Peugeot 205 GTI: PH Carpool

Name: Andrew Hodges
Car: Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6 LE
Currently own: Peugeot 306 GTI-6, Peugeot 106 GTI, Porsche 986 Boxster S and an ever changing modern Peugeot - currently a new 3008
Previously owned: Peugeot 306 1.9d (17.7 seconds to 62!), Peugeot 206CC, Peugeot 206 GTI 180, Peugeot 308CC, Peugeot 208 GTI, Peugeot RCZ 200 THP, Rover Cabriolet, Daihatsu Fourtrak, BMW E90 325d, Jaguar S-Type 2.7d plus many more Peugeots.

Why I bought it:
"My mother had a succession of six 205 GTIs (all 1.6s) when I was a child, so after spending my formative years swaying with the car through the Kent countryside it was inevitable that one day I would end up owning one. I specifically wanted a limited edition (only 299 in the UK identical to mine when new) as I wanted the leather seats, power steering and the sunroof. I could do without the electric windows. Ideally I wanted one finished in Miami Blue but as I'm an impatient type of chap after a week I pulled the trigger on one advertised on PistonHeads in Sorrento Green over in neighbouring Essex. Don't buy the first one you look at, go away and sleep on it, blah, blah blah..."

Star of the show at Sochaux
Star of the show at Sochaux
What I wished I'd known:
"We're Peugeot dealers ourselves down in sunny Margate, and being a child of the 80s I'd grown up in and around cars of that era so there wasn't much I wasn't clued up on. Our Master Tech served his apprenticeship working on 205s so I had a wealth of information to be called upon as and when needed."

Things I love:
"Firstly, the looks. I think as hatchbacks go, modern or historic, the 205 has just about nailed it. Four years later and I still find myself catching the reflection in shop windows and smiling. I won't get into the 1.6 vs 1.9 debate but for me, with the smaller engine, you can drive it as Peugeot intended and for a lot of the time not be at speeds that are going to be getting you into bother. A quiet country lane, a summer afternoon, windows down, sunroof open and the sound of the engine fizzing its way up the rev range is all I need - I'm in Peugeot nirvana then! It gets a positive reaction wherever you go, numerous times people have approached me just to talk about it. Being somewhat introverted, at times, I'm not always sure this is something that I 'love', but it is a positive nonetheless. Until recently it has been a cheap path into a true enthusiast's car and is a model that nearly all petrolheads take a keen interest in, a real leveller."

Things I hate:
"Aside from people who say "shame it's not a 1.9" and wildly overgrown hedges protruding into the road, absolutely nothing! I'm sure this is a love affair that is to go on and on. Oh yes, but there was this one kind individual who decided to take a key down one side..."

Fun with friends in France!
Fun with friends in France!
"Well, first and foremost these are incredibly cheap cars to keep in good order - compared to my 986 Boxster S, it's a dream. I have however had a few things changed over and above regular servicing, including a cambelt, a new exhaust, brakes, a refurbished rear beam, a clutch and a set of new tyres in my ownership. We have (sorry, now had) a surprising number of bits on our shelf left over from when they were current. Then there was the person who scratched it. After keeping it sporting scars for about 18 months I decided to bite the bullet and have it fully resprayed by our in-house body shop; the leather was cracked too so I had the seats recovered by a local upholsterer. I sourced new red strips from the Peugeot Museum in France as the previous ones were kinked in places. Although it's still not concourse it is incredibly presentable now and as such leads a semi-sheltered life indoors."

Where I've been:
"It gets about, certainly! There was a period where it was in fine mechanical fettle but looked a bit rough and this coincided with a 205 GTI 30th birthday celebration down in Sochaux. I read about it online on the Friday and boarded a ferry after work on the Saturday: just me, my 25-year-old car, no breakdown cover and 1000 or so kilometres for the weekend. What could possibly go wrong? Luckily nothing! I was, however, slightly embarrassed that out of all the beautiful 205s there they had mine park right outside the museum doors; I guess right-hand drive was a novelty but my then edgy 205 filled with crisp and chocolate wrappers looked a little out of place. I had a great time getting lost, arguing with my sat-nav and finding my way down close to the Swiss border. The statutory photo was taken at Reims on the way back, I found that F1 hotels can be surprisingly comfortable and I even managed to sample some nice bits of steak.

"It's been back to France a couple of times since, partook in last year's London to Brighton Classic Car Run and earlier this month went on PSCUK's Yorkshire Driving Weekend, which was superb; I can't recommend the club enough to anyone with a Peugeot. I've been to a few Sunday Services and the 'Hot Hatch' Breakfast Club at Goodwood too."

Has to be done, right?
Has to be done, right?
What next:
"The power steering fluid has been leaking a bit and the lacquer on the alloys is starting to peel from a refurb I had done from when I first got the car. Other than that just more adventures, please!"

"Owning the car has led me to do things and go on trips that I wouldn't have done with more modern machinery, whether a Peugeot or not, so I would encourage everyone to buy an older car and let it take you on an adventure. This car and I will never part ways."



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Comments (47) Join the discussion on the forum

  • bigaoi 29 May 2017

    Awesome ! I miss my black XS ... keep having fun !

  • T1berious 29 May 2017

    To quote Vincent....

    "Boy, I wish I could've caught him doing it. I'd have given anything to catch that a$$hole doing it. It'd been worth him doing it just so I could've caught him doing it."

    My 1st car (mines was a dog and spent more time in the garage than on the road) but when it was on song (twice I think) it made me grin like a loon! When ever I see one I can't help myself but chat to the owner.

    Sir, I salute you. bow

  • BFleming 30 May 2017

    Ex 205 GT & 309 GTI (phase 2) owner here. My best 205 tale is as follows:

    One Friday afternoon, myself & my then gf left Cologne & jumped in my trusty 1986 205 GT, and headed for Paris. On arriving at our hotel, there was a 205-sized parking space outside, and all was good with the world. Early on the Saturday morning we headed for EuroDisney, a short drive away. I parked up my grey 205 at about 8am, and off we went for a day's enjoyment, not really concentrating on where I had parked. Probably about 5pm we emerged from the dressed-up theme park & proceeded to where I thought I'd parked my car, only to find the car park a lot more full than when we had arrived. Of course, being France in the mid 1990's, over 50% of the cars seemed to be 205's, and most of them grey like mine. Also worth mentioning at this stage that the 1986 205 GT didn't have remote central locking, so the search commenced for my trusty little car, and in due course it was found. 90 minutes later!

    I loved that little car, but thanks to a gearbox that wouldn't really engage gears (there was a knack involved), it got traded for the 309 GTI from a main dealer. The 309 was leaps & bounds above the 205 in all respects (my experience only), but the 205 was a veritable go-kart & never let me down!

  • Limpet 30 May 2017

    What sort of bitter, hopeless failure must you need to be, and how lousy must your life have turned out, that when you stumble across a car like this (or any, for that matter) the first thing that comes to mind is to key it?

    Lovely cars. I haven't driven a 205 GTI in years, but still remember that astonishing turn-in. It still looks pin sharp too, and the fact that even Peugeot hasn't managed to better it, despite repeated attempts, says a lot.

    Great to see one still being loved and used as intended smile

  • PistonBroker 30 May 2017

    Great stuff.

    My first car was a 205 Roland Garros, so you can safely say I like my 'warm' 205s in green!

    A 1.6 GTI was supposed to replace it but, near the end of its time with me, it began to have hot-starting problems so I began to wonder whether getting another 'unreliable' French car was the right idea.

    The Mk2 Golf GTI I bought instead failed its MOT on welding 6 months after I bought it and I ended up buying a mint 405 GRDT to replace that!

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