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Taken from - TV guide February 4th 1989 - By Peter Falk

When Columbo finished its run in 1981, nobody suspected it would return one day. So Universal Studios, which makes the show, sold off the lieutenant's beat-up 1960 Peugeot 403.

Ten years later, the series was resurrected and the producers came looking for the car. Told by the studio's transportation department that it had been sold a decade earlier, they decided to get a new Peugeot for Columbo. They devised a scenario in which their detective would be seen driving his new car in the first episode, only to have another car crash into it. For the rest of the series' run, Columbo would drive a beat-up new car. But while the producers were considering that plan, Universal received several letters from people who had heard the show was being revived and claimed to own the original car.

To determine who had the real one, studio staffers dug through their old files and
found the Peugeot's serial number. Then they checked with everyone who claimed to own the car to see who had the matching number, The true owners turned out to be Connie and Jim Delaney - of Findlay Ohio, who had bought the car, sight unseen, through an ad in "Old Cars Weekly". They wrote to Universal saying they had maintained its "deplorable" condition. They are letting Columbo use his old car free of charge and Universal has agreed to return it when the series ends.
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