The Other, Forgotten GTI: 1988 Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6

During the hot hatch wars of the 80’s and early 90’s Volkswagen
Golf GTIs squared off with Honda Civic SIs in the United States each with a
dedicated following. It looks like with the Ford Focus ST now joining the two well-known
models and what seems to be and arms race of horsepower in the hatchbacks there
may be a resurgence in the market. But there are hatchback models that never were
modified by flat brimmed teens with street glow and stanced to a level where
they scrape their oil pan on the paint while changing lanes. Here is the chance to own an unmolested beauty
that was imported recently and appears to be intact and correct. Advertised on
the list that is Craig’s, located in Newport News, Virginia this 1988 Peugeot 205 GTI  is yours for the mere
price of $7,500; beret and baguette not included.

Approaching from the front the GTI has a classic look. Less
rounded and more upright than a shrunken American Motors Corporation Pacer this
small car is sometimes credited with turning Peugeot’s fortune around and was
an immediate hit with over five million sold from 1983 to 1998.The car was
imported from Germany in January of 2015 and yes, Virginia not only is there a Santa
Claus, but a clean title from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The speedometer in
in kilometers and registered around 134,000 at the time the advertisement was
posted. If the car was still registered in Germany at the time of sale you know
their standards required the vehicle to be in outstanding condition and the
seller indicates the car is still registered with the Peugeot 205 GTI Club de
France which does not allow modified cars. All good signs of a quality car you
may want to consider and to top it off the advertisement is well written
without the typical Craigslisteese that needs to be translated into English. Included in the writeup appears to be an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses of the car as well as
plenty of color photos that are in focus and not shot from a Kodak Brownie from fifty feet away.

The engine bay contains the heart of a lion. At 1.6 liters
it is a small lion, but weighing less than two thousand pounds the 105
horsepower should be fun, and as the seller notes the car shines on nice, curvy
roads. There was also a related 205 Turbo 16 Group B rally car version which
did well in its day so this Frenchman has a great family tree. Although the
rally version shared nothing but the same shape you could still have a great
time and make noises while playing racer with this car.  Of course the transmission is a manual as the
205 was an economy car.  

The interior is impeccable. Wait, which interior am I talking about? The seller has two for you starting with a half leather interior and full cloth interior which he indicates can be
changed over in an hour. But wait there’s more; buy now and you get a ton of spare
parts including two sets of rims, extra engine, extra transmission, full head
gasket and bolt set, water pump, timing belt and more. If this was a Yugo I
would say these would be parts you needed to drive the car home, but with the
level of devotion to the car you are truly getting a great deal for the price.
Not without some issues the owner admits the car does smoke. Having checked the
compression he believes it to be worn valve seals. Additional items to note are
a rust spot on the passenger floor board and a few other details which are set
out in the advertisement without the need to ask for additional detail.  The price is Or Best Offer so what’s the harm
in looking? You may just surprise yourself after a test drive. 

Rear wing windows that pop out. Who doesn’t love that? To waste time at work here is a 205 on track.

See a better car to drive while smoking Gauloises cigarettes, wearing a beret, and listening to Les Rita Mitsouko on the radio? email us here:

A refugee from the frozen north who loves running and
watersports, Adam can be found looking for the next slow car to drive fast when
he has access to electronics he hasn’t immersed in liquids. He is an analog kid
not a digital man.