Peugeot 402 Eclipse

Car producer : 

Peugeot

Model:

402 Eclipse

Year:

1935-1942

Type:

Cabriolet



The car was launched with a four-cylinder water-cooled engine of 1991 cc with poppet valves. With its claimed 55hp (41 kW) the standard bodied car could achieve a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) at 4,000 rpm. In 1938 the capacity was raised to 2142 cc with the introduction of the Peugeot 402B, stated output now being 60 horsepower (45 kilowatts). Given the wide range of body lengths and styles offered, there was and is correspondingly wide range of different performance figures quoted for the standard-engined 402.

Other engine versions existed, with a claimed output of 70hp (52 kW) for a Darl'mat bodied performance coupe version.

The Peugeot 402 is a large family car produced in Sochaux, France from 1935 to 1942 by Peugeot. It was unveiled in Paris Motor Show in 1935, replacing the Peugeot 401.

The Peugeot 403, introduced approximately thirteen years after the demise of the 402, can be seen as the older car’s natural heir.

Even by 1930s standards, the range of different 402 models based on the single chassis was large, comprising at one stage, by one estimate, sixteen different body types, from expensive steel bodied convertible cars, to family saloons which were among the most spacious produced in France.

An aspect of the all-steel car bodies that became mainstream among the larger European automakers in the 1930s was the very high initial cost associated with the heavy steel presses and the dies needed to cut and stamp pressed steel sheeting into the panels that, when welded together, would form a sufficiently rigid and robust car body. The wide range of car bodies was therefore carefully devised to maximize the sharing of panels between the different bodies variants listed.

There were three different standard wheelbases of 2,880 mm (113 in) (short), 3,150 mm (124 in) (“normal”) and 3,300 mm (130 in) (long).

The standard bodied saloon/sedan (berline), first presented at the Paris Motor Show in the late Autumn of 1935 sat on the “normal” 3,150 mm (124 in) chassis and was advertised as a six-seater, the passengers being accommodated in two rows on bench seats in what was, by the standards of the time and place, an unusually wide car. The four door “berline” came as a “6 glaces” (“six-light” or three windows on each side) saloon/sedan. In 1936 the price list showed the saloon as the least expensive of the “normal” wheelbase 402s, priced from 23,900 francs.

Closely resembling the 402 berline “6 glaces”, at first sight, was the 402 “normale commerciale” also offering seating for six people accommodated in two rows. However, at the back, in place of the more usual panels, the “commerciale” featured a two piece tailgate The rear of the cabin was described as being “transformable pour transport de marchandises” (transformable for transport of goods) which presumably would have involved lifting out the rear seat. Later on there were also 402 commerciales exhibited with semi-squared off rear roof lines along the lines of a steel bodied station wagon/estate car conversion, but most of the 402 commerciales shared, from the side, the silhouette of the 402 saloon/sedan, presumably in order to avoid the cost of tooling up for volume-style production of a relatively small number of uniquely shaped body panels.

Other models appearing on the “normal” wheelbase at the 1936 show included a Grand-luxe berline with a sliding steel sun roof, a 4/5 seater 2-door soft-top cabriolet priced in October 1936 at 30,900 francs, a 5/6 seater “coach” (elegant two door saloon) priced at 29,900 francs, a 2/3 seater roadster at 27,900 francs and a “coupé transformable Éclipse” which was a steel roofed convertible priced at 34,900 francs. The Éclipse was significant as the first of many Peugeot coupes with a steel roof that would fold and stow in the boot/trunk. The retractable hardtop mechanism had been designed, and in 1931 patented, by Georges Paulin: the mechanism was bulky by more recent standards and necessitated a very long tail end. Despite the generous length of the 3,150 mm (124 in) wheelbase, this first application of the technology came with just two seats.

Several of the body types were priced (and presumably costed) to be produced in relatively low volumes, and despite appearing at the Motor Show in October 1936, three had been delisted by the start of 1937. The delisted variants were the 5/6 seater “coach”, the 4/5 2-door soft-top cabriolet and the steel roofed “Coupé transformable Éclipse”, although the third of these had already been effectively replaced in 1936 by a similar, but even longer, steel roofed convertible Éclipse, now with seating for 4/5 people and using the longest of the 402’s three chassis lengths.

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