Peugeot 4002 Lion - concept car - manufactured in 2003
Peugeot has presented an impressive range of original and interesting concept and show cars over the last years. In an effort to expand on this, Peugeot introduced an on-line design competition in 2000 which showed some nice results. At the 2002 Paris Motor Show the second edition of this competition was launched, which grew in importance and received 2800 entries from 90 different countries. Ultimately the "Lion" design, later dubbed 4002, by graphic artist Stefan Schulze received the most votes and won the competition. As a reward his design was realized by Peugeot as a full-scale model and introduced at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show. The result of this is the striking car you see above.
The designs for the competition had to be "retrofuturistic", combining advanced styling with historic features. An eligible design should fulfil the conditions that it had to have a clear Peugeot theme, recall a historic model and be innovative. Remarkably the Schulze design does all that without looking like anything seen before. It's a very smart combination of fashionable cab-forward styling, expressive streamlining reminiscent of the avant-garde designs of the 1930s and sporty elegance.
The Peugeot theme is present on the car with the large chrome radiator grill behind which two round headlights are concealed, the characteristic Peugeot emblems on the front, sides and rear of the car and by the slanted headlight configuration similar to what is seen on current Peugeot production cars. It recalls the 1936 Peugeot 402 in particular which had the typical double headlight configuration behind the elliptic grill; also the three bars on each side, the hubcaps and color scheme add to the recollection of the historic 402. Odd enough the 402 didn't have footboards between the fenders while the 4002 concept has. The innovative parts of the design are the forward placing of the passenger compartment, the symmetry between front and rear and the hidden spoiler configuration underneath the car. To avoid having to fit large spoilers on the bodywork of this car, which is meant to be a super sports car, an air stream is lead under the car resulting in the necessary downforce. The grill in front acts as an air intake and the exhaust array in the rear, also fitted in a similar elliptic grill shell, as an outlet.
In all it's an appealing and expressive design, though not quite realistic. The Lion name refers not only to the Peugeot logo, but also to the similarities between a crouched, leering lion and the shape of the car which the designer sees in it. Well, in any case it's a bold addition to the range of Peugeot show cars and it would be wonderful if Peugeot added some of this boldness to the designs of its usually rather dull looking production cars.
You can find more elaborate info, pictures and movies about the design competition and the 4002 Lion concept car on Peugeot's exemplary 2nd Design Contest site.
© André Ritzinger, Amsterdam, Holland