hasn’t yet made up its mind on which brands will debut in America. The Peugeot lineup makes the most sense, as it’s the French brand most American’s actually still remember, but Citroen has more eccentric models that could appeal to a specific subset of customers. The latter also has the DS sub-brand that might appeal to upscale buyers, even if it were to come in on its own.

The final decision won’t come until PSA has spent time and money performing loads of consumer research and logistical analysis.  (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2016

s-l1600-1

No one designs cars like the French — though many would say that’s a good thing.

Uniquely styled, mechanically complex, and (sometimes) rewarding to drive, French cars are an experience like no other. Buying a French classic is a bit like being married to a supermodel: They can be very high maintenance, but the rewards are well worth it.

Here are five of the most fantastically French cars you can buy in America.

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By on March 14, 2016

Charles de Gaulle in a Citroen DS (Image: Gnotype/Flickr)

With the Saab brand now functionally dead, could the next quirky car du jour for individuality-signalling Americans come from France?

All eyes will be on PSA Peugeot Citroen on April 5 as France’s top automaker reveals its new international growth strategy, possibly heralding a return to the long-abandoned U.S. market.

The U.S. and Iran are being looked at as potential export markets, now that PSA’s “Back in the Race” restructuring program has improved the financial fortunes of the once-struggling automaker. (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2016

DSC_0492-1

As I exit the sleek, svelte coupe and to buy some ice cream, the car is crackling and popping like a campfire doused. I feel there’s something contradictory about this. After what I did for last hour or so — blasting around back roads at speeds far above socially acceptable levels, manhandling the tiller just to keep it straight under throttle, thundering through hairpin turns and using massive traction provided by a limited-slip diff — I should be doing something manly. Chomping on a fat steak and downing a beer; not licking a sweet cone filled with a frozen, sugared dessert. And the car behind me should be a butch, masculine coupe; not a curvy, chic little Peugeot.

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By on January 4, 2016

1987 Peugeot 205 GTi

As I wrapped up 2015 last week, I was reminded of my lust for French cars. My look at an inexplicably imported Citroen was the most popular piece I wrote last year, so it’s quite likely there are a few more of you masochists out there.

I also love me some hot hatches. The French know what they are doing with these cars, too, though most would think of the R5 Turbo or perhaps the 205 T16 rally replica rather than a proper front-engine, front drive commuter.

As we’ve reached another arbitrary point in our laps around the sun, we can look at importing a new batch of otherwise-unavailable cars under the 25-year rule.

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By on September 30, 2014

10 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was a time when Peugeots— mostly 504s but the occasional 404 as well— were quite common in American self-service junkyards. Back in the early 1990s, when I owned a free 504, you could count on finding junkyard parts at every good-sized U-Wrench-It in Northern California, and as recently as the late 2000s I found the occasional 504 and even this 404. Nowadays, though, all you’re going to see is 505s and 405s, from the final years of Peugeot’s North American presence, and they’re sufficiently rare that we’ve seen just this 405 in this series prior to today. However, a few 505s managed to soldier on for a couple decades after Peugeot fled back across the Atlantic (or at least managed to survive in storage for that time), and I found this ’86 in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard earlier this year. (Read More…)

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