1936 Peugeot 601 D-TM Grand Sport

1936 Peugeot 601 D-TM Grand Sport Coachwork Torpedo by Meulemeester

Formerly producers of tools, coffee mills, umbrella spikes and corsetry, Peugeot commenced its long-standing connection with transport in 1885 when it added cycle manufacture to its portfolio. The company is the second oldest motor manufacturer in the world, having commenced car production in 1889. Peugeot’s success was founded on the production of well engineered cars aimed at the cheaper end of the market, and although technologically less adventurous than rivals Citroën, nevertheless produced some memorable designs in the mid-to-late 1930s. Foremost of these were the aerodynamic 202/302/402 series that debuted in 1935 featuring streamlined coachwork influenced by the Chrysler Airflow models. Development had begun on the 301 chassis in 1934, a year that also saw the introduction of the top-of-the-range, although short-lived, 601. ‘The Peugeot 601 can only be compared to cars costing twice as much,’ declared its maker in describing what would turn out to be Peugeot’s last large six-cylinder luxury car for 40 years.

Also new that year on the 601 chassis was a novel ‘coupé cabriolet’ or ‘hardtop convertible’. Conceived by Georges Paulin and manufactured by Carrosserie Pourtout, this ‘Eclipse’ body featured a power-operated metal roof the folded down into the rear-hinged boot, an idea Peugeot would revive in modern times. A Peugeot 601 with this type of coachwork by Carrosserie Pourtout featured prominently in the 1938 motion picture, Le Schpountz directed by the car’s owner Marcel Pagnol, author of Jean de Florette. In fact, the 601 was fitted with no fewer than 17 different types of body, not only by Peugeot but also by well known coachbuilders such as Chapron, Pourtout and Meulemeester. Of the 3,999 examples built between February 1934 and July 1935, only 511 were completed with some form of open coachwork, including 21 Eclipse models. Only some 30-or-so 601s are believed to exist today, making it one of the rarest Peugeots of the inter-war period.

This rare Peugeot 601 wears four-seater ‘Torpedo’ coachwork by the Meulemeester Brothers, originally from Alsace but based in Paris, leaving their Clichy works on 29th February 1936 bound for Saint-Affrique. There is a plaque fixed in the glove box indicating that the car’s first owner was Louis Aussel from Roquefort, a man who loved life, girls and motor cars.

Descriptions & pictures by bonhams & artcurial & coachbuild & .autoconcept-reviews

Production Start 1936
Country of origin France