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Peugeot 205 GTI: Buying guide and review (1984-1994)

Peugeot 205 GTI: Buying guide and review (1984-1994) Classic and Performance Car
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
Peugeot really turned a corner when it launched the 205 back in 1983. In fact, the model would go on to become one of the company’s most memorable and successful, transforming the image of Peugeot overnight. It looked fantastic, drove with real style and captured the hearts of a generation.
 
Of course it’s the hot hatch GTI that gets everybody excited today, and while the model has never really gone out of fashion since production stopped in 1994, the last five years has seen the values of the very best examples soar, with one exceptional example making more than £30,000 at auction. Of course, the majority of GTIs are still far more affordable, but there’s no doubting the continuing popularity of this classic hot hatch. 
 
The very first 1.6-litre GTI was launched in 1984, with a spritely 105bhp on tap – rising to 115bhp in mid-1986. It might not sound like a great deal today, but don’t forget, the 205 weighed less than 900kg. Its status as hot hatch king wasn’t secured until the launch of the 1.9-litre, 130bhp version at the end of 1986 however.
 
Not only was the 205 quick, but Peugeot engineered an extremely agile and communicative chassis. It was far from foolproof however, and that super sharp chassis had a particularly tricky side to it – especially in cold and wet conditions. Treat it with the respect, and it’s rewarding to any driver thanks to its agility and tactility. In fact, that lightness and agility is a double-edged sword: few modern equivalents are as wieldy, yet you might wish for a greater feeling of solidity. 
 
The 205 still has a cult following throughout Europe, as well as in Japan, Australia and increasingly the USA – with large numbers of enthusiasts enjoying these fun French hatchbacks all over the world. Overlook that and you’re getting all the fun of a sports car with practicality you can really live with. 
 

Which 205 GTI to buy?

 
The good news is that the 205 GTI enjoys a pretty high survival rate, meaning that there is actually a great selection of cars available at any one time. Post-1990 Phase 2 cars (black interior and exterior trim, and smoked rear lights) are generally the most desirable, and the easiest to find in top condition. Post-1993 models were fitted with a catalytic converter, which slightly blunted performance. 
 
The considerably rarer Phase 1s are rapidly becoming more collectable, but are on the whole worth slightly less with the exception of absolutely original and low-mileage examples. Offering the greatest value are the most common ’87-90 Phase 1.5 cars. Most GTIs are fitted with a factory sunroof, meaning that non-sunroof cars do carry a premium. 
 
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. A total of 25 1FM special editions were built to celebrate the 25th anniversary of BBC Radio 1, and are today one of the most desirable special editions. Finished in black, the 1FM features a special Clarion stereo system, leather interior and a very high specification. A number still survive, and there is a register dedicated to keeping track of the remaining cars.
 
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. 
 
Although we’re not covering them in detail here, there are also other performance variants of the 205 that are well worth seeking out. The 205 XS uses the 1360cc 85bhp TU engine, and is a whole lot lighter than the GTI, offering a surprisingly fun driving experience. The later UK-market Rallye was also similar in concept to this model, although fitted with a lower-powered 75bhp engine. 
 
It’s the left-hand drive European-market Rallye (fitted with wider arch spats and white steel wheels) that is more highly coveted than the GTI today. This was a stripped-out hardcore road car, built to be eligible for under 1300cc rallying. Featuring a 1294cc version of the smaller 1.1-litre TU engine, the addition of twin Weber carbs pushed power to just over 100bhp, which endowed the 790kg 205 surprising performance. 
 
While the finely-honed chassis of the GTI is somewhat compromised by cutting the roof off, the convertible CTI model is still a very cool way to enjoy some open-air classic motoring. Initially only offered in 1.6-litre form, the very last models got a detuned catalysed 1.9-litre engine.
 
Although no automatic GTI was ever produced (other than a handful of special order vehicles) there was a limited run of 1.9-litre automatic Gentry models, offered with a high spec. Although featuring the GTI’s body styling, this was more of a luxury-orientated car, lacking the sports suspension of the GTI.

Performance and specs

 
Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9
Engine 1905cc, four-cylinder
Power 130bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 119lb ft @ 4750rpm
Top speed 123mph
0-60mph 7.8sec
Fuel consumption 28.1mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual
 

Dimensions and weight

 
Wheelbase 2420mm
Length 3705mm
Width 1572mm
Height 1372mm
Kerb weight 875 kg
 

Common problems

 
• 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. Here is what you need to look out for.
 
• Take a look at the interior and, and the first thing that you’ll probably notice is some wear to the side bolsters on the driver's seat. This is by far the most common interior foible of any GTI. Seats can be repaired, more easily on the 1.9s with part-leather interiors. If the fabric has worn, new covers are now being reproduced.
 
• The interior plastics on later cars is generally hard wearing and still looks good today if in good condition, however the earliest phase 1 models wear less well. If all the parts are in good condition, then look after it as secondhand replacement parts are tricky to find.
 
• 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. If the change feels sloppy, it will likely need new linkages. New or uprated linkages are not expensive and are actually easy to fit.
 
• Any GTI should have had – or will need – a full engine/transmission restoration by now. Most 205s will have been driven hard, so budget around £1000 to renew all the basics.
 
• If the rear end of the car is creaking, it probably needs a rear suspension rebuild. There’s no science to knowing when it will need a rebuild. 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 if this is the case. 
 
• Pay up to £350 to renew the bearings, and £800 for a replacement and fully rebuilt beam. Genuine or high quality component are more expensive, however will give trouble-free motoring for many years, unlike using cheaper rebuild kits which have been known to cause problems.
 
• 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. Many cars will have had a full respray, so ensure this was done to a high standard, with photographic evidence of any rust removal. 
 
• It’s 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 was much less of a problem than in many contemporary rivals, but the rot is really beginning to set in today. 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. 
 

Model history

 
February 1983: Peugeot 205 range launched in France. 
April 1984: 105bhp 205 GTI 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 1.6 CTI 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.
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
• www.clubpeugeotuk.org – Peugeot Club UK
• www.pscuk.net – Peugeot Sport Club UK
• www.205gtidrivers.com – Peugeot 205 GTI forum
• www.peugeotcentral.co.uk – Peugeot forum for all models
 

Summary and prices

 
Whether you’re after a usable everyday classic, or something to cherish for years to come, there is a 205 GTI out there for you. Top condition cars are starting to fetch serious money and these headline figures have also helped to push values of more ordinary cars upwards. Be patient and do your research to find the the right car for the right money. 
 
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, so with interest in 1980s classics surging, now really is a great time to buy and own a 205 GTI. 
 
Gone are the days of finding a usable car for £500 though. Even tatty projects start from around £1000 now, with usable examples likely to cost at least £2500. £6500-£10,000 would get you into one of the best 1.9s out there. The 1.6-litre cars were valued slightly less in the past, however condition, history and mileage are the biggest decider of values today. 
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
Last updated: 17th Jan 2017
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Peugeot 205 cars for sale

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Peugeot 205
500 285000 GBP
  • Peugeot - 205 1.6 xs - 1994

    €1,000 - €1,300 est. (£849.40 - £1,104.22 est.) €1,000 - €1,300 est. (£849.40 - £1,104.22 est.)
    Online Auction
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Catawiki Auctions
  • Peugeot 205

    £500 £500

    1100cc - Petrol - Manual - 1991 - 5 Door Hatchback - 95k Miles - MOT until September 2017 - White - Good condition inside and out - £500. Please call 07973667697

    • Engine size: 1124
    For sale
  • Peugeot 205

    £11,995 £11,995

    FOR SALE A stonking Peugeot 205 1.6 GTI with just 46,820 miles and two owners. EQUIPMENT Remote control door mounted mirrors, red inserts in bumper and body side mouldings, rear spoiler, halogen headlamps, two halogen driving lamps, opening rear quarter windows, rev counter, water temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge, oil temperature gauge, leather trimmed sports steering wheel, interior courtesy lamp, map reading lamp, glovebox lamp, digital clock, split folding rear seats, three rear seatbelts. Factory fitted options; Sunroof. EXTERIOR Crowned ‘Car of the Decade’ in 1990, the Peugeot 205 has gained iconic status, with the legendary GTi models raising the standard significantly in the hot hatch wars of the 1980’s. This stunning 205 GTI 1.6 finished in vibrant Cherry Red, (Code P3KB), has a beautiful deep glossy shine and polished finish. The lightweight fragile panels are straight and free from the common dings and scuffs and miniscule stone chips to the bonnet edge are barely visible. Remarkably well preserved, this example will stand up to scrutiny, with the bumpers and protective body mouldings remaining in fantastic order, along with all factory fit bronze tinted glass. Constantly garaged from new this is an outstanding unmolested example. INTERIOR Interior revisions introduced for the ‘Phase 1.5’ cars aimed to match the exciting exterior looks, and the most notable changes were to the dashboard and trim design. The Quartet Rouge velour seat trim with black side squabs offers hip hugging support and remains in fabulous condition thanks to careful low mileage low owner use. All the clear sports dials show healthy readings and operate faultlessly, as do the push button switches. The bright red carpeting, anthracite headlining and fully trimmed door cards are in excellent condition. The factory Philips 569 radio cassette player with the standard four speaker system remains fitted and operational, although the letter ‘P’ is missing on the tiny Philips emblem. A glorious period ‘hot hatch’ interior. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The lively performance of the 1580cc XU5JA engine with correct Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection produces 115BHP at 6250 rpm and 98.4 lb.ft of torque. Performance credentials in a car weighing just 850kg are guaranteed to stir up excitement! The spotless engine bay displays factory plates and stickers, and the grey slam panel and paint code indicator remain factory correct. The transmission is the later special close ratio 5-speed BE-3 gearbox with a shorter 5th gear to fully exploit the engines power band. Low mileage and regular maintenance are attributed to the punchy performance and crisp gearbox action. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES The instantly recognisable 12 hole 5.5J x 14 alloy wheels are unmarked and fitted with brand new correct Michelin Energy 185/60 HR14 tyres. Incredibly, the spare wheel remains shod in the factory Michelin MXV tyre complete with sticker, and was removed from the underside hanger when new and never seen the road! Dual circuit hydraulic vacuum servo assisted brakes incorporates compensator valves fitted between front and rear brake lines to reduce brake pressure to the rear wheels on heavy braking. Front vented discs with floating callipers and rear drums match the performance dynamics perfectly. HISTORY FILE Registered on the 18th August 1989 by Main Dealer Dickens Peugeot of Chester, this remarkable example has covered just 46,820 miles with two keepers from new, the previous owner, Mr Roger Smith, having purchased the car in May 1990 when the car was just nine months old. Strictly garage stored throughout his long term ownership, Mr Smith has cherished and maintained the vehicle to a high standard with the history file containing extensive invoices for work carried out, complimented with a large file of MOT certificates from the first to present. The black Peugeot A5 wallet containing owner guide, owner handbook, maintenance booklet, warranty/service record and dealer location guide remains with the car. A documented full service including cambelt and water pump undertaken in March 2017 ensures this GTi is ready for the next custodian to preserve and enjoy. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience 205 GTi ownership with an increasingly difficult to find unmolested example. MOT March 2018, HPI Clear To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/ifdvz_jnJ0k To see a complete set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskQT8pFk 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1989
    • Mileage: 46820 mi
    • Engine size: 1.6
    For sale
  • Peugeot 205 CTi 1.6 one owner, very low mileage

    £13,950 £13,950

    An exceptionally well maintained Peugeot CTi, the cabriolet version of the legendary Peugeot 205 GTi retains all of the great parts of the hard top and adds al fresco motoring. Finished in Topaz blue this is one of the best examples we have ever handled. Garaged every day from new and only ever used in summer weather. Great fun to drive and own, a true modern classic. 1 owner from new 57,000 miles Full Peugeot service history

    For sale
  • 1984 PEUGEOT 205 TURBO 16

    $285,000(£222,442.50) $285,000(£222,442.50)

    --Grey Metallic with Dark/Light Grey leather/alcantara interior with Red accent, Charcoal carpeting edge Red, 5-speed manual, 48,000 Original Kilometers/29,000 Original Miles, 1 of only 200 manufactured, Original concours quality condition, Collector owned and cared for. The Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 is the street version of the iconic Turbo 16 Group B rally-race car. Peugeot was in the process of shifting production towards smaller and sportier vehicles. Therefore, with the introduction of the new Group B rally rules of 1982, Peugeot with the help of French rally expert and race driver Jean Todt and an unlimited budget developed the 205 Turbo 16 (the big brother to the production 205 GTI) as a marketing tool, well known in the world of racing at this point in time and thus "win on Sunday – sell on Monday". As opposed to its front engine 4-wheel drive competition the Audi Sport Quattro, the 205 Turbo 16 would be mid-engined as well as 4-wheel drive for better weight distribution and traction. For marketing purposes, it was paramount to keep most of the 205's exterior body features as similar as possible to its production variant. The 205 Turbo 16 turned out to be the most successful Gro

    • Year: 1984
    • Mileage: 29000 mi
    For sale
  • Peugeot 205

    £4,995 £4,995

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. A remarkable Peugeot 205 Roland Garros Cabriolet with one owner and 53,977 miles. EQUIPMENT Roland Garros badge on tailgate, Roland Garros Paris decal on front wing, body colour bumpers, Pininfarina side badges, electric hood, tinted glass, laminated windscreen, front driving lamps, courtesy lamp, electric front windows, central door and tailgate locking, sunvisors with passenger vanity mirror, internally adjustable door mirrors. EXTERIOR With only 150 RHD examples supplied for the UK, this Limited Edition Roland Garros 205 Cabriolet designed by Pininfarina is one of the rarest examples of the iconic supermini, largely credited for turning Peugeot’s fortunes around in the 1980’s. This incredible one owner low mileage example is finished in its original unpainted colour of Pinewood Green (code M0RP) and has a wonderful glossy bright shine. Absolutely unmolested, the factory badges and decals remain unaltered and the thin body panels are remarkably straight with only miniscule and minimal imperfections defying the cars age. The electric white hood, unique to the Roland Garros edition, operates faultlessly and has been preserved beautifully having been kept garaged from new. Even the supplying dealer number plates remain fitted. A very special example and far superior to the usual offerings. INTERIOR Fitted with the full Roland Garros special edition interior, this low mileage cossetted example has remained in amazing order with the somewhat flimsy materials free from damage, a stark contrast to most tired examples. The pure white leather sports seats are supple and even the red stitching is visible and unbroken. The bright red seat belts and colour scheme floor mats are beautifully clean and white digits in the gear knob are vibrant. The door cards, fascia and trim sections are pristine and all controls and gauges operate seamlessly. If the striking interior colour scheme fails to remind you, the Roland Garros badged steering wheel leaves you in no doubt that this is no ordinary 205. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION Fabulous, fun and spirited, this 1360cc engine produces 85bhp and is a real delight to drive. Simplistic maintenance and excellent parts availability keeps running costs to a minimum. The engine bay is spotless and displays all factory stickers and plates as well as 205 inner wing stamps and PDI markings. The 5-speed gearbox is light with a positive clutch action. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES The original light alloy wheels are in amazing order with the factory stampings still sharply defined, a feature often lost upon refurbishment. Quality branded 165/70 R13 are fitted, and the split circuit servo-assisted brakes incorporating front discs and rear drums offer assured stopping power. HISTORY FILE Supplied by Peugeot Main Dealers Concours of Surrey on the 31st August 1990, this exceptional example has remained with its original owner, Mr John Odell, and covered just 53977 miles from new. Mr and Mrs Odell have cherished their pride and joy completing many trips to France, with priority of place in the garage always granted when at home. The difficult decision to part with the car has been made and the next lucky owner will certainly benefit from their devoted approach to owning this cossetted example. All the handbooks contained in the black A5 folder remain with the car including a fully stamped service book, the last entry being 2015 with just 500 miles covered since. All entries are from the supplying Peugeot Main Dealer and just one specialist thereafter, and the huge history file contains many MOT certificates and service invoices right back to the very first! Two sets of keys and the original key code tags are present. An exemplary example in every respect with superb credentials, an unmissable opportunity for the collector and avid Peugeot enthusiast. MOT August 2017, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/SRGHkE8fKBI To see a full set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskQ3Y6f1 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: http://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars http://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Mileage: 53977 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
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