This Peugeot 604 Is One Man’s Obsessive Restoration

Manufacturing the “turbodiesel” badge affixed to the back of this 1984 Peugeot 604 took Harjeet S. Kalsi two comprehensive weeks. With painstaking precision, he recreated the first font, milling a one skinny piece of aluminum, micron by micron. Prototypes were being produced and discarded. He then blended two batches of resin, getting the tint just proper prior to pouring them into the millimeters-deep cavity. The extra was meticulously hand-sanded away, and the piece then buffed to a spotless sheen. That is how considerably hard work went into just the badge.

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Witness what is likely the most best Peugeot 604 on the earth. An unusual auto when new, the 604 is now essentially extinct. Inquiries about elements availability are typically satisfied with a Gallic shrug, and to be blunt, few people today still treatment about this car or truck. But Kalsi does. To him, restoring this auto is about setting the world again in stability.

We’ve met Kalsi in advance of when Vehicle and Driver highlighted a glance at his unusually reliable 1982 Aston-Martin Lagonda. Sure, you’ve just examine the phrases “reliable” and “Lagonda” in the very same sentence. “I don’t think you can find truly any car I’m scared of working on,” Kalsi states. It really is not bragging, just tranquil assurance.

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His Lagonda is entirely bananas. Painted a vivid teal, it appears to be like like the kind of detail Lando Calrissian would gain in an unlawful Cloud Town poker recreation. Reduced, extended, and with a jaw-dropping inside, it is at when a car or truck and also a rift in the place-time continuum.

Following to that alligator-disguise jumpsuit, the 604 seems as reserved as a scowling French banker. Glimpse closer and the perfection of this car or truck is just as shocking as the garish Aston. The shut lines are all even and similar. The Marchal lights are polished as vibrant as a younger cat’s gaze. The reduced valence seems brand name new. Further, no other 604 has mirror-straight flanks like this one—the manufacturing unit manufacturing method usually warped the rear doors into a slight concave. Kalsi smoothed them into perfection with the persistence of a person of the takumi who hand-chamfer the flanks of the Toyota Century.

It can be the function of a plainly quite client mechanic. But then, what else may well you anticipate from somebody who learned vehicle restoration strategies by building an effectively-immortal Aston Martin? The position bears underlining: Each and every system employed to convey this 604 up to such a superior typical is a little something that Kalsi learned by doing on his Lagonda. Fiberglass repair service, bodywork, welding, inside leather- and woodwork, and of study course motor restore.

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A Teen Fixates on the 604

And it is also the do the job of someone who was acknowledging a childhood aspiration. A long time back, Kalsi’s father assigned his auto-crazed teenage son the process of finding out a new family car. The young person pored in excess of his magazine collection and settled on a Peugeot 604. It was an unusual option but not wildly so.

In the 1980s, purchasing a Peugeot was not considerably diverse than selecting a Mercedes or a Volvo. European marques represented distinct personalities: a BMW for the leather-based-driving-gloves group, a Saab for the black turtleneck-carrying architects, a Citröen for Grace Jones. Peugeots offered French motoring characteristics in a reasonably regular package deal, and U.S. revenue peaked in 1984 at 20,000.

The 604 executive-course sedan boasted most of the ethereal ease and comfort of a Citröen, with out the quirkiness. While not a industrial good results, it was a convincing work, obtaining specific vital praise for stylish styling and pliable journey excellent.

Kalsi Sr. would seem to have saved an open mind, and the loved ones did go and search at a 604. Having said that, there had been considerations about the expenditure and effort of seeking to maintain a French car likely on this side of the Atlantic. Checking out a area Peugeot dealership, an personnel offered some brutal honesty. A 604 was potentially far too much do the job if you were not a legitimate Euro fanatic.

Kalsi describes leaving quick essays on the back again doorway for his dad to go through upon coming residence from work—here are all the superiorities of a 604, it’s going to be the poshest car or truck in the neighborhood, I will constantly preserve it washed and waxed. The entreaties were being regarded, but practicality prevailed. The Kalsi family bought a wise 1982 Ford Escort GLX.

Harjeet was bereft, but also unswayed.

“I understood at some issue I would get 1,” he says, “I was guaranteed of it.”

A Majorette product of a 604 was a frequent childhood companion. He custom made it to have a detailed turbodiesel motor and doing the job suspension. It sat on his desk by way of school and college. He however has it.

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A Candidate Is Identified

Even so, attrition was coming for the 604. By all over 2010, Harjeet begun noticing that fewer have been all around each time he was idly browsing, and the illustrations that cropped up were ordinarily afflicted with rust. The research became more really serious. He located this U.S.-spec model in Washington point out in January 2017. It was in original condition but experienced not run in many years.

Having the engine turning once more was the initially priority, but not an quick task. Some net sleuthing and a cold contact turned up a cache of Peugeots in a area in close by Langley, BC. Kalsi waded through blackberry thorns to get at a 604 with what turned out to be a amazingly perfectly-preserved turbodiesel four-cylinder engine. He pulled the motor himself with hand tools and the support of the farmer’s tractor and hauled it again to his household in Surrey.

It need to be mentioned listed here that Kalsi is not managing a restoration shop. This was function done on his have, an all-consuming aspect undertaking carried out at the similar time as he was also accomplishing an comprehensive home renovation. It was exhausting.

“I did appear pretty in close proximity to to my limit towards the stop,” Kalsi says. “It was rather aggravating to be 99.9{09e594db938380acbda72fd0ffbcd1ef1c99380160786adb3aba3c50c4545157} there but not but carried out. I would appreciate to have just woken up and not experienced anything at all to do.”

Sections availability was challenging. When pieces could be tracked down, the pandemic slowed shipping and delivery to a crawl. However Kalsi persevered. The project felt like a Zeno’s paradox, inching tantalizingly closer, nonetheless in no way pretty total.

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The Aspiration, Understood

But the day came, and it was truly worth it. Even though what you can see is outstanding more than enough, it is the concealed traits that make it so unique. For instance, 604 dashboards all crack and warp, so Kalsi built a steel frame to hold it in position, concealed beneath the cautiously re-wrapped vinyl. Unique labeling was recreated for the underhood location and guiding the gasoline doorway. The driver’s seat is shaped from the foam of 3 seats sectioned into just one.

Sinking in, it truly is as at ease as when the vehicle was new. In point, the entire car or truck feels new. The steering is fantastic, a lot more responsive than you would assume from a automobile to start with released in the 1970s. The suspension is sufficiently tender that a driver can just disregard speedbumps, but the 604 would not wallow in the corners. In its day, keeping the turbodiesel torque on the boil, this would have been a decently quick cross-continental European tourer.

To Kalsi, it is also righting a improper. His father’s pragmatism was in all probability suitable at the time, but this 604 is capturing the automobile that as soon as received absent. These days, he parks it in his garage following to his Lagonda. They signify two extremely distinct goals, the two willed into truth by a gentleman who can make even a badge into a get the job done of artwork.

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