1941 electric VLV part of Peugeot Rétromobile sextet

Peugeot is celebrating its history at Rétromobile with six cars of significance, including its first electric vehicle

Paris will host Rétromobile next month, with a little help from Peugeot. The 44th edition of this French classic takes place in the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre on February 6-10, and of the various automakers that will be present, Peugeot is bringing a classic themed display to show.

The French company, founded in 1810, will present five classic vehicles for enthusiasts to view, plus the marque’s new e-LEGEND Concept to Stand F029 in Hall 1.

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Fitted with its own artificial intelligence, the e-LEGEND Concept is an electric self-driving vehicle, first shown at last year’s Paris Motor Show and styled upon the mid-1970s Pininfarina-designed Peugeot 504 . AI has never looked so retro!

Peugeot has always been ahead of the curve on electric automation, with its VLV (“Véhicule Léger de Ville”, or light city car) setting a benchmark for all-electric superminis of its day when revealed in May 1941.

Peugeot’s first electric model was powered by four 12-volt batteries, with a range of 46 miles and a 22mph top speed. Not huge, but it’s hard to think of the lack of range on electric Peugeots being anyone’s chief priority during the Nazi occupation of France. Peugeot seemed to think otherwise though, and with every new internal combustion model tried to also offer an electric option.

Even older than the VLV is the 201 Torpédo, which turns 90 this year. It is the first of the Peugeots using the “2xx” name, and will be making a welcome return to Paris, having made its debut at the city’s motor show back in 1929. 

Nearly 143,000 of them were made over a nine year period, with several probably still on Paris’s roads today. Another car celebrating an anniversary on the display is the 304, which will be hitting its half-century, with the model present being the oldest known example in roadworthy condition.

Joining them is a mid-’70’s Pininfarina-designed Peugeot 604, a 204 Coupé from 1967 presented in a racing livery, and Aventure Automobile’s 1983 Talbot Tagora SX, which contains the 2.6-litre V6 PRV engine, which will have its own celebration at Rétromobile.

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