What Do You Know About Peugoet?

By: Paul Robin

Peugeot is the second largest auto manufacturer in Europe behind Volkswagen. The company Peugeot has been in business since the 1700's and originally began its entry into wheels by making bicycles, but the Peugeot cars have been built since 1889. Would you believe that the first Peugeot automobile was a three wheeled steam powered invention? Only four of these Peugeot vehicles were produced, as one year later, Peugeot went to a petroleum fueled engine. Aside from having a petroleum based fuel engine, Peugeot also incorporated a three-point suspension and a sliding-gear transmission. This put Peugeot ahead of many counterparts with their technology.

The system that Peugeot used to label their cars was the use of "Type" and a number. The 1895 Peugeot model was the Type 12, which was the first car to use a solid rubber tire. The first Peugeot cars relied on Daimler or Mercedes to manufacture their engines. In 1896, Peugeot built their first engines, which kicked out 8 horsepower. Later models of Peugeot gave way to other innovations such as a front mounted engine which was hidden under a bonnet. Other Peugeot models had the engine hidden underneath the steering wheel.

In 1896, Armand Peugeot formed his own company in Audincourt to focus on his cars. In 1899, sales hit 300 and the total sales in France were 1200 cars. Peugeot has been long characteristic of their sporty styling and this dates all the way back to 1901 when Peugeot debuted a one-cylinder, 40 cubic engine which kicked out 5 horsepower.

It was as early as 1903 that Peugeot began manufacturing motorcycles but their main focus remained in cars. The main competition for Peugeot at this point in time was Mercedes. It was not until 1907 that Peugeot debuted their first six-cylinder engine with the maximum displacement of 6 liters. The year 1912 paired a famous European name with Peugeot as, Ettore Bugatti designed the new four cylinder Bebe. This same year marked the return to racing for Peugeot.

Peugeot was once again at the forefront of many innovations in the driving and racing world with the year 1913 debuting a 345 cubic inch engine with a ball bearing crankshaft, gear-driven camshafts and dry sump lubrication. These innovations later became the standard on all racing cars. In 1915, their reengineered racing car broke 100 miles per hour at Indianapolis, but failed to qualify for the race. The next year, Peugeot won the French Grand Prix. The early racing years were shaky for Peugeot, but they began to get their technology and innovation together to produce consistent results. Not long after Peugeot entered back into the fast paced innovation of manufacturing innovative and race-styled cars, the first World War broke out. This caused a mass cease in production of Peugeot vehicles, with most of their manufacturing effort being devoted to arms production. It was not until after WWI that Peugeot refocused their efforts on car production. During the war, Peugeot even produced military tanks, bicycles and even shells for the war effort. The Peugeot tanks were not as stylish as their cars, but were solid vehicles.

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