Apr 09 - Jun 09  : Peugeot to Celebrate 75th Anniversary of Coupe Cabriolets

24 06 2009Peugeot to Celebrate 75th Anniversary of Coupe Cabriolets

Peugeot Coupe Cabriolet History

The Peugeot 401 Eclipse (1934) and the new Peugeot 308 CC

Peugeot will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its invention of the retractable steel roof when it launches the new 308 CC next month.

The 308 CC was first unveiled in Australia at Sydney’s Australian International Motor Show last year, and was the star of Peugeot’s stand at the Melbourne International Motor Show earlier this year.

The 308 CC replaces the highly successful 307 CC which, along with the 206 CC, brought folding hardtop technology to the masses early this decade.

This year marks 75 years since Peugeot introduced the 401 Eclipse – the world’s first electrically retractable steel roof.

The Eclipse was manufactured in collaboration with the designer Paulin, Peugeot concessionaire Darl’Mat, and coachbuilder Pourtout, and remains one of the most iconic vehicles of its time.

Only 79 of the revolutionary 401 Eclipse were built, before the same technology went on to be applied to the 301, 402 and 601 models.

The dramatic lines and contours of the 401 Eclipse stamp it as a momentous achievement in coachbuilding, and a vehicle with true presence – even in pictures.

The striking flanks and shape of the new 308 CC equally convey a sense of occasion.

The new car improves on the 307 CC in every way. It features more cabin and boot space, a more luxurious interior, and a wider range of engine and transmission choices.

For the first time, Peugeot will offer Australians its renowned HDi FAP technology in a convertible, coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission – as well as Peugeot’s award-winning 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine.

Peugeot’s latest CC will also introduce a number of innovative features that will ensure more people have access to a truly luxurious coupé cabriolet.

These features include Peugeot’s world-first side head airbags which deploy to cushion the occupant’s head in the event of a collision. The innovation is one of a raft of safety features that comprise a five-star EuroNCap rating.

The Airwave neck heating system emits warm air around the occupant’s neck and shoulders, making open top motoring an option even on the coldest days.

Peugeot Automobiles Australia’s General Manger/ Director, Ken Thomas, believes that there are a number of parallels between the original 401 Eclipse and the 308 CC.

“The technology has come a long way in 75 years; to the point where this version opens or closes in 20 seconds,” he said.

“While the Eclipse’s distinctly art deco appearance marks it as a classic design of its time, the sculpted lines of the 308 CC mark it as a masterpiece of today.

“The innovation behind Peugeot introducing an electric retractable steel roof in 1934 can be traced through to Peugeot introducing the world’s first side head airbag in the 308 CC in 2009.

“Over 10 per cent of Peugeot sales in Australia are coupé cabriolets – proving that the concept invented by Peugeot 75 years ago continues to grow in popularity today.”

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