At the beginning of the 2000s, the automotive world was struck by a new fashion inaugurated a few years earlier by the Mercedes SLK, namely cars with coupé-cabriolet bodywork. These were folding metal roof models which for a few years supplanted the traditional fabric roof convertibles.
Among the first models to “remotely” follow Mercedes’ example is the Peugeot 206 CC, which, as the press release for its presentation indicates, is offered as “the first coupé-cabriolet not only aimed at the luxury car market”.
64 years after the Eclipse
For Peugeot, however, it was not a first: by presenting it at the 1998 Geneva Motor Show, in the form of the “20Coeur” concept car, the Maison du Lion had evoked an illustrious ancestor, more than 60 years earlier. We are talking about the 402 Eclipse, born in 1934 and featuring a one-piece roof that could be accommodated in the imposing tail.
The final 206 CC was introduced to the market in 2000 with no particular change from the prototype.
Built on the basis of the Peugeot 206, the 206 CC uses its wheelbase, track, front axle and mechanical components. The differences lay in its voluminous rear part, which housed the roof made by Hulieuz, which required considerable space, so much so that the two rear seats, although the car was longer by more than 15 cm than the other 206s, were very sacrificed and in practice almost unusable.
28 seconds total
The opening and closing of the retractable metal roof was entrusted to a system composed of two arms which moved two mobile and integral panels (the upper roof and the rear window) thanks to two electro-hydraulic cylinders, while another device opened the rear part outwards.
This is done by means of a button that triggers the procedure for changing from coupe to convertible configuration and vice versa. The total time to open or close the roof was 28 seconds.
Initially available with the 1.6 110 hp and 2.0 136 hp engines, the 2003 restyling of the Peugeot 206 CC also introduced a turbodiesel, the 1.6 109 hp HDi, making it one of the first coupé-cabriolets to be equipped with a diesel engine.
After more than seven years of good sales, despite some faults (besides the limited space in the passenger compartment, there was the imperfect sealing of the joints which, at least at the beginning of production, highlighted some problems of infiltration water) and without substantial modification (apart from the removal of the 2.0 engine from the list), the career of the Peugeot 206 CC ended in March 2007, a few months before the release of its replacement: the new 207 CC.
As a result, Peugeot is one of the rare manufacturers to be able to boast of two consecutive generations of coupé-cabriolets in this segment, as well as in the compact segment, with the 307 CC and 308 CC; a feat that many other manufacturers failed to achieve, limiting themselves to a single series hastily dropped from the list when, over the last decade, this type of car began its rapid decline.