Some people like flashy TV cars like the Dukes of Hazard‘s General Lee, or KITT from Knight Rider, but I would choose detective Columbo’s Peugeot 403 covertable any day! It was forever on its last legs but it never let Columbo down!
Columbo aired on NBC from 1971-1978 and then on ABC after 1989. Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk). Each episode revolves around a murder that Columbo has to solve. He quickly figures out who committed the crime and then sets about getting the murderer to confess. His unique tactic is to convince the murder that he is a buffoon and is no danger. The murder then lets his guard down. In reality, Columbo has a very sharp mind and not only figures out the suspect, but how he did it.
I think that the choice of the Peugeot 403, helps make the killer underestimate Columbo. It is a very unique car for an american detective to be driving around and several times Columbo says that there are only a few like it around. The car is also beat up and very much out of date. It doesn’t even have a car stereo! All of these things lead a killer to think that Columbo is a crack pot at best or an idiot at worst.
Towards the end of each episode, the suspects are sure that they are off the hook and that Columbo is going to drive off into the sunset in his Peugeot, but then he turns around and says, “Just one more thing…” Then he asks a question like, “If the victim was left-handed, why was the pen in her right hand?”, and the killer realizes that he put the pen in the wrong hand after he made the fake suicide note and that he better give up and confess!
Peugeot 403 Grande Luxe Cabriolet
Model: 403 Grande Luxe Cabriolet
Model Year: 1959
Number Produced: 504
Colors: Red, black, ivory, yellow, metallic blue, metallic green, light grey, metallic dark grey and dirt.
Top Speed: 80 mph
Trivia: Cabriolet means convertable but originally referred to a small two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage with two seats and a folding hood