What kind of car did Columbo drive

Colombo is an American drama TV show about an excentric LAPD homicide detective named Columbo. This TV show is highly praised for practically inventing the inverted detective story in which a perpetrator is shown committing a crime early in the episode, and the rest of the episode revolves around Colombo figuring that out.

Colombo is a hardworking, dedicated blue-collar homicide detective known for its shrewd methods and a couple of unmistakable Colombo trademarks such as the ’’just one more thing’’ catchphrase, unpredictable and unassuming behavior, and a cigar.

However, it seems like the beige coat and the equal neo-noir Peugoeut 403 are the trademarks we are mostly interested in. The legendary catchphrase is most likely the defining Colombo trademark, but the Peugeot 403 is certainly the most interesting one.

The Peugeot 403 was the first Peugeot model in history to exceed the ’’one million units sold’’ mark. The production of the 403 started in May 1955 and it lasted until October 1966. During this time, the 403 was offered either as a sedan, a convertible, estate, or even a pickup.

Why did Colombo drive the Peugeot 403?

Colombo was not your average TV detective, he was different. He didn’t indulge in fancy and expensive suits, cars, or watches. He was not a God among men, he was just a human, a human with an incredibly deductive brain and a fairly worn-out fedora.

As such, Colombo did not cruise around in a red Ferrari or a beefed-up Pontiac, nor did he enjoy being the center stage. He was incredibly unassuming and sometimes he has even been mistaken for a culprit himself. No matter what, he always managed to find the right culprit, and he was always sure about it.

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The Peugeot 403 fits Colombo like a glove. Rumor has it that the actor who portrayed Colombo (Peter Falk) chose the 403 personally after he saw it in the studio car park. If you take a closer look at the beige coat and worn fedora, the Peugeot 403 seems to be a perfect match for Colombo.

Colombo was a strange-looking detective wearing strange-looking clothes while driving a strange-looking car, and that was the point.  As such, stylistically, the Peugeot 403 is spot on. Recreating someone like Colombo or the Peugeot 403 is almost impossible, and hopefully, no one will try to do so.

Peugoet 403 – The strangemobile

Even though the Peugeot 403 looked great as a police detective car, it did not perform like one. For a spot of context, the 403 boasted a top speed of only around 80MPH or thereabouts. The 0-60mph was downright depressing at more than 20 seconds. Nowadays, these performance figures are even worse.

An even greater oddity is the fact that an American drove a Peugeot as Peugeot was not a brand commonly associated with the US at the time because French cars were made for French people. As such, they were compact and fuel-efficient, and that was rather inferior when compared to a huge 1960s V8 car.

The 403 was designed by no other than Pininfarina, a design company responsible for designing some of the most beautiful cars ever to be grace the earth. Pininfarina was mostly famous due to decade long Ferrari partnership which came to an end a few years back.

The 403 used a 1290cc straight 4-cylinder engine capable of 65hp and 75 lb-ft of torque. Such power figures were disconsolating then, and they still are now. This monstrous engine was mated to a 4-speed manual synchromesh transmission driving the rear wheels.

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Famous cars in TV shows and movies – what it means for the car?

A strong brand image is something almost every brand out there wishes to achieve. Back in 1969, a chap called Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the moon wearing a fairly unassuming Omega chronometer timepiece. Ever since then, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch has become one of the most iconic timepieces of all time thanks to Buzz Aldrin.

In the same way the Speedmaster has shaped the Omega watch brand, the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 has shaped the legacy of Aston Martin. People love history and amazing stories, and these are the ones that can carry a significant portion of brand value and customer reception.

For a spot of context, a Jaguar XKSS is one of the most iconic car collecting cars in existence thanks to none other than Steve McQueen. It is believed that the current value of Steve McQueen’s XKSS is around 25$ million, and this means that every other similar Jaguar car costs a ton of money.

Cars, watches, clothing brands, motorcycles, sunglasses, or any other consumer or stylistic items are worth a lot more money if they are featured in popular TV shows or movies. People love stories and legacies because they are full of emotions, and emotions sell profitably, and they also do wonders for a brand.

 FAQ Section

Is the Peugeot 403 a good car?

Answering this question as a Colombo fan is rather one-sided and biased, thankfully I’ve never watched Colombo. The Peugeot 403 is for all intents and purposes a bad car. It is slow, weak, unpractical and a pain to maintain.

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However, Colombo drove it, and this makes the usability and sophistication of the 403 irrelevant.

What is the most famous movie car of all time?

The most famous movie car of all time is undoubtedly the Batmobile, followed closely by the Aston Martin DB-5. The difference between the batmobile and every other movie car out there is that the Batmobile is not exactly a true road-legal car.

As such, the Batmobile can’t be bought in the same way a DB5 can. This means that the value of the DB5 is heavily associated with the James Bond franchise, and the entire value of Aston Martin by itself is also partially due to the James Bond connection.


What is the greatest Peugeot model of all time?

Peugeot is not a brand usually associated with greatness, but there are a couple of models that have made a significant impact, and the Peugeot 403 is certainly one of them. The 1968-1983 Peugeot 504 is likely the greatest Peugeot model of all time thanks to a lovely engine and great drivability.

Other honorable mentions go to the 1993 Peugeot 306, 2005 Peugeot 407 2.7 Coupe,  and the 1979 Peugeot 505.

Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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