That a good Peugeot 205 GTI is worth quite a bit of money isn't new news - that's been the case for a good few years now. Forlorn tales are told of good cars being flogged for buttons, even of GTIs struggling to sell in the really lean times. Imagine, if you will, a 1.6 GTI in more than presentable condition for £800 in this decade; it really did happen - see here if you dare.
Anyway, back to the point. Like so many iconic classic cars, the 205 GTI attracted attention for being pretty, plentiful, and excellent to drive. It seems more of a shame than usual, therefore, that with the model as highly prized as they are (and look to remain) that such a central tenet of their appeal is being denied. Could you drive a £30k 205 GTI without always worrying about it? Exactly.
But one at £4k? Not exactly standard and with a spec geared towards track days? Now we're talking. Hot hatches are meant to be driven, after all, and especially those like the 205. Hence so many being modified when the cars were more readily available, the tiny chassis responding beautifully to some choice changes.
Confession time: this 205 isn't perfect. There's a bit of rust, the paint is flat and the mileage is described only as "around 145k" because the clocks were changed. And it's been off the road for a serious chunk of time in this owner's 12 years with it. Not ideal, but also not ruinous, because there's a tonne of good stuff as well. In fact, the owner puts it pretty well: "Whilst the car is not show spec, it has had a lot of money spent on it. It is a fun, fast, reliable 31-year-old classic."
So there's an MI16 engine - remember when they were both cheap enough cars to do the swap? - fully rebuilt 1,000 miles ago with Jenvey throttle bodies, a Scorpion exhaust and uprated head, sufficient for 175hp and 143lb ft. A good start. There's also Bilstein suspension, a reconditioned rear axle (which is important on these), bucket seats and some new tyres.
So that's a 205 GTI lighter, faster and more focussed than standard - which sounds pretty good, right? Given the age and condition of this car, it's probably best considered a rolling project, one to tinker with as the miles continue to pass rather than endlessly beat on like something newer. But what joyous miles they should be, driving a 205 GTI around how it's meant to be driven with nary a concern for mileage, scuffs and scrapes. Probably quite liberating. All the Clio track day drivers won't know what has happened.
Should the worst happen on track or on road, the market is such for 205s now that bits can surely be sourced - there's money in restoring and repairing these that there wasn't a little while ago. And however hard it's used, it's easy to imagine someone wanting a 205 GTI like this again in another few years. The mystique surrounding the model isn't going to die down anytime soon.
The hype is sufficient, in fact, for cars to be advertised at 10 times this 205's asking price. They're not really comparable GTIs, though the point is interesting nonetheless. Best thing with this little Pug, surely, is to get another MOT on it - or negotiate that into the price - sort the rust and get on with enjoying it. By driving it. As much as possible. Immediately. What are you waiting for?
SPECIFICATION - PEUGEOT 205 GTI 1.9
Engine: 1,905cc, four-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 132@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 119@4,750rpm
First registered: 1987
Recorded mileage: 145,000
Price new: £9,295
Yours for: £4,500
(Spec for standard car)