Mar
17
1958 Dyna Panhard Ad

1958 Panhard Ad

Our culture is ripe with inappropriately used adjectives. Marketers toss the word “turbo” around with reckless abandon, even though most applications of the Latin root have little to do with air, much less forcing air into an internal combustion engine.

Likewise, the word French gets quite a workout as a prefix and modifier, and is often used to describe things that have little or nothing to do with France.

Among the things incorrectly labeled French are fries, cuffs, curls, curves, and that God-awful orange salad dressing. This young lady has a few things to say about stuff wrongly ascribed as being somehow French:

 

French cars are another story, however. Sure, as products of French companies, French cars are obviously and actually French. That said, French cars are also very French in terms of style, character, and, historically, reliability.

In Consumer Guide’s Auto ’77 magazine, our editors called Peugeot “The French Mercedes,” which was high praise coming from CG at the time. In context, the compliment was a reference to road manners and cabin fit and finish, and not to reliability.

Sadly, this author has spent precious little time behind the wheel of French cars, other than test driving a Renault Alliance back in the day and piloting the occasional Peugeot around the service station I worked at back in the Eighties.

Friends and journalists who have more seat time in French rides than I do share tales of quirky control layouts, nicely appointed cabins, and extraordinary ride comfort—especially in Peugeots.

French automakers never spent much effort tailoring their products to the U.S. market, so their share of the sales here were always trivial. And as regulatory compliance became more difficult, French companies simply backed away from our shores, leaving Americans with more mainstream (if less entertaining) vehicles to choose from.

Collected here are ten classic French car ads—all for vehicles sold here in the U.S. As always, if you recall spending time in any of the depicted rides, we ask that you tell us about it. We’d love to hear your French-car story.

More classic car ads

 

Citroën

1960 Citroen Ad

1959 Citroën ID19 Ad

 

Citroën

1960 Citroen ID19 Ad

1959 Citroën ID19 Ad

 

Panhard

1958 Panhard Ad

1958 Dyna Panhard Ad

 

Peugeot

1969 Peugeot Ad

1969 Peugeot 304 Ad

 

Peugeot

1986 Peugeot Ad

1986 Peugeot 505 Turbo Wagon Ad

 

Peugeot

1988 Peugeot Ad

1988 Peugeot 405 Ad

 

Renault

1949 Renault Ad

1949 Renault Ad

Long-Term Let Down: One Year With A 1986 Renault Encore GS

 

Renault

1960 Renault Dauphine Ad

1960 Renault Dauphine Ad

 

Renault

1981 Renault Le Car Ad

1981 Renault Le Car Ad

 

Renault

1982 Renault 18i Ad

1982 Renault 18i Ad

 

Simca

1960 Simca Ad

1960 Simca Ad

 

Simca

1967 Simca Ad

1967 Simca Ad

Cheap Wheels: 1963-68 Simca 1000 Sedan

Vehicle Makes

Classic Cars

Collectible Automobile Magazine

Popular Posts & Pages

Recent Posts

Shopping for a new or used car or truck?

Check out all of our reviews here.