Peugeot has stayed in business for 200 years and its run of success is far from over. The French automaker has withstood the test of time. Upon reflection of the era of its founding, the Battle of Watereloo had not yet been fought and there were no locomotives connecting the East to the West with passenger service. It was a time before automobiles raced down the roads and there were no roads other than worn trails in the earth.
An era of new beginnings
It was during this period in time when Peugeot bought an old grain factory and converted it to the steel mill necessary to make the household items that they would produce and market. This soon evolved with a progression that included sewing machines, coffee grinders, the steel for hooped dresses, saw blades, and bicycles among other items. When Armand made the acquaintance of Gottlieb Daimler, he saw the future of the automobile and sensed that he would play a role in its development. Together, the two, along with designere Leon Serpollet made the first Peugeot automobile powered by steam and rolling on three wheels. After a road trip from Paris to Lyons, production of Daimler’s petrol vehicles ensued.
The beginning of a new age
In 1891 five examples of Peugeot’s Daimler designs were produced. This was followed with 29 additional vehicles the following year and by 1899, an additional 300 were made. The famed automaker Charles Royce himself was the owner of an early Peugeot. At the turn of the century, the vehicles sported pneumatic tires compliments of Michelin, rack and pinion steering and the former tiller steering was replaced with a steering wheel that was an early forerunner of the system that would modernize transportation.
Enter the racing era
Peugeot entered the racing scene in 1912 with the first racing cars powered by a double overhead cam and four cylinder engines. The new age of motorsports had begun. It would evolve into an age of automotive competition to build the fastest and highest performing racing automobiles to win the distinction of placing first in competition auto racing in Europe that would soon spread throughout the world.