Armoured Peugeot 205 GTI: Spotted

Bernard Arnault is an interesting chap. France's richest man, the sixth richest person in the world, and CEO of LVMH. The luxury goods conglomerate isn't exactly a household name, but the brands it controls - including Louis Vuitton, Moet, Hennessy (cognac not cars) Dom Perignon, Dior, Givenchy, Bvlgari, Hublot and Tag Heuer - most certainly are. He's a renowned art collector, owning works by Picasso and Andy Warhol, and while most billionaires merely commission their yachts, he went one step further, buying Princess Yachts for €253m in 2008. This clearly isn't a man who does things by halves.

So, what does a Frenchman worth over $75 billion drive? Well, a Peugeot 205 GTI, of course. Like many a hot hatch, Bernard chose to modify his car, tinting the windows, improving the suspension and the uprating the brakes. Unlike many (any?) hot hatch, however, this wasn't done in the name of improved track day performance or better B-road blasting.

No, it was done to handle the extra 525kg of armour installed by protection experts Labbé and capable of stopping small arms and shotgun fire. To that end, the car was totally dismantled and, with the structure reinforced, thicker metal panels and special windows added; the car receiving power steering and air conditioning to offset the respective drawbacks of each.

There's no word on extra power, so we're guessing that the 1.9-litre engine still puts out the same 132hp as it left the factory with, although the original 0-60 time of 7.6 seconds now seems a tad optimistic... Should you want a more authentic 205 GTI experience, however, help is at hand. You can pick up a high mileage example in the classifieds for around £7,000. (Or a low mileage example for much, much more than that.)

According to the ad, Mr Arnault wanted a car he could drive anonymously everyday without a chauffeur, and used his 205 GTI as a daily driver for many years. The mileage of just 14,700km suggests he didn't have the longest of commutes, then, but does mean that the car remains in immaculate condition, described as working perfectly and driving excellently. We imagine you'll have to take that last claim with a fairly large pinch of salt...


Engine: 1,905cc, 4-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 128@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 121@4,750rpm
MPG: Less so than the original
CO2: More so than the original
First registered: 1990
Price new: N/A
Price now: €37,500

See the full ad here. And PHers are already discussing the car here.






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