Peugeot Goes Brougham- 1998 Peugeot 306 Eden Park

My research reveals this wasn’t a special edition but a standard trim line that appeared for a few seasons around about the time of the more famous Roland Garros cars. I’m open to correction on that.

1998 Peugeot 306 Eden Park. Those screw heads are a nice touch.
1998 Peugeot 306 Eden Park. Those screw heads are a nice touch.

Who or what is Eden Park? They make sport-themed fashion and the name is a reference to a rugby stadium in New Zealand. These cars came in three or five door guise. This one is a five door, seen on a gloomy day a few weeks back. You have to hand it to Peugeot for their creativity or desperation: the Peugeot 306 is the car that I see with the most special editions/limited series badging, beating Ford, Opel and the rest by a wide margin. Wikipedia lists Equinoxe, Symbio and Cashmere; I am sure I have seen others.

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The Eden Park cars seem to be only available in a deep metallic blue (“bleu d’arabie”) whereas the Roland Garros cars are mostly dark green. The interior is similar to the Roland Garros cars in that it has part-leather trim. The head restraints are stitched to look like rugby balls which is pretty charming. The cars had manual air conditioning or an opening sunroof, 14-inch alloy wheels, electric windows and a 1.8 litre 16 valve motor and fog-lamps. It seems to me that most of this kit was available as part of higher-series cars so the really special part is the Eden Park badge with its false screw heads and the interior leather/fabric upholstery.

Peugeot limited production to 1500 examples, says once source. Wikipedia distinguishes between the other limited editions and the Roland Garros and Eden Park cars. The same source claims the car only came with 3 doors and a diesel engine. The car for sale in my reference claims it’s a petrol. This car, above, is clearly a five door. This sort of thing is truly for connoisseurs of automotive obscurity.

[Additional picture credits: – head restraints source; driver’s seat source.]

One is available here for around a thousand euros.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

26 thoughts on “Peugeot Goes Brougham- 1998 Peugeot 306 Eden Park”

  1. Just the other weekend, my Mum was reminding me of the 306 she bought new – on my advice. She did not enjoy it, and she was a good and discerning driver in her day. She found it uncomfortable and insubstantial and far preferred the Golf Mk 4 that replaced it – bought on her own advice. I don’t think that even rugby ball headrests would have helped endear it to her.

    For myself the Eden Park input seems to be confined entirely to the seats (and the rather anachronistic looking badge). Had there been other elements, those headrests might not have been so glaringly incongruous.

    1. By the mid to late 90’s the 306 was feeling quite flimsy compared to more recent offerings – like a super-sized 205 in many ways.
      But the Golf Mk4 is just something else altogether. I don’t think there’s anything prior or since that compares with it in that segment, at least in terms of substance and finish.

  2. My experience of the 306 came from driving the saloon version. On the inside, it had the same fit and finish as the 5-door but might have been more rigid. I have quite happy memories of driving it a bit quickly around Wexford and Wicklow. Side by side, the 306 probably would feel less substantial than the Golf. In isolation, nothing stood out at the time as being amiss. There are an absurd number of these cars around where I live; for a time it was Denmark´s most popular car. It now has a reputation as the least-crashworthy used car (according to a tabloid headline). If I peer through the windows of these cars my eye is not assaulted and some of the interiors are very plush and spacious. Something similar applies to the VW Vento (1992) which had a trim level called (?) CLX which had plush fabric, head-rests front and rear, rear centre arm-rest and alloys. Essentially it worked like a top-spec Passat squashed into a Golf-sized package. By this I meant to say it offered a conspicuously more luxurious experience than the bog-standard Golf and challenged the Passat for value.

    1. Didn’t Paul Bracq have a hand in the design of the 306 cockpit? As a small boy, I thought the 306 extraordinarily elegant for a small convertible. The five and three door versions were decent too, but the saloon and estate always appeared quite odd, especially in that day and age when Peugeots used to be restrained and unpretentiously elegant.

      The Vento/Golf III is one of those cars I’ll never get myself to like. It’s the W210 of Golfs, as far as I’m concerned (with the V being the W211 – which is where this particular analogy is already ending). Its main quality was that it made the statement of Herbert Schäfer, VW’s head of styling at the time, that only he and Giugiaro were capable of designing a Golf all the more hilarious. If Peter Schreyer had any sense of humour, he’d have been laughing to tears come the Golf IV’s unveiling.

    2. My Mum’s 306 replaced a Golf III, so on one level it was a definite improvement. And the 306 still looks good, but when new I agree that the saloon and especially convertible did look very good indeed. Rather like the original Fiat Bravo, today it doesn’t really stand out quite as much. Whereas of course Golf IV seems to be standing the test of time.

    3. Kris: That 306 cabriolet was astonishingly elegant. A friend of mine won one in a photography competition (some competition!) and then gave it back for a lower cash sum. I also though the saloon a little awkward, but the hatch was a peach to look at and fund to drive.

  3. I love the idea of those headrests, but I think they would annoy me after a while. Also, in ensemble with those bolstered seats, they remind me of that annoying robot (BRIAN?) used to advertise a comparison site in the UK, which could be what anoyed me in the first place. Maybe I’m just a bit grumpy today .. ?

    1. It does sound a little like it, old bean. On reflection, one could call the rugby ball shape very litteral. Why not use the stitching only. The rest is charming.

    2. Good point about the headrest. Audi did something quite nice a few years back with baseball glove stitches on the seats of the TT.

  4. Richard
    credit where credit is due – your source does explain further down the page that 5-door and diesel options were available from 1997.

    1. Although I can’t find it now, I think he used the expression “dans son jus” yesterday which had me well impressed. He’s clearly polyglot.

    2. I’d love to pretend otherwise, but since there is always the chance I might bump into Laurent in one of our 27 local coffee establishments (Salut, Copain!), although I read French, I must admit to considering myself, in practice, shamefully monoglottal.

      And the excellent ‘dans son jus’, I learnt from you Laurent, in a previous comment.

    3. I think that I’d be the last resort; I recall being lightly scolded by Laurent for misusing the term “coup de grace” or some such like. I still bare the mental scars, alongside those administered by a lecturer at Dauphine, who once gave me 3/20 in my exam on Paris’s Financial Markets because my French was “un merdier”.

  5. Kris: these small saloons really do polarise. While the Vento is not what I´d call sporty or rakish, I really like the formality of its c-pillar and the nearly over-the-top equipment. I like it more than the equivalent Passat. The 306 saloon is another cracking vehicle. It´s as neat as the others. I agree the estate is not perfect. Those lamps messed it up. That was a sign of something new.
    These small saloons do garner a lot of loathing. I agree they aren´t for everyone but nor is a sports car or Multipla. I think the small saloon is tough brief and so I tend to like it when people do a good job of something hard. The 306 saloon is ridiculousy roomy in the back. I would not be surprised its damn near the same legroom as the 406 and that´s spacious as well.

    1. I understand your argument, Richard, but to my eyes, the 406 is just infinitely better balanced. The matter-of-fact quality of those small saloons is not without merit, of course, but to my superficial mind, they will always be lacking a fundamental component of desirability. But I truly understand your point of view and why you might deem my position shallow and unlearned.

  6. Sean: for me the 306 still looks fresh in the manner of almost all its predecessors. This the benefit of modestly cautious styling for cars in this class. The 306 is like a Lanvin suit: well cut and it does not draw attention to itself other than in being noticeably discrete. You´re right about the Bravo and Brava. Those don´t carry their styling well now – shouldn´t they? At this stage they are 20 years old and ought to be developing period charm. They are still stuck in the “dated” phase of their aesthetic life.

    1. I rather like the Bravo/Brava. They’re an oddity, of course, and the passing of time hasn’t been kind to the materials they were built from – a fate shared with the Ritmo/Strada. But just like that other awkward Fiat, I’m happy to see these cars on the road, simply because they were different (albeit not necessarily better than the competition). A Golf IV is a considerably more substantial car in almost every sense, but they’re still ubiquitous, while run-down little Bravos/-as are adding a bit of Bangle spice to our streetscape.

  7. Are these cars desirable? I tend to take the view that they worked for their intended customers judging by the numbers sold. My view on this tends towards the impersonal by the way and seen that way I respect these cars and even like the appearance of them understood on those terms. Other cars are much more exciting and would be ones I´d fight to drive. Would I fight to drive a 306? Well, I already have tried one. I´d like to experience a Vento CLX – it´s a car people probably get to like on a long term basis. Clarkson and Co. won´t rate them, I admit.
    Much as I like the 406, the 306 is much better detailed. The bumper to body on the 406 is actually quite crude and the feature line running down the bodyside ends up mangled in the wheel arch crease. It´s still a very fine car, though: classic Peugeot through and through. It´s real competitors were the A4, Laguna and lower to mid 3ers. The plastics fetishist will go for the A4, the Francophile will go for the Laguna and the automaton will go for the low 3ers. The Peugeot is for people like me: fully-informed, unselfconscious and possessed of a sure-footed, assured good taste.

    [Ahem….]

    1. And if I went for a second-hand high-spec E30 instead of that E36 318i – what would that make me?

  8. Kris: if you’re comparing like with like then the very solid, carefully styles and capable E30 wins over the nearest thing Peugeot had, a 405 or would it be a 505? The model ranges were still not alligned then.

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