UA-47906392-1

Peugeot

Dodge WC-51 Wrecker with Peugeot 404 Cab Conversion | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2016)

Dodge WC-51 Wrecker with Peugeot 404 Cabin Conversion

“We have had a very severe frost and deep snow this month.
My thermometer was one day fourteen degrees and a half
below the freezing point, within doors.”
Gilbert White

Flag FranceUtilizing surplus WWII machinery with canvas tops for towing wrecked cars in the winter at high altitudes with plenty of snow has certain disadvantages. The canvas covers freeze and eventually break when you move them. Scraping the ice of the plastic windows sratches them permanently and you never get warm and comfortable inside the vehicle, even with the heater on at full blast. To solve these problems and to make his live easier, Monsieur Negre could have bought new tow trucks. But hey! This would have been too easy. Men capable of creative thinking get pencil and paper out instead of the checkbook. Why should you throw away perfectly good vehicles just for the sake of being more comfortable?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a man who runs a garage and a towing business comes up with the idea of using car bodies for the task at hand. Form follows function, right? Unfortunately the results of this motto often look rather… hmm… questionable.

Fortunately this is not the case here. The man who built the Renault 4 bodied Willys MB Jeep featured here previously certainly has an eye for proportions and a set of great fabrication skills. It takes more than just welding a car body onto an existing chassis if you want to avoid driving around in what clearly looks like a botched job. Selecting the right base vehicle is the crucial first step. Monsieur Negre got both proportions and look right on the vehicles he designed and built. The Willys R4 looks like it could have been ordered like that from the factory.

Dodge WC-51 Wrecker with Peugeot 404 Cab Conversion | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2016)

The Dodge WC-52 Wrecker with the Peugeot 404 cabin certainly has a strong presence. Blending the narrow bonnet with the considerably wider cab takes artistic skills and the result reminds me of the Berliet GBH trucks. Stunning.

Dodge WC-51 Wrecker with Peugeot 404 Cab Conversion | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2016)

According to David Negre, son of the builder and now running the family business, the engine starts at the first crank with a new battery. We didn’t try it when shooting these pictures last week, but there is no obvious reason to doubt that claim.

Dodge WC-51 Wrecker with Peugeot 404 Cab Conversion | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2016)

The rather luxurious Peugeot door panels contrast nicely with the military-spec dashboard. This truly is a purpose-built machine with style.

Dodge WC-51 Wrecker with Peugeot 404 Cab Conversion | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2016)

The business end of the truck is original and features the same lovely patina than the other parts of the body. The winch apparently still works, but giving it some freash grease before trying sure wouldn’t hurt.

Dodge WC-51 Wrecker with Peugeot 404 Cab Conversion | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2016)

The license plate indicates that the vehicle has been registered 1963 or later.

Dodge WC-51 Wrecker with Peugeot 404 Cab Conversion | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2016)

I never noticed before, but removing the headlights from a Citroën 2CV instantly gives it a “cleaned” custom car look. This vehicle actually appeared in the background of the first story about the Willys Renault 4 conversion from 2010.

 

Station Service Saint Priest de Gimel France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009))

Lost Places | Station Service abandonné in St. Priest-de-Gimel

Flag FranceDriving past this abandoned service station in 2007 sparked a memory. A long time ago, when I was a young boy, we used to take the same route between Clermand-Ferrand and Bordeaux. If I remember correctly, this station was still in service back then and we might even have stopped there to fill up.

Station Service Saint Priest de Gimel France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2007)

The paint might be faded, the pumps gone and the light poles rusty – but it sure has kept this special character only old petrol stations have. I just love the old-school architecture. Does a functional building have to be boring or ugly? No, sir! Back then, they thought about details and didn’t just build as quick and cheap as possible like today. The design is similar to the Station du Haut-Limousin I featured not too long ago.

Station Service Saint Priest de Gimel France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2007)

The most prominent and accentuating feature of the building is the semicircular office area, which features fully glassed walls. Three matching semicircular steps lead to the central entrance door. Beauty is in the details, in my opinion. Did you note that the rectangular workshop area has symmetric windows left and right of the door? And even though it doesn’t look like in the pictures, the roof covering the pumps is symmetrical to the very same center line of the workshop door.

Station Service Saint Priest de Gimel France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2007)

The building next door looks like it was also home to a workshop once. For many years, the white Peugeot 204 Break was parked between the building, in front of the owners’ house.

Station Service Saint Priest de Gimel France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2007)

Every time I drove through St. Priest-de-Gimel and past the service station I dreamed about buying this awesome place (in the middle of nowhere) one day. All I could hope was that nobody would buy it until I could afford to purchase it.

Station Service Saint Priest de Gimel France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009))

Two years later in June 2009, roadworks necessitated the removal of the light poles and pump roof. Somehow it looks naked without the roof in front of it, doesn’t it? And hey, where did the trusty Peugeot end up? I looked into the windows, but couldn’t spot it inside.

Station Service Saint Priest de Gimel France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009))

The house also looked abandoned. The old man might have passed away. God bless him for holding onto the property long after closing for good. Shedding a little tear, I noticed the for sale signs in the windows of the office. Being a student at the time and having no money to spare made me sad.

Station Service Saint Priest de Gimel France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009))

Upon returning once again in September 2009, we found the road finished and the garage door partially open. The house was still boarded up and the for sale signs still in the windows. Albeit finished with my studies I still wasn’t in a position to buy the property – but dreaming about it still didn’t cost anything…

Station Service Saint Priest de Gimel France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009))

If you point your browser to google maps and search for St. Priest-de-Gimel you can still find this little gem. The google picture has a 2011 copyright and the workshop next door has been restored and converted. The good old times are gone forever on that side of the property. Let’s hope the little petrol station gets spared and sees a brighter future!

Peugeot 504 Pick-up Strasbourg France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Peugeot 504 Pick-up with more patina than rust

Flag FranceWhenever I take a road less traveled, there seems to be something interesting hiding behind a tree just around the corner. En route to the Parc de l’Orangerie in Strasbourg with my girlfriend, we found a somewhat sad looking Peugeot 504 Pick-up.

Peugeot 504 Pick-up Strasbourg France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Mind you, this is not somewhere in a rural area, but only a Kilometer or so from the European Parliament.

Peugeot 504 Pick-up Strasbourg France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

The warm afternoon light painted a nice shine on the neglected body and made it seem like it was parked only weeks ago.

Peugeot 504 Pick-up Strasbourg France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Upon closer inspection, sitting there abandoned for months seemed more realistic. But nonetheless, the condition it was in suggested that it could still be saved by a caring soul.

Peugeot 504 Pick-up Strasbourg France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

With more patina than structural rust or other damage and in what seemed to be original paint, this isn’t unfeasible at all.

Peugeot 504 Pick-up Strasbourg France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

The paper note stuck to the windscreen wiper proves that I wasn’t the first to have the idea. Oh well… I sure hope it will find a new home soon.

Peugeot 504 Pick-up Strasbourg France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Whoever is going to rescue this little workhorse – please save the little details that make these utility vehicles so authentic! Good luck!

Peugeot 504 Pick-up Strasbourg France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

 

Peugeot 504 Break US-spec | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2013)

Peugeot 504 Break | Early morning surprise

Flag FranceIf you are a frequent reader of this blog, you might remember seeing a glimpse or two of this Peugeot 504 Break in the post about the Winnebago LeSharo. Even the EU-spec vehicles are kind of hard to find in good condition these days, because many of them have been exported to northern African countries years ago, to be used (and abused) as taxi cabs. Finding this US-spec model on an early morning was a nice and unexpected surprise. No visible rust on this extremely rare car, but very lovely patina. If cars could talk, this one would definitely be able to tell some interesting stories about the adventures of a long life on at least two different continents…

Read More»
Peugeot 504 Golden Brown | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2012)

Sleeping Beauties | Golden Brown

Frequent readers know that most posts here at Drive-by Snapshots feature multiple pictures of a certain subject, most often accompanied by a little story. However, my archives are brimming with those lonely single pictures. Until recently I wasn’t really sure how to post them without boring you. A post containing one picture just isn’t really going to cut it. Last week, a good friend of mine had a great idea and suggested that I could group them for posts. While digging through the archives, I actually found many pictures that have something in common: a matching background, color or theme. Today, Drive-by Snapshots presents: three sleeping beauties – golden brown.

Read More»