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From the Pugilist

My First Pug
I still wish I had it
Phillip Bromley

A few months ago, I was rummaging through a box of old slides and came across three slides of my old Peugeot 202—my very first car some 42 years ago.  The day after I left high school in 1959, I started work as an apprentice motor mechanic at Cecil R. Pierce, the North Shore Chrysler, Simca, Peugeot, Renault dealer.  There were two workshops, employing about 12 mechanics—one for Chysler, Dodge, etc. and the other for Peugeot, Renault, etc, called the continental workshop.

My Peugeot was a company car used by the service manager, Harold Pierce, and came on the market when the Peugeot 203 panel van replaced it.  This happened about the time I was to get my licence, which I went for in the panel van.  It seemed the right thing to do to purchase the Peugeot 202.  I very proudly drove this car—I should say thrashed—all over New South Wales for the next two years.

I always had my head under the bonnet, overhauling the engine.  This included building a set of extractors and a larger early manifold.  I had to overhaul the diff because of damage I caused at a motorkhana.  This little Peugeot used to fly.

The car club of those days was the Continental Car Club of Australia, which met at Top Ryde School of Arts.  The mechanics were encouraged to belong to get the basics of driving.  We had access to a property at Windsor where we had a sprint circuit and motorkhana area, which gave us a great opportunity to let off steam.

Two years on, I sold the Peugeot 202 and never saw it again.  My next Pug was a 203 owned by Ken Brigden, my workshop foreman at the time.  All of this was the start of a lifelong love of Peugeots, which may explain the four Pugs I have in my barn 42 years on.

202 Bromley Side View Click on picture for a larger image
The side view shows the streamlined profile, including a lion that Phillip mounted midbonnet.  Note the excellent window area, the suicide front door, the robri plate on the rear guard and the familiar three-stud Peugeot wheels.  Phillip added a few personal touches.  The streamlined look of headlights behind a beautiful waterfall grille meant nothing to Australian authorities and the lights of the little French cars had to be repositioned on brackets on the guards to indicate the width of the vehicle.  The lights would shake, so Phillip fitted driving lights on the bull-horn bumper for better night vision.
202 Bromley Front View Click on picture for a larger image
The Peugeot 202 was the last of the series of streamlined 1930s models with waterfall grilles that evoked the Chrysler Airflow.  But where potential buyers were suspicious of the Airflow, and bemoaned its lack of a rear lid for access to the boot, the more stylish Peugeots won fans everywhere.  The 202 was the only one continued into production after the Second World War and in car-starved Australia buyers who bought them (sometimes out of desperation) fell in love with their French cars once they woke up to the performance, the dustproofing and that almost unheard of feature, the heater.  Today only a handful of Peugeot 202s survive in scattered parts of Australia, most of them still undergoing restoration, and they are mainly sedans.  The cabriolet models appear to be lost along with the few prewar Peugeot 402s, but at least one utility is being put back together again.
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Last Updated Sunday, 23 December 2018