As the 1970s rolled around, automakers in Europe started to create special editions of their cars in order to increase sales. A lot of the time these editions involved packing an existing car with extra equipment that wasn’t usually offered, and selling it for a little more than the model it was based on.
Peugeot was a late comer to the special edition trend. It launched its first one in 1978 in order to celebrate the 15th anniversary of its Mulhouse, France, production facility. Mulhouse was primarily designed to build mechanical components, but it started assembling the 104 when it was launched in 1972. The successful 104 wasn’t built elsewhere in the world, so it seemed fitting to use it a starting point for the special edition.
To pay homage to the Mulhouse facility, Peugeot’s top brass decided to call the car the 104 Sundgau, a name borrowed from the geographical region that Mulhouse is located in.
Peugeot engineers started with a five-door 104 GL6 and fitted it with a 1,124cc four-cylinder engine that came out of the ZS coupe. Thanks in part to a double-barrel carburetor, the mill was rated at 66 horsepower and 61 lb-ft of torque. That was enough to propel the Sundgau from zero to 62 miles per hour in 12.8 seconds, and to a top speed of 96 miles per hour. Power was sent to the front wheels via a four-speed manual transmission.
A similar upscale treatment was given to the rest of the car, starting with front seats that reclined and that were topped off with headrests, a real luxury in an economy car at the time. The entire interior was upholstered in a specific orange and black fabric, and a three-spoke steering wheel added a sporty touch.
From the beginning of the Sundgau’s development, Peugeot planned on selling it at a premium over a standard 104 GL6. To help justify the higher price, the Sundgau came standard with a heated rear window, a rear wiper, H4 headlights, and a tachometer mounted in the center of the dash.
On the outside, the Sundgau was given a metallic silver paint job that was complemented with black decorative bands on both sides. Each car’s serial number was proudly displayed on the right fender, and a “Sundgau” sticker was fitted on the trunk lid. Finally, the car came standard with a set of light alloy three-lug wheels manufactured by Dunlop.
The 104 Sundgau went on sale in May of 1978, and only 1,200 examples were built. It carried a base price of 26,500 francs, and it was only sold in France. By comparison, a standard 104 GL6 retailed for 24,800 francs that same year.
In spite of the price increase, the car sold out almost immediately, which convinced Peugeot to further dabble in special editions. The 104 S which was launched in October of 1978 was very similar to the Sundgau, but that’s a different story for a different time.
All photos kindly provided by Peugeot’s archives department.