Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2
When it was introduced, the Peugeot 104 was the smallest of the then current range, sizing up at only eleven-foot-long - but despite its size (or perhaps because of it) many believed it was one of the better Peugeots for those that liked driving, and the best of the 104 range was the ZS.
The 104's very short wheelbase, ultra-compact dimensions and pert looks combined with a good power-to-weight ratio and Peugeot's expertise in front wheel drive
engineering to make the ZS just about the ultimate city car; spirited acceleration and sharp steering, gave it an almost indecent advantage over less wieldy traffic.
Where the diminutive Peugeot really scored was on the open road. Whereas many cars designed to ease the pain of city driving gave a rather anaemic performance when more sustained demands were asked of them, the ZS lost none of its potency out of town. Indeed, cross country the ZS became a hard car to stay with so magnificently sure footed was its progress at speed.
The steering had tremendous feel and was not over-light in the way that the contemporary Ford's Fiesta's was (making the car feel nervous and over-sensitive). Weather conditions mattered not, in fact the worse the better! The skinny tyres
may not have looked terribly aggressive - particularly by todays standards - but they managed to cut through the water and grip the road.
The Peugeot's transverse slant four engine was a little gem. From just 1124cc it developed 66 horsepower at 6200 rpm. Smooth and flexible, it spun to 7000 rpm without protest and beyond but, as the action stopped at around 6500 rpm, such engine speeds were a waste of time and petrol.
So, in or out of the city, the ZS was a driver's car, but was it a practical one? It very much depended on whether or not you needed a serious four-seater hatchback with commensurate luggage capacity. The ZS had two comfortable front seats but those in the rear were strictly for kids or a moderately sized adult for a short journey, and even when folded down it only made for a load area of modest dimensions. If that was all you needed then the ZS would not disappoint.
We have spoken with a few previous owners, and they all tell the same story. The ZS was relatiely cheap, but it was also a very comfortable car in which to travel long distances; its ride was superb considering its short wheelbase and its directional stability arrow-like even in quite strong side winds.
There was a facelift in 1980 for the entire 104 range, although it was minor, with model designations changing in line with other vehicles in the Peugeot line-up. However, a 1.2L engine was now offered. Yet another facelift followed in 1982, introducing smaller headlights, a new grille and rear light clusters that included reversing lights. The amount of chrome trim was reduced and generally replaced by black plastic. The ZS was given an 80 bhp 1.4 litre engine to improve its performance. In 1983, the number of models offered was reduced to make way for the new 205 and exports to most foreign markets finished. It remained on sale in France until the end of production in 1988.
Peugeot 104ZS Quick Specificartions:
Front-mounted (transversely), water-cooled straight four, tilted 72" rearwards. 72 mm (2.83 in) bore x 69 mm (2.72 in) stroke = 1124cc (68.6 cu in). Maximum power (DIN) 66 bhp at 6200 rpm; maximum torque (DIN) 62 Ib ft at 4000 rpm; light-alloy cylinder block and head. Compression ratio 9.2:1. 5 main bearings. 2 valves
per cylinder operated via rockers, by a single overhead camshaft. 1 Solex 32 PBISA7 down-drauqht twin barrel carburettor.
Single-dry-plate clutch and four-speed manual gearbox. Ratios 1 st 3.883, 2nd 2.296, 3rd 1.504, 4th 1.042, rev 3.568, spiral-bevel final drive, ratio 3.9:1.
Front - independent by MacPherson struts, lower wishbones and an anti-roll bar
. Rear-independent by wishbones, coil springs, - anti-roll bar
and telescopic dampers.
Rack and pinion. Turns from lock to lock 3.43.
Front discs, rear drums.
4.5 in x 13. Tyres 145SRx13 in.
3 door, 4 seats. Integral.
Dimensions and weight:
Wheelbase 87.8 in; track-front 50.79 in, rear-48.82 in; length 128.9 in; width 59.8 in; height 5.2.7 in; ground clearance 4.7 in; dry weight 1720 Ib; turning circle 30.8 ft; fuel tank capacity 8.8 gal.
Maximum speed 94 mph; 35 mpg