Hey LaLD! Long time no see! I always wanted to post on the DriveTribe page when Kinja went down but school and other priorities have kept me away. When LaLD came here after DT died, I realized I still have a backlog of at least several weeks’ worth of French Friday content that needs to be posted! I don’t know if Jobjoris is still around here; he was always the biggest proponent of French Friday, but let’s see what I can do in his absence.
This week I’ve got a pair of B-segment cabrios from PSA from the early to mid noughties, the Citroen C3 Pluriel and the Peugeot 207 CC. They’re both a bit controversial, aren’t they? The Citroen was (in)famous for its insanely impractical roof rail system which promised full ‘roadster’ capabilities but in reality was very much an either or, as in either it’s a coupe or it’s a roadster.
The 207 makes no such compromises with its all-metal folding hardtop yet comes from what is regarded as perhaps the darkest period in Peugeot’s history (the -07 age). Together they represent somewhat of a malaise era for PSA, though Citroen did manage two final hydropneumatic monsters before (skimpy, boring) Peugeot cut the cash.
More than that, though, these represent the end of an era for compact cabrios. I remember once making a post on Kinja LaLD about the Matchbox castings for the Escort Mk3 cabriolet (by Karmann) and the BMW 3er cabriolet (by Baur) and remarking how those entry-level luxe showboats have all but been replaced by the coupe SUVs of their class, i.e. the Ford Puma and BMW X4 in regards to people shopping for something ‘with a bit of style’.
These two here would have been replaced by the Citroen C3 Aircross and Peugeot 2008 as such, both city cars with SUV wannabe looks and features.
I do wonder if the CUV boom is so bad and unprecedented or if it’s just been a long time coming. These two here are massively impractical, the Citroen for aforementioned reasons and the Peugeot because it has no trunk, being a hardtop cabrio.
So basically if you own either of these it probably shouldn’t be your only car, at least from an American perspective. Maybe this works better if you live in England and take the train to work five days a week, but I just can’t imagine Costco runs or having more than one friend would be much fun in either of these two.
What, then, of buying them as status symbols? The Pluriel was always weird to me in terms of appeal. Who was it meant for? Younger women are an obvious target for this type of vehicle, but I doubt any of them chose the gawky, difficult-to-use Citroen over the flashy, cheeky Pug.
I’m sure these two wouldn’t have found many male clientele either with their emasculating image, though European tastes may be a bit less gendered in that regard. Still, obviously no enthusiast would ever buy these two with their heavy roofs, lack of stiffness, and lowly diesels when you could get a C2 VTS or a 207 GTi for much the same coin.
Old people might like these, but they aren’t so easy to get in and out of, you know, and anyone with a family would be completely out of the picture. So I guess the 207 CC can be said for a younger female audience, while the Pluriel is relegated to gay French farmers who think it’s the successor to the 2CV.
In terms of the models themselves, these are both 3 inch Norev examples from the era when these cars were made. Norev’s 3 inch scale has been a bit all over the place, starting closer to 1:55 in the early 2000s and now closer to 1:64 or smaller with their most recent releases.
These are certainly in the middle somewhere, probably 1:60ish, and feel quality. They have metal bases and plenty of separate lens pieces and tampo appliques. Both have a flimsy little plastic roof piece that can be removed which I think is brilliant for display opportunities. They’re certainly a bit fragile as toys, but definitely more solid than a TLV and probably on par with AW build quality.
Anyways, thanks all for reading, and have a great weekend! I'll see y'all round the Hyphen!