Let's not beat around the bush. The image that any Peugeot car conjures is a rather effeminate one - even their delivery vans are a little girly. This is not a bad thing, but it will come in to play when you consider buying your first Peugeot.
Even as the motors are being manufactured in France I can just imagine a slew of well-groomed Parisian automobile artisans parading around with slicked-back hair, a wrench in one hand and a foot-long brie and pickle baguette in the other.
"Zees car, zees beautiful autoomobeel, c'est magnifique. Oui. Jean-Pierre where eez your beret? It is time for a test drive, non?"
Then and now
The last Peugeot I had my hands on was a rusty burgundy and brown bicycle. This particular Peugeot, the 207CC, now entrusted into my eager, sweating palms was far from rusty and it was green. Very green. Green Eggs and Ham green. So green that when I parked next a grassy embankment it took me three hours to find the car again.
But damn, it's a cool car. But only if you have a female passenger with you at all times. If you fancy yourself as sort-of urban Camel Man, able to handle any situation with a wry grin, a cool demeanour and a pair of pliers, perhaps the 207CC is not the car for you. If your features are grizzled and your nature gruff, you've probably never heard of Peugeot anyway.
If, however, you see yourself in a rising city slicker kind of light the Peugeot 207CC is a sweet set of wheels. The bonus, of course, is the roof. Up or down in no time, the retractable roof of this spicy little number is certainly the unique selling point. If this car wasn't a convertible it would have little to offer. Particularly in the way of leg room.
No passengers, please!
I'm actually quite friendly with a pair of garden gnomes and when they found out that I would be driving the 207CC they couldn't wait to go for a spin.
Unfortunately the passenger seat was already taken, by my Chihuahua, so they had to make do with the backseat. At 30 centimetres tall you'd think that they would both fit snugly in the back. Alas it was not to be.
They still wanted to experience the cool breeze embracing their snowy white beards, so I had to make a plan. I put one gnome in the boot and I chopped the other's legs off. That way he could sit in the back without constantly kicking the driver and still enjoy the warmth of the sun shining on his soft pale cheeks. As for the little guy in the boot. Well that's just the luck of the draw. His time will come.
Any convertible, even if it's a Volksie Beetle that's had its roof hacked off with a chainsaw, is a pretty cool ride. Cruising the Cape Town suburbs in my lime green Peugeot though, I did feel that I should be hanging out, drinking coffee, eating cake and swapping gossip with some more kindred spirits. So I rolled into a coffee shop and sat down with the nearest bunch of desperate housewives that I could find. They were a bit confused until I pointed out my car.
Ladies (and gentleman) if you ever want an instant in into the inner-workings of South African suburbia get yourself the 207CC. Just a few nuggets that came my way included: apparently James Smythe in number 43 has been sleeping with the au pair that Mrs Smythe hired, and just what was Jeanine thinking when she bought those mauve blinds for her dining room, and really girls, how on earth can Charlene even think of sending her daughters to a government school. Private is the only way for my little Matilda, even if she is a preening bulimic at the age of 10.
That was enough for me. I finished my skinny decaf macchiato chico chocolate latte and sped off to test the car's appeal in a wildly divergent environment. At a rugby match.
Suffice to say, parking your sparkly little Peugeot next to an endless stream of bakkies is bound to attract a few sideways glances. With braais billowing and brandy disappearing down large, manly gullets, the 207CC held its head up high.
A few chirps about the ballet not showing at Newlands this week just slid off the sleek back of the Peugeot. Thataboy, don't let those nasty bakkie fumes drown out your natural beauty. Even if it is green.