Peugeot P4 (1981): the curious history of the Mercedes G-Class that spoke French

At the end of the years 70, the French army desperately needed a replacement for its dilapidated Hotchkiss-Willys. These light-duty vehicles multi-purpose fell to pieces, to the point that Citroën had to sell their Mehari for military use as emergency solution. At the beginning of the 80s, Peugeot won the tender to provide more than 10,000 off-road light to the army. His proposal was called Peugeot P4, and it was surprisingly similar to the Mercedes Class G. This is its curious history.

The French army desperately needed a replacement for its Hotchkiss-Willys and their flimsy Citroën Mehari military.

Any bid for a public agency as important as an army, you must have at least 50% of national components for approval – a rule especially important if we speak about France. Peugeot knew that she could not present by itself a project 100% viable. Therefore, the project P4 was carried out by a curious alliance for transnational, whose equation had components German and austrian. At this time, we have to make a review to the Mercedes G Class, are introduced to the market in the late 70’s.

was Born in the same way that the Peugeot P4, a military project. Logged in to the desires of the Shah of Iran – then a major shareholder in Mercedes and run by Daimler, Steyr and Puch, it was a suv that is noted for its excellent off-road capabilities, size, content and reliability. Mercedes amortized the development costs of the Geländewagen to produce a civil version – which is still for sale as a Mercedes s Class G. Although it is a car targeting extremely sumptuous, still retains its skills 4×4.

At least 50% of the value added of the Peugeot P4 was supposed to be of French origin. Engine, gearbox and other components were French.

The Peugeot P4 was essentially a Mercedes G-Class. Peugeot acquired a Steyr-Daimler-Puch the chassis and bodywork, unpainted and without the rest of the components that make up a complete car assemblies. Mercedes was supplied to Peugeot the steering system, axles and gearbox. Peugeot was in charge then of riding in France, its engine, its gearbox main. Outwardly, only the emblem of Peugeot is installed on your front – and not in all versions – made it clear that it was not a Class Mercedes G.

peugeot-p4-dm-2Your manual gearbox of four relations was extracted from a Peugeot 604, and its engine was the well-known XN8 of gasoline. A four-cylinder two-liter with just 84 HP, which was installed also in the range of passenger cars Peugeot, specifically in the 504 and 505. Also, the French army commissioned the supply of some Peugeot P4 equipped with diesel engines. This engine was again a four-cylinder, 2.5-litre aspirated, with a power of only 75 HP and a maximum speed limited to 108 km/h.

At 5 years, all of the P4 of gasoline were converted to the use of diesel fuel, less complicated in terms of logistics.

Were machines light, with a curb weight of 1.895 kilos, and retained virtually all of the enviable qualities off-road Mercedes Class G. The only comparative injury was his the absence of a differential lock in the front axle – and it really did not affect his motor skills off-road in excess. All the Peugeot P4 were manufactured with body pick-up, with doors and rear deck canvas. These pick-up had two front seats and two benches run on your back.

peugeot-p4-dm-1Were manufactured in versions of the short battle and long wheelbase – 2400 mm and 2800 mm respectively. We also manufactured versions of the panel van, and a few armoured units to senior posts in the French army. These Peugeot P4 ended up being used also by the armed forces of some French speaking african countries, former French colonies such as Mali or Senegal. At the end of its production, the Peugeot P4 kitted out in their most engines XD3 turbo of the Peugeot 505, with 95 CV of power.

like the Mercedes G-Class, the Peugeot P4 were sold also to the civilian population. To deter the general public, it raised its price: in 1987 a P4 pick-up diesel was selling for 187.000 swiss, a price 50% higher than that of a Land Rover Defender 90 of the time. It is estimated that production was about to 13,500 units, of which 6,000 of them were produced entirely by Panhard from the years 1986 – Panhard was the military division of the PSA Group. Were discontinued in the mid-90s.


The curious case of the Peugeot P4 V6

The Peugeot P4 V6 ran the Dakar three times, and accompanied Vatanen and Kankkunen two other times.

Just a handful of units with engine 2.8 V6 were built by Peugeot. The project began thanks to the initiative of the ASA 1000, an association of military participants in motorsport. They convinced the high command of pto participate in the Paris-Dakar with a P4 especially prepared, thanks to a motor of 170 CV used in the Peugeot high-end. In 1985, two units began the Dakar, and although not finished, the second Peugeot P4 ended up in position 27 of the general.

peugeot-p4-dm-5For the next edition, mounted a more powerful motor, with 10 HP extra and a gear train revised. In 1987 and 1988, the Peugeot P4 was the assistance cars of the Peugeot 205 T16 of Vatanen and Kankkunen. The Peugeot P4 V6 they returned to the african desert three more times, always in the hands of the press department of the French brand, and always acting as support vehicles for special events: testing in the desert of the Peugeot range, or even a presentation of the odd Peugeot Partner Grand Raid.

Source: Forum Mercedes G | Galeon