There's a certain type of car that we all know. It's the type that everyone admires but hardly anyone buys. Peugeot's V6-engined 406 Coupes fall sumptuously, and with perfect damping, into this category.
Getting on for four years ago, Shed found a rather lovely, one-owner, 1998 3.0 (or more accurately 2.9) V6 auto saloon in Auldgit Maroon with fewer than 40,000 miles on it and with a full, metronomically regular history of annual services at the local Peugeot factors neatly folded into the oiled-to-manufacturer's-specifications glovebox.
The forum love was strong for that one. The chap was only selling it because he needed an estate. As it turned out, he went and bought the almost equally clean metallic blue/green V6 manual 406 wagon that went on to appear in Shed O' The Week two years later. That estate was about 100,000 miles tireder (?) than his maroon saloon, but you'd never have known it from the lovingly burnished smoothity of its flawless flanks and the intoxicating pungency of its leather seating (medicine please, nurse).
Anyway, it's been nearly six years since the last 406 V6 Coupé was featured here. That one was a silver-blue V-reg one with a black interior. For those of you viewing in black and white, today's Coupé is in silver with rich, haemorrhoid-red leather.
Interestingly, or not, legend has it that the Peugeot 406 Coupé was not a Peugeot 406 Coupé in its last year of existence on the UK new car market. It was just a Peugeot Coupé. It's also believed that this Pininfarina design was originally offered to Fiat, who rejected it in favour of letting Chris Bangle do one. A Coupé, that is. He did do one in the other sense as well of course, leaving Italy in 1992 to take up residency as BMW's first American design chief, but a year before he left Fiat he signed off the Coupé design ahead of (well, it could hardly be after) its 1993 launch.
The 406 saloon didn't appear until 1995, and it took another two years after that for Pininfarina's Coupé design and build contract with Peugeot to furkle into life. Somehow you can't imagine the Bearded Messiah putting his name to anything this graceful. That's not intended as an insult. The Fiat and Peugeot Coupés both wear their years well, but in very different ways.
Which brings us, at last, to our Shed. Don't go buying a V6 Coupé expecting blistering performance from the PSA Group's 24-valve ESL engine, first seen here in the Coupé. The only blisters you're likely to get will be from sitting on the autoroute for a bit too long on the way down to your mate's shagpad in Menton. That's because this motor was designed to satisfy insurance category limits rather than enthusiasts. It under-performs for its size and number of valves. It will rev, mind, and it will make a reasonable noise in the process, but it's the sort of thing you'll probably do only once before settling back into the commonsense everyday reality of early change-ups and mpg figures in the mid-20s, rising to the mid 30s on big-road runs.
After several hours sweating over his Amstrad PCW keyboard, Shed reckons that the road tax, or whatever it's called these days, will be in the order of £255 a year, which is not so bad.
Bad things to look out for? Well, the V6 engine actually has a better reliability record than the 2.1 diesels that you'll find in non-Coupé 406s, so that's good. Radiators have been known to get blocked though. This being a pre-'99 car, it shouldn't be hamstrung by the exciting new multiplex wiring that blighted facelifted 406s of that era. It may however be affected by other electrical issues such as unfanning fans, unpumping fuel pumps, insensitive ABS sensors, undiscshaped brake discs and unwinking winkers.
To its credit, Peugeot did launch plenty of 406 recalls for stuff to do with ignitions switches, engine management software, boot locks and rear suspension pivot bolts. Suspension components generally are given to failure, but that's a fair price to pay for them working so excellently when they're not failing.
The vendor of this one reports swapping the entire door to sort out a window regulator. That might seem a bit extreme, but it probably makes sense on both a time and cost basis if you can find a good door match. In the case of the 406 Coupe, which was built in three iterations from 1997-99, 1999-2003, and 2003-04, you can see the logic. Pininfarina's design and build contract with Peugeot was for 70,000 Coupés, but in the end more than 107,000 were built, so finding a scrapper door wouldn't have been that hard.
Shed can see the time coming in the not too distant future when even more radical bodgery will become par for the course to keep the increasingly complicated, electronics-laden motors of today on the road. He reckons entire front ends of cars will be going for £500 down at the scrappers on the basis of it being cheaper to buy that rather than paying double the amount for a tiny cruise/radar widget effort after the original one had been broken in a 5mph parking collision. That sort of thing.
Interestingly, Simon (the owner of the aforementioned maroon saloon and the blue/green wagon) said in February 2017 that he was switching to a cheap two-year lease on a Seat Leon ST. Those two years are now up. After looking glumly at a Leon ST for all that time, he might well be thirsting for something a bit less deathly on the styling front. Wonder if he'll fill in the gap in his 406 ownership experience by buying this Coupe?