Friggin’ SW8: 1992 Peugeot 505 SW8 Wagon

Peugeots have always been for the eccentrics. My next door neighbor growing up had one. He also had a telephone booth sitting in his overgrown front yard and yelled at people for burning leaves, citing emissions concerns. So why not drive a mobile excuse for your strange behavior? Let others say “Oh, he drives a Peugeot, that’s why he does that” with this 1992 Peugeot 505 SW8 for sale in Portland, OR for $1,500 via craigslist.

The seller provides a pretty in-depth description of the transmission issues, what days of the week they occur, seances performed, yadda yadda. I’ll save you the tldr; it needs a transmission. But replacing a fried automatic is like ripping out your deceased grass and planting dead sod. Or swapping out poor departed Fluffy with another expired animal. Why not swap in a 5-speed with that funny little Peugeot factory shift knob that looks like a duck’s head? The gear handle alone should be enough motivation, aside from the fact that this car has the lowly 2.2i motor which will need any form of assistance it can get. But rest assured that once the gearbox issue is rectified, this 505 will likely outlast the planet.

My impression was always that Peugeot left the US in 1991, however, this car is claimed to be a 1992, so I could be incorrect or this could be leftover dealer stock. The last few years of the 505 had bumpers that didn’t look like black rubber diving boards, instead having sleek, low, and pretty things to hit people with. Sealed beam headlights planted inside a translucent housing – which is trickery if you ask me – help to give this away as a US market car, however, smooth Euro lamps would further clean up the look. The 505 was a very cleanly styled car which, even in it’s worst early 1980’s iteration, still looked great.

You won’t find 7 people oddly qualified enough to ride with you but the ‘8’ in SW8 referred to the number of cohorts one could cram inside a 505 wagon. In addition to the ‘way back’ seats, Peugeot interiors are pretty swanky in a reserved, yet eccentric kind of way, providing a relaxing place to discuss, say, policies of Juan Peron, existentialism, or which Pavement b-sides album is best. The switches usually have funny drawings on them which may or may not accurately depict their function, if they are still wired to anything. Peugeots of this age, like many of their contemporaries, are subject to electrical apparitions. However, there exists on the Book of Faces a very helpful Peugeot owner’s group who will happily walk you through diagnostic steps or just give you their parts car. The seats are insanely comfortable; plus this one even has cloth seats which must be quite rare.

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Matt, a self-proclaimed bottom-feeder of the classic car market, spends half of his time buying cars, half of his time retrieving them, and the remaining third on keeping them on the road.