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When it comes to cars, the only thing weirder than French exterior design are French intakes. That’s what the team discovered this week when they set out to find something in the land of brie la somme généreuse $50,000. They went everywhere but France to do it.

Road and track senior editor John Perley Huffman headed to Belgium for a piece of French history: the Panhard Dyna Z is rarer than a truffle and no better to look at. Panhard was an innovator, creating some of the earliest clutch pedals and steering wheels, building the first production car, and inventing the Panhard Rod. This Dyna Z was cutting edge in everything until you opened the hood. Then it was a hungry hungry hippopotamus, a species that has no French translation.

Senior editor Joey Caparella, who used the show to show that he had a French specialist degree, preferred beauty and the other hemisphere to innovation. His Argentina-based Peugeot 406 Coupé could be considered the world’s least French Pininfarina-designed car without a striking line. It can also be considered the most French car in the world, as it is beautiful, comfortable and underpowered.

Contributor Jonathan Ramsay climbed into a Peugeot 505 Turbo sedan pulled from a barn in Vermont. The 505 was the standard-bearer for Peugeot’s misadventures in North America, but panelists were more interested in features like the hub-bolt pattern, the rear-seat umbrella, and the startling fact that the Pug had assembly operations in 14 countries.

Executive editor KC Colwell traveled to the most French of American cities, Phoenix, Arizona, for a spin on the boulevards in the Paris icon Citroen XM Berline. A set of anonymous 1990 aftermarket discs couldn’t hide the grandiose Frenchness of Sid Mead’s sci-fi lines, air suspension and an ashtray half the size of a radio. However, the manual transmission can make it difficult to drink a café au lait on the morning commute through Scottsdale.

Chief editor Tony Quiroga Portugal took a swipe at a French legend, the Peugeot 205. The Rallye Maestro was pretty much everything you’d want from a hot hatch named ‘GTI’, including a (more) reasonable price. Shame about the ride quality, but Quiroga has set a new benchmark for accessory purchases to put it to rest.

Check out the latest weekly series to learn about pre-Michelin diversions, European vs. American headlights, Caparella’s French translations, and how long it takes air in a 205 engine to travel from intake to manifold. No one at Le Cars was harmed during the making of this video. Although offended.

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