The 205's bigger brother gets a blat around a country house for a photo op in this neat ad from 1989
Pity the Peugeot 309 GTI. Based on a defunct Talbot project and sneered at for slightly dumpy looks, it also had to share a showroom with the pert, petite 205 GTI back in the days of the now-revived Peugeot Talbot Sport stripes. The 205 was the car everyone wanted, and it’s the one that’s remembered as such today. But despite its reputation as the frumpier, more sensible big brother, the 309 was a fantastic car in its own right; perhaps even, some reckoned, a better one. “The 309 GTI is a most desirable alternative to the usual run of sports hatchbacks, offering the performance and handling of the 205 GTI but with more space and greater refinement,” ran the Autocar road test at the time.
Doesn't the 309 look cool here?
This was the era that car ads were just starting to get amusing, of course, and rather than go with its usual, dour efforts to tell us all about how worthy its cars were, Peugeot decided it wanted a piece of that action in 1989. So it came up with this little number, memorable not just because of the neat plotline that still raises a chuckle today, but also for the fabulous array of brand new, and now much sought-after, 80s hot hatches assembled to take part in the photoshoot at the ad’s heart.
Throw in some spirited driving, including a cool reverse turn, several bouts of lift-off oversteer and a precise handbrake stop to finish, and it’s enough to get you all excited about trotting down to your local Peugeot showroom to hand over some cash. Except you can’t, because all they’ll be able to sell you these days is a 208 GTI. No, if this ad woos you, you’re best off turning to the PH Classifieds, where you’ll find this fruity-looking GTI-6 powered example, converted by well-known tuner Pug1off.
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They're great car but not as rust resistant as 205s. Think there's about 100 left taxed now, and a few more Goodwood special editions. That compares to a couple of thousand 205 GTIs still taxed.
sjabrown23 May 2013
And I think, like the 205, they've aged rather well.
mattmurdock23 May 2013
Mine broke the rear torsion bar, shortly before an unfortunate coming together with a caravan. It was written off, and I couldn't afford to replace it with another one at the time. I loved that car, my dad had a succession of 205 GTIs in both 1.6 and 1.9 form and I always thought the 309 was at least an equal.
Edit - mine was pretty much identical to the one in the first pic, except it was a H reg.
Edited by mattmurdock on Thursday 23 May 10:00
austrom123 May 2013
My first car was a 309 Goodwood, was thumped by a lovely person in a Tesco car park.
Great fun to drive, still look great now. I do miss that car!!
405dogvan23 May 2013
Never, in the field of human conflict, has so much decent hardware been wrapped in such a hideous exterior and then there's the interior, which appears to have been designed by the same people who design the insides of choccy boxes and is made from the same stuff.
The only reason they seem 'classic' now is you've not seen one in the best part of a decade - meanwhile, 205s keep on going and going and going.