As I wrapped up 2015 last week, I was reminded of my lust for French cars. My look at an inexplicably imported Citroen was the most popular piece I wrote last year, so it’s quite likely there are a few more of you masochists out there.
I also love me some hot hatches. The French know what they are doing with these cars, too, though most would think of the R5 Turbo or perhaps the 205 T16 rally replica rather than a proper front-engine, front drive commuter.
As we’ve reached another arbitrary point in our laps around the sun, we can look at importing a new batch of otherwise-unavailable cars under the 25-year rule.
I’ve mentioned before that I’d love to fly away and drive home a new-to-me car, like European Delivery for someone on a raman noodle budget. Randy Nonnenberg, my editor when I was at Bring A Trailer, did this a couple years back with a stepnose Alfa and I’ve been daydreaming about doing the same.
The car in question: a 1987 Peugeot 205 GTi with the bigger 1.9-liter engine. Why this was never imported to the States while Peugeot still had a presence here is beyond me, as it would have been a perfect competitor to the contemporary Volkswagen GTI and Honda Civic Si, among others. Peugeot even raced the Group B 205 T16 at Pikes Peak, as shown in the classic film “Climb Dance”:
This one is a UK market, right-hand-drive car, which makes sense as it’s in England. Certainly, I could have shopped in France, but my French language skills aren’t the best. It’s priced at roughly $11,000 USD. For the same price, with travel and transport costs included, I could probably buy a brand-new Honda Fit, or get awfully close to a Fiesta ST.
I’m sure the 205 isn’t as spectacular as I’m imagining — but this car looks so right. The 15-inch Speedline alloys, featuring wide offset lips not often found on front-drive cars, are perfect. The red carpet and three-tone leather/fabric seats are inviting to my inner boy racer.
Being a gearhead means rational decisions can often be dismissed. There is nothing rational with spending thousands of dollars to bring a commuter car to a land that won’t have basic maintenance bits available at every parts store.
But I’m still tempted.