404 Diesel International Records

Peugeot 404 Diesel at the 40 International Records

Two years after the launch of the 404 Diesel, a unique and exceptional version was designed by the Peugeot brand to highlight the endurance and performance of its Diesel engine. A goal that will be largely achieved for this Peugeot and its “special” 404 with 40 international records broken or established on the Linas-Montlhéry racetrack in June 1965.

The record attempts took place on the Linas-Montlhéry autodrome, during the days of June 4 and 5, then June 11, 12, 13 and 14, 1965.

5 pilots took turns every three hours during these events: MM. de Lageneste, du Genestoux, Besnardière, Gérard and Tchekemian.

The car

It is a highly modified “404 convertible” with a very sloping windscreen and a bubble hard-top. The passenger seat was covered with a welded sheet metal, transforming this vehicle into a single-seater. According to the regulations of the International Automobile Federation, this 404 is equipped with a set of tools and spare parts for possible repairs, bringing the weight of the vehicle to 1,135 kg, including the radio transceiver. The bumpers and wheel covers, superfluous accessories for this kind of event, were removed.


It is a 4-cylinder in-line Diesel Peugeot Indenor, type XD 88. Bore x Stroke: 88 x 80 mm, 1948 cm3. Volumetric ratio: 21/1. Maximum power 68 hp SAE at 4,500 rpm. Cylinder head in special light alloy with swirl chambers. Wet removable liners. Side camshaft in the cylinder block. Overhead valves overturned. 5 bearing crankshaft. Automatic disengageable fan. 4-speed synchronized gearbox and reverse gear.

The race

In addition to the five drivers, the team is made up of 25 mechanics (5 per driver/staff) and two Indenor engine specialists. They take turns day and night to ensure refueling and check that the car and its engine are working properly. Thanks to their dexterity and motivation, the average duration of each stop (27 in total) is reduced to 52 seconds!

The 404 goes on laps, glued to the track. Driver changes take place every 3 hours during the day and every 2 hours 15 minutes at night. The trickiest moment for the drivers is undoubtedly driving at night because they have to maintain the course and above all the average, alone on the track.

When the checkered flag lowers, the joy is evident within this enthusiastic team. The victory is complete!

Full story and source: Peugeot Presse document from 1965


The chef's snail!

Anecdote taken from the Peugeot Presse of October 1965: “Once launched, on a lap covered in 72 seconds, the car should turn in 56”3/10. This time does not correspond to the maximum speed of the vehicle and the The driver therefore had to ride with his feet slightly raised, a position that quickly became uncomfortable for the leg. Also, to both avoid muscle fatigue in the driver and allow perfect running regularity, the head of Peugeot tests, Mr. Lacroix , had developed the “Montlhéry snail”. This device is a metal element in the shape of a spiral – hence its name – serving as a stop for the accelerator pedal. Thanks to a lever placed under the steering wheel, this stop could be adjusted, depending on the strength and direction of the winds, the outside temperature and any other factor that could affect the engine speed.”

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