What Type of Car Does Columbo Drive

Columbo, the iconic detective character portrayed by Peter Falk in the television series of the same name, is known for his unassuming, disheveled appearance and unorthodox investigative methods. While Columbo’s character is defined by his wit and cunning, his choice of automobile also plays a significant role in his persona. Today we look at what car does Columbo drive in the series which is a 1959 Peugeot 403 convertible, which adds a unique touch to his character.

The Peugeot 403 was a French automobile produced by the Peugeot company from 1955 to 1966. It was a mid-size family car, and during its production run, several variations were available, including a sedan, estate (station wagon), and convertible. Columbo’s choice of the 1959 Peugeot 403 convertible is particularly interesting and says a lot about his character.

Inconspicuousness and Humility:

Other than what car does Columbo drive? another one of the most striking aspects of is his unpretentious and unassuming nature. He doesn’t fit the typical mold of a sharp-dressed, slick detective. Instead, he often appears rumpled and disheveled, with his famous trench coat and cigar. The choice of the Peugeot 403, a relatively simple and modest car, perfectly complements his persona. It’s not a flashy sports car or a luxury vehicle; it’s an everyday car that doesn’t draw attention.

Economic Pragmatism:

Columbo is often seen as a blue-collar detective, and his car reflects his practical approach to life. The Peugeot 403 was known for its reliability and affordability, making it a sensible choice for someone like Columbo. Its affordability was a key factor in his ability to maintain it throughout the series, as he wouldn’t have had the budget for frequent car upgrades.


While Columbo is a character from the 1970s, his choice of a 1959 Peugeot 403 convertible adds a timeless quality to his character. The car was already a bit outdated when he drove it in the series, but its classic design has helped keep Columbo’s character relevant and enduring. It’s a reminder that good detective work never goes out of style, just like a classic car.

Underestimated by Others

Columbo’s seemingly dilapidated car often leads criminals and even his colleagues to underestimate him. They assume that a man who drives such an old and unimpressive car can’t possibly be a formidable detective. This underestimation becomes a crucial element of his investigative strategy, as it allows him to catch suspects off guard and extract valuable information.

Conversation Starter:

The Peugeot 403 serves as an excellent conversation starter when Columbo is on a case. People he interviews or interacts with often comment on the car, allowing him to build rapport and gather information subtly. It becomes a disarming and charming prop in his toolkit of investigative tactics.

Symbol of Columbo’s Quirkiness:

Columbo is known for his idiosyncrasies and quirks, and his choice of car is no exception. While he could have opted for a more conventional vehicle, he goes for a classic that adds depth to his character. It’s a small but meaningful detail that contributes to the overall charm of the series.


The convertible version of the Peugeot 403 adds an element of practicality to Columbo’s character. While the car might not be the most luxurious or fast, its convertible top allows for easy access and egress, which can be important in a detective’s line of work.

Nostalgia and Sentimentality:

Columbo’s attachment to his car goes beyond its utility. He has a sentimental connection to it, as evidenced by the numerous times he’s seen tinkering with it, trying to keep it running. This sentimental attachment adds a layer of depth to his character and makes him more relatable to the audience.

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In summary, what car does Columbo drive is a deliberate and effective storytelling element in the series. It helps define his character, sets the tone for his investigations, and serves as a symbol of his unpretentious, practical, and timeless approach to detective work. The car is more than just a mode of transportation; it’s an integral part of who Columbo is as a character and what makes him so endearing to audiences around the world.