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Peugeot 205 GTI buying guide

Peugeot 205 GTI cornering Peugeot 205 GTI interior Peugeot 205 GTI engine Pug1Off 205 GTI-6 Peugeot 205 GTI Phase 1 Peugeot 205 GTI Phase 1 1.9 The 205 was a game-changer for Peugeot back in 1983. But the lion really went from strength to strength a year later when the GTI was launched, initially with a 105bhp 1.6-litre engine. Doesn’t sound much now but it was a baby fireball back then, vying with the Golf Mk2 GTI and Renault 5 GT Turbo for status of hot hatch king. Suddenly yuppies everywhere wanted a Peugeot – and that was unheard of. The 205 GTI had revolutionised the company’s previously boring image overnight.

It still has a cult following throughout Europe, with large numbers of enthusiasts enjoying these fun French hatchbacks. 205GTIs are legendary for their lively handling and strong power-to-weight ratios. In fact, that lightness is a double-edged sword: no modern equivalent is as wieldy, yet you might wish for a greater feeling of solidity. Overlook that and you’re getting all the fun of a sports car with practicality you can really live with.

What does the market think? 

Miles Horne of Hampshire-based Peugeot specialist PugRacing has been obsessed with 205s since he bought his first GTI in 1988, and has built up a business specialising in rebuilding road cars and preparing track and rally cars to an extremely high standard. ‘Gone are the days of finding a usable car for £250. Even tatty ones start from around £600 now, with nice examples likely to cost at least £2500.’

Post-1990 Phase 2 cars are generally the most desirable, and the easiest to find in top condition: £4000-4500 would get you into one of the best 1.9s out there; £3500 for a 1.6 in similar condition. The considerably rarer Phase 1s are rapidly becoming more collectable, but are on the whole worth slightly less with the exception of absolutely original examples. Offering the greatest value are the most common ’87-90 Phase 1.5 cars, which you could pick up for about £2500.

Whichever 205 you go for, condition has the biggest impact on price. It isn’t unusual to see fully restored cars with £6500-7000 price tags; original and truly exceptional 30,000-mile cars have been know to sell for more than £10,000 in extreme cases.

It’s also worth considering one of the many different special editions. The highly desirable Phase 1.5 Sorrento Green and Miami Blue GTIs from 1989 came with a full leather interior and power steering. More common Phase 2s are available in these colours, but they’re less well-specified and hence not as desirable.

The 205 remains hugely popular in tuning circles, with many people choosing to fit more modern and powerful 16-valve or turbocharged engines – well-known companies such as Gutmann and Turbo Technics sold fully built cars in the late ’80s, but there are also plenty of home-made conversions on the market. It’s advisable to give converted cars a wide berth unless the work has been carried out by a reputable specialist, or you know exactly what you are looking for.

Common 205 GTI problems and costs

Contrary to popular opinion, the 205 is not a badly made car. True, some of the interior plastics feel a little flimsy (especially on early cars), the body panels are paper-thin and cars can often look tired, but it’s generally well engineered. A well-maintained 205 will rarely cause headaches.

The all-aluminium XU engines are strong, but high-mileage or thrashed examples might show blue smoke on start-up and on overrun. In most cases that’s just worn valve stem seals. Finding one with a slightly tired gearbox is not uncommon, but the main thing to watch for is worn-out synchromesh on third and fourth gears. Miles reckons that any GTI should have had – or will need – a full engine/transmission overhaul by now. ‘Most 205s will have been driven hard, and they are all getting quite old now. It can be easy to spend over £1000 just renewing all the basics.’

If the rear end of the car is creaking, it probably needs a rear suspension rebuild. ‘There is no science to knowing when it will need a rebuild. I’ve seen 150,000-mile cars that are still perfect, and supposedly concours cars that were totally unserviceable.’ If a 205 is driven for long periods with damaged rear axle bearings, the beam will seize, which puts strain on the bodyshell. The entire beam will probably need to be replaced with a reconditioned unit. Pay up to £350 to renew the bearings, and £800 for a replacement beam.

You will struggle to find any 205 that hasn’t had some new paintwork. The original finish was never brilliant and many have faded, with lacquer peel commonplace. It is usually easy to spot a bad crash repair. Pay special attention to the front chassis legs and inner wings; rust in strange places often points to accident damage.

‘Corrosion is less of a problem than in many contemporary rivals, but the rot is really beginning to set in,’ says Miles. ‘Check the boot floor and suspension mounts, front inner wings, and the seam between the bulkhead and floorpan – which is easier said than done. The original factory underseal can hide a multitude of sins too, so be careful.’

Another common area for corrosion is behind the fuel tank, as well as the rigid brake lines in the same area. ‘It’s amazing the state that you find these in; usually they’re the original pipes. They won’t be picked up on an MoT and I’ve seen them so bad that even a gentle prod has them crumbling.’

Should you buy a retro hot hatch?

Whether you’re after a usable everyday classic, or something to cherish for years to come, there is a 205GTI out there for you. Top-condition cars are starting to fetch serious money and will probably stay strong, but there are plenty of good cars available for modest amounts.

Given regular servicing and proper mechanical maintenance, these cars are extremely reliable and a joy to drive. There are various different clubs, a healthy number of specialists and reasonable parts availability from Peugeot so, with interest in 1980s classics surging, now is a great time to buy.

MODEL HISTORY

February 1983 Peugeot 205 range launched in France.
April 1984 105bhp 205GTI 1.6 goes on sale in the UK.
February 1985 Minor spec changes to the GTI, including softer suspension after complaints of an overly hard ride on early cars.
April 1986 Power increased to 115bhp with an uprated cylinder head and camshaft.
June 1986 Convertible 1.6CTI launched; styled and partly built by Pininfarina.
December 1986 130bhp 1.9 GTI launched, featuring the 1905cc XU9 engine with the same Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection as the 1.6. Fitted with all-round disc brakes, half-leather interior and electric windows as standard.
September 1987 Phase 1.5 introduced, featuring a more modern dashboard, three-spoke steering wheel, higher-quality plastics and different seat patterns. All Peugeots including the 205 are now fully galvanised.
August 1989 Another minor update, with new BE3 gearbox, slightly larger two-piece exhaust, and power steering made available as an option.
September 1990 GTI receives a minor cosmetic facelift, with clear indicator lenses and smoked rear lamp units, black dashboard and trim, as well as the option of Bendix ABS. CTI receives an electric hood.
September 1992 Production of the 1.6 ends.
October 1992 1.9 gets the 122bhp catalyst engine.
April 1994 Production of the 1.9 GTI and CTI ceases.
Peugeot 205 GTI cornering Peugeot 205 GTI interior Peugeot 205 GTI engine Pug1Off 205 GTI-6 Peugeot 205 GTI Phase 1 Peugeot 205 GTI Phase 1 1.9
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Peugeot 205 cars for sale

6 Search results
Peugeot 205
2500 16995 GBP
  • 1987 PEUGEOT 205 1.9 GTi. Cherry Red with Charcoal Half Hide & Quattro Velour Panels. 3 Owners from new – the previous for some 30 years. 27,000 warrented Miles with Fully Documented, in minute detail, history. Was unused for some 20 years but still maintained to the highest of standards. When purchased by its third owner, we were instructed to fully recommission the car and return it to show condition. Invoices on file for in excess of £11,000. Equipped with Electric Windows, Factory Sun Roof, Alloy Wheels, Original Radio Etc. Etc. This has to be possibly the lowest mileage and finest example extant.

    • Year: 1987

    Last update: 11 Days Old

    • Mileage: 27000 mi

    For sale
  • Sherwood Restorations
    01636 812655
    see details
  • This is an absolutely exceptional very low mileage early Peugeot 205 1.1 GL five door hatchback. It has had only one lady owner from new and is totally original and unmolested. The bodywork is in excellent condition and has never been welded or restored. The interior is unmarked and has no signs of wear. The current MOT expires in November 2015 and has no advisories.The car is HPI clear and has two sets of keys. Mechanically the car is first class and drives extremely well.There is no power assistance but steering is light and the car is very responsive to drive.It starts very well (manual choke) and the clutch and gearbox work exactly as they should.Five seat belts are fitted. The original Peugeot handbook pack is present together with the original service book which has 23 stamps,all from the garage which supplied the car new in March 1986,which confirm that the current mileage of 46000 is genuine.Also present are the majority of the old MOTs and many service and parts invoices. This really is an exceptional car and should be seen and driven to be fully appreciated.With Peugeot 205s becoming increasingly sought after and collectible values of cars in this condition are sure to in

    • Year: 1986

    Last update: 22 Days Old

    • Mileage: 46000 mi

    For sale
  • A R Cars
    01435 884249
    see details
  • Peugeot 205

    £9,250 £9,250

    Peugeot 205

    A superbly original example of a 1.6 205 GTi that has covered only 36,150 miles from new. HISTORY This 205 was first registered in January 1986 to a Foster Benson of Chancery Lane, London. It remained in his ownership until it was purchased by a Mrs Carmel Hurst in 1990 who owned the car until 2011 when the current owner took ownership. Despite the car's modest mileage, it features a comprehensive service history with 12 stamps in the service book; the last being a major service carried out in February at 36,100 miles. EXTERIOR Finished in Alpine White, this GTi is in a great condition with only a couple of minor age related marks visible to the bodywork; this includes some small stone chips to the bonnet and front bumper, a scratch to the nearside rear quarter panel and a couple of other very small marks on the boot. These are only noticeable upon close inspection. This car does not suffer from rust! INTERIOR The interior looks almost as it did when it left the factory in 1986 with no wear to the seats and only a few small marks visible to the red carpets. The steering wheel and plastic trim are immaculate, the clear sports dials operate faultlessly, as does the switchgear. The car benefits from a fully operational sunroof. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION A must drive for any car enthusiast is a factory standard 205 1.6 GTi. This earlier 1.6 litre engine produces 105BHP at 6250 rpm which in a car only weighing 850 KGS, equates as tremendous fun! Having been well maintained by just a few owners this car drives impeccably with a cambelt change, brand new radiator an exhaust installed within the last 2 months. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES The original 14” pepper pot alloy wheels have just been refurbished and consequently are in mint condition. All wheels are shod with Michelin tyres and have plenty of tread remaining. The braking system works perfectly and has benefited from a fluid change during the last service in February. www.twclassics.co.uk

    • Year: 1986

    Last update: 16 Days Old

    • Mileage: 36150 mi

    For sale
  • TW Classics
    07878152467
    see details
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