The French army has announced plans to retire its fleet of Peugeot P4s.
Based on the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the P4 was introduced in 1983 as a replacement for the Hotchkiss M201, which was little more than a WWII-era Jeep Willys built under license. G-Class bodies were shipped to Sochaux, France, where Peugeot installed a 79-horsepower 2.0-liter gasoline-burning engine borrowed from the 504 and a manual transmission sourced from the bigger 604. Peugeot also fitted a military-grade electrical system designed in-house, and it took care of rust-proofing the bodies.
The P4 was nearly identical to the G on which it was based but it featured square headlights, square turn signals located below the lights (as opposed to on top of the fenders like on early Gs), a heavy-duty front bumper and a Peugeot-specific grille.
Approximately 20,000 examples of the P4 were built until 1992 and many of them are still in service today. However, an overwhelming majority of the P4s built were purchased by the French army. A civilian version of it was briefly sold in France as well as in select African nations, but Mercedes didn’t allow Peugeot to sell the truck elsewhere in Europe.
The French army began to replace the P4 in 2009 when it purchased about 500 long-wheelbase Land Rover Defenders. However, the Defender is getting deep-sixed at the end of the year so the army recently ordered 1,000 Ford Rangers, and it is expected to place additional orders in the next few years.
What will happen to the P4s is up in the air at this point, but we’re betting they’ll gradually be sent to army surplus lots across France and sold to civilians. If you’re in the market for one, know that it’s difficult to find a gasoline-powered model because most P4s were retro-fitted with a 2.5-liter diesel (either with or without a turbo) in the early 1990s.