However, when it comes to the 504 Break Riviera – the handsome three-door sports wagon first seen on the Pininfarina stand at the Paris Salon in 1971 – hard facts are a little thinner on the ground.
The original show car was based on a 1.8-litre Coupé, but the donor for this beautifully finished recreation was a 2-litre Cabriolet
The styling house is emphatic that it only built one example, at its own cost, in an attempt to interest Peugeot management in a Scimitar GTE-style ‘sports estate’ variation on the 504 Coupé theme.
Some suggest that three were built; others that there was one working example and a mock-up.
Nobody seems to know for sure where any of them are, though – one account even says that Peugeot has the one-and-only example stashed away in its museum, but I can find no evidence of this.
Exquisite details of this revived Peugeot shooting brake include a walnut-covered load bay
A recurring theme throughout this mystery is the idea that the one-off – if it is a one-off – is hiding in a private collection in Spain, still in good condition.
This is a reasonably credible notion because the Riviera’s last-known public sighting was at the Barcelona motor show in May 1972.
In those days, General Franco had decreed that manufacturers had to bring at least five cars to display, and for some that meant bringing prototypes with export licences.
The metallic paint and silver-finished sills only enhance the lines of this classic Peugeot’s svelte bodywork
When the show finished, rather than ship them back home it made sense to do a deal locally – which is why the history of quite a few unique exotics gets a little sketchy if their story includes ‘displayed at the Barcelona motor show’.
You have to wonder if the Italian coachbuilders saw the Spanish event as a good route for flogging off prototypes that were no longer needed.
The fact that the body colour of the Break Riviera appeared to change from light blue to dark grey between its Paris and Barcelona outings further muddies the waters.
This reimagined classic Peugeot shooting brake has cream-leather trim throughout