By on October 7, 2012

M. Peerson writes:

Well, I think it is time to replace the Pug. My little 505 has crossed the country, oh I do not know how many times. I mean I just did a round about from Westminster CO (North Denver) to Roundrock TX (North Austin) back to Benton CA (Mammoth lakes) and it is still running fair to decent for a car that I have replaced the speedo on two times. Actual millage is up past 400K closer to 440,000 miles as I clock it with the log book.

I am the third owner of this 1985 505 STI. I have a FULL service history to the car. From the Original owner who bought it in Dallas/Ft Worth to the second owner in Orogrande, to me when I picked it up in Alamogordo (20 miles north of Orogrande). I purchased the pug in 2009 with a clocked 159.XXX on it and a broken speedo.

It was one of those ones that sold as repairable. Well the body was straight and 110 dollars latter including delivery it was mine. A set of fuel pumps, a accumulator and a good service it was on the road. Since then it has been normal wear and tear items. Rear and front bearings, several speedo clusters and cables. A timing chain because I could hear it rattle (and I still can, but no oil light flicker) Little air con work, (It blows cold with 134A!) several sets of tires, Normal stuff.

The interior is just SHOT, all the electrics work save the power sunroof and cruise. (And they are labeled Lucas.. what blasphemy!) Really all in all, save the when you push it over 70 loaded with all my tools, fuel millage has been ok, it goes down to 15.5 loaded. 23.5 unloaded.. I mean I have been back and forth across the country time and time again, and lets not forget the 400 mile in a day work trips… daily. It has soldiered on, only needing 1 quart every oil change (No Joke!) a good heap of Dextron for the power steering. (I refuse to buy a 600 dollar rack) and the normal stuff that has to be done at service. Including the oil bath air cleaner.

The interior is shot, it has absolutely 0 rust, the doors shut like they are new, all the windows work and the door seals are completely gone. So lots of wind noise less you have a tail wind.

The pug has served well, and been a better car than most. In it’s last trip it has been through things that would total most cars, and soldiered through with just a crack in a tail light. (If I posted what happened on the trip, people WOULD cry.) But it made it. Point is….

Time for something else I think. I would love to dump 2K in my pug but that would barely get things back to normal. I have been looking at off brand things (Alfa, Mercedes W115’s, Suzuki’s,SAAB’s) Name it but the car market right now is just rubbish. When a 2006 Toyota Tacoma with 200K on the clock goes for 10K where does that leave someone with 2K in there pocket.

I have pondered giving some panther love, but I do not want to feed one. Hence the Alfa and Merc route. I would go back into a brick but there prices are higher than a 10 year newer Alfa! It is just astonishing. I refuse to drive Escort/Tracer and Tempo/Topaz derivatives because face it. They were rubbish new and after a family has had one they become just worse.

I really want to avoid Camcordsnotltima land because, if I am going to wear beige, I will do it in a 1987 Caravan with wood grain and a turbo 2.2 under the hood with a five speed. (Only because I know where the donor 2.2 turbo is and the Caravan with a 5 speed is) But money can be better spent on something else, besides building a 13 second caravan.

But what do I do, build a caravan, buy a snotatima with a bazillion miles on it and no history? Try for panther love that has not been to the ghetto? Or just start degreasing the pug and pray for another 200K to go on the clock. Or find something reasonable since CA smog means new cars are king. (As well as Orange county crap tastic SUV’s)

Steve answers:

It all depends on whether you want to finally rid yourself of the Pug. Rebuilding this vehicle would be a lot less than $2k.

What you can do is go online for the legal notices in your neck of the woods. Here is where I search for mine. Also you can venture on super search sites, such as and see if there is a donor vehicle with a good interior that you can use to rebuild your own model.

Finally you have the enthusiast forums that you are probably all too familiar. However there is an opportunity for a nice twist. Instead of just searching for an old Pug beater whenever it becomes available, post a new topic at a few Peugeot forums about the fact that you want to redo the interior of your 505.

Ask if anyone has an extra Pug, not running, that they are willing to sell. Many enthusiasts who are financially sound tend to be more amenable towards selling an inop vehicle to an enthusiast at a reasonable price.

Finally, if you are looking for a Pug alternative, the Panther ain’t it. Older Saabs and rear wheel drive Volvos (240/740/940) have better seats and handling then ye olde Panthers which are traditional old school American rides.

If you are still lockstep in an old Euro world, then find yourself a late 80’s to early 90’s Saab or Volvo. The Mercedes W124 is also a good bet if you find one that has been maintained to spec.

Good luck.

Sajeev answers:

Oh my damn, son!  You’ve kept a Pug on the road for HOW LONG in the USA?  You make my tastes/obsession with cars look normal. While that’s a compliment, that’s also somewhat shocking. Hmm…shocking?

Yes! The answer is obvious…you need to make that turbo, 5-speed Caravan! What the heck are you waiting for?


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40 Comments on “New or Used: Time to Replace the Pug?...”

  • avatar

    Make your transportation an investment.

    Grab a pretty Cadillac Cimmaron.

  • avatar

    If you really want to replace it, and you’re really attached to Pugs, get another one. Otherwise keep the one you have. It has character.

    If you’re looking for something completely different, I do reccomend a Panther, the gas mileage on my Towncar was almost as high as your Pug gets.

  • avatar

    Here you go, a 1986 Peugeot 505 turbo with 61,000 miles.

    Copy & paste all the eBay link or search Peugeot on ebay motors:

    Having a Peugeot sounds scary as a daily driver and this is from someone that has not one, but two Audi 5000 daily drivers.

  • avatar

    If you are not particular about something from Europe, but still want something somewhat unusual, what about a Toyota Cressida?

    Other than that, if you still like the thing, by all means keep it and fix it up.

    • 0 avatar

      The 505 was one of the best riding and driving cars of its time–it had the tightest turning circle encouraging head first parking, but acceleration was leisurely which seemed to fit the tone of the vehicle perfectly. Right off you will not replace some of the things you admire about this car–not for $2,000.00 and probably not for any money.

      I sense you are ready for a change and I recommend a low mileage well cared for Lexus LS400. These cars were so overbuilt (Toyota wanted to prove something) that major players in the industry were accusing Toyota of “dumping” these vehicles even though most sold in Canada north of $50,000 and similar money in the US. There are a few well known problems, but lots of help on the net and parts seem reasonably easy to get. You may have to spend more than $2,000 to get a prime example but it will be much cheaper to drive than the pug and will not balk at the mileage you expect of it.

  • avatar

    Last year I bought a $1600 200k miles 1988 BMW 528e Auto. It needed rear subframe bushings, rear pitman arms, and front upper control arms. It had a reupholstered driver seat, cold R134a converted AC,new aquatreds, everything worked. I get up to 26mpg in it…it is a little slow compared to everything else on the road, but f’ing a…I’ve gone at least 20k miles in it since I fixed the odo, it shows no signs of giving up the ghost at about 220-230kmiles. The previous owner had a telephone book thick service history which no doubt made all the difference in the world.
    i bought a $1800 1996 Subaru Legacy 5 speed wagon to replace it this year, but I can’t quite stand to get rid of a car that works so well.
    By the way…I live in Los Angeles, the seller is supposed to provide a smog check with the sale, but with the cheap ass cars I buy, I usually have to kick down for the smog check, but I always let the seller know the sale is contingent on passing smog…it’s a tactic that as worked for me.

  • avatar

    A government auction Crown Vic or old F150 is about all I can come up with for 2k.

  • avatar

    Weekly there are SAAB 9-5’s on eBay for $2,000 range and up. A couple of good deals on wagons right now.

    Get an alignment, pump tire pressures, and watch your speeds and you could double your pug’s mpg. How much is that worth in your pocket? Look to the SE for the best prices on rust free cars.

  • avatar

    Of all the cars I have owned, my 5 Peugeots were FAR and away my favorites. 3 505s, 2 504s. Just exceptional cars, as long as you could wrap your mind around the French way of doing things. Superb seats, make Volvo and Saab seats seem like something that the Marquis de Sade came up with. The steering feel of a BMW with a better ride than a Cadillac. All of mine were extremely reliable too.

    So if you want to stay in the fold, just track down another one with a decent interior and make one car from the two.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t complain about the Saab 9-5 seats after spending most of 24 hours in them. I left 8PM and drove until 3am, slept 3 hours in the driver’s seat, got to destination to put an 2004 GTO on a tow dolly attached to the 9-5, dropped it off at 8PM the next day. Aside from loading and loading the GTO the had no problems with the seats. And was with only 3 gas stops and 22 mpg towing another car.

      Not much can match long distance touring as the 9-5 can.

  • avatar

    As tough as your car sounds, I think a rwd small pickup like a ranger/s10/dakota would be even tougher. Have a 91 S10 with the 4.3 and 700r4. I think I can change components forever.

    Must take off my hat to you. You made a strange choice perhaps only equaled by the van. I like my choice too. Pickups are tough and drive pretty well if you don’t need the back seat.

  • avatar

    I drive a 240, you can make he sedan ride real nice with the right suspension combo. Not nearly as nice as 505 but it has its own character. You can still find 240s under 100K miles, like mine for instance.

  • avatar

    Take a look at Craigslist for Portland. There are currently ads posted for several Pugs there now, including a wagon and no less than two parts cars for dirt cheap ($375 and $325!). This is not unusual for either Portland or Seattle, I see at least a few Pugs every month. If you can find a way to fetch them and get them home, you may well find what you need. Good luck and happy hunting!

  • avatar

    Wow, a Pug fan! My dad had a 1983 505 Silver Edition (an STI commenmorating the 25th anniversary of Peugeot in the USA), which was loaded with everything on it. Airy interior, high seating position, comfy seats, and a cushy ride. Wasn’t very fast in terms of acceleration.

    I’m not surprised that the interior of the OP’s car is reportedly thrashed, these didn’t have the most durable interior parts, as my dad’s was pretty worn out by the time he got rid of it after more than 130K miles.

    If you think it’s worth keeping, go for it.

  • avatar

    M. Peterson,
    It appears that you can turn a wrench and follow the enthusiast forums.

    If thats ok, check out the Alfa 164 91-93. The best cars are the 91-93 single cam with 5 speed. The twin cam models 94-95 are more complex in doing the timing belt. The 91-93 is pretty easy, if you follow the directions on the AlfaBB. Auto trannys should be avoided like the plaque. You will be able to find a good one between $800 and $1500. Enjoy.

    91 Alfa 164 5 speed with 210K miles

  • avatar

    When these were being manufactured I thought they were very handsome, but all I drove then were pickups and vans. Now that I’m mostly a car driver I’d pay a lot for a new one.

    Excellent tall greenhouse, good ride height for the Snowbelt and a classic, understated styling. It’s everything I’d want in a new car and it’s unobtainable. What else is new?

    With your skills and resourcefulness, I’d sure try to find a donor 505 to keep yours on the road.

  • avatar

    I agree with Sajeev. Build the Caravan. Those things can go forever too, esp with the 5 speed.

  • avatar

    I would just throw a few extra dollars into what you have, it seems a shame to dump the car at this point.

    But if you’re dead set on changing, and have a $2000ish budget,
    Volvo 240 all the way. Much simpler and easier to maintain than a similar era European cars in that price range. They’re bullet-proof, quirky, and timeless.

  • avatar

    If I had your annual mileage I think I’d spring for an old diesel-powered RV/ambulance/wrecker and then just tow my car.

  • avatar

    As the former owner of a DD Omni with a GLHS mill and Daytona trans I have to say you dump Frenchie. Leave the Pug to the Hipsters and build an older Mopar Van with an “SRT4” drive line and be happy..

    • 0 avatar

      If found rust free the vans should be a pleasure to work on and continue driving. If not get something newer like say a Hyundai Elantra Touring station wagon 2008 to 2012 US sold -5sp x 4cyl based on European prior model Elantra so parts will be found for years…

  • avatar

    My dad had a diesel ’79 Peugeot wagon that he bought new at the time. Getting it serviced was a big problem as it usually took some small foreign car mechanic, which where not always available. Three times it had engine problems from probably getting poor diesel, and it sat for weeks or more each time getting repaired (usually waiting for parts). Twice that was in a small town where dad would end up renting a car and later coming back for it.

    I started driving that car, which fun. It was like a little tractor. The interior was nice. But wow did it smoke in the morning.

    At 100,000 miles, the body was in near perfect condition but the car went to the junk yard after a complete engine failure. It would have been too expensive to replace the motor. Plus dad was just tired of repairing it.

  • avatar

    I like the Cressida suggestion. Seems to be a similar type vehicle. Plus there is always the Supra bits if you want to make it into a sleeper.

  • avatar

    If you’re hellbent on ditching the Pug, then either the Volvo 240, or a nice Toyota Cressida…happened across one on ebay the other day that I was tempted into bidding on…mid 80’s box on wheels, but in great shape.

  • avatar

    Buying a different and better 505 is defintely the way to go for the following reasons 1)505s are dirt cheap relative to the alternatives. As noted, very nice 505s turn up all the time on ebay and the like, get a wagon if you need a change 2) you know what a good 505 looks like and what to look out for 3) you’ve got a wealth of repair knowledge specific to the 505, and 4) you’re a Peugeot guy – a Caravan? come on now.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Ah, Bliss….

    My senior year of college, this very ad was plastered all over the back page of the WSJ….and the Peugeot 505 STI became my first “aspirational” car. Wasn’t too outrageous for the times, IIRC, as the starting MSRP was circa $16,500.

    And then FoMoCo sent me a letter with $500 “New College Graduate” voucher. (***SIGH***) I bought me some 1985 Tempo SHO love with that ducat, don’t you know. And seldom looked back. More’s the pity.

    Had a client in Pottstown, PA of all places back in the late ’80’s, and probably because of the proximity to NJ, these were all OVER the freakin’ place, as taxicabs and police cars, even.

  • avatar

    I’m impressed that you managed to keep the 505 going for so long. Not that the car couldn’t do it, that you decided to keep up with it is the impressive part.

    I was going to suggest a FWD GM W- or G-body as a replacement; they are pretty large and with the 3.8 (Buick) V6 & 4 speed autobox, pretty close to anvil reliable.

    Something like that would be a good runner well into the future, deliver good fuel mileage on the freeway, and should be fairly easy/cheap to repair, too.

    • 0 avatar

      I was impressed with his tenacity also to service the French automotive wonderment.

      My aunt had an ’85 also black 4dr like the ad pictured but it suffered NJ salt application. I did get my license and was able to drive it prior to her trading the Peugeot for a beige Honda of some sort in the early 1990s…

  • avatar

    What a great car and great story!

    I learned to drive in my Dad’s turbocharged, black 505 with the 5-speed. His last Peugeot was a 1991 505 Turbo wagon. Aside from some electrical issues (relays and fuses) his Pugs were pretty bulletproof cars.

    My Dad raided all of the Peugeots left in local junk yards for spare pieces. In the end, parts (and knowledgeable mechanics for fixing the big stuff) became too difficult to find.

    Great steering feel on these cars, and the body lines are classic.

    The Alfa 164 seems like another similarly unique (and wonderful) choice, but I’m not sure about parts availability for those either. Best of luck in your search!

  • avatar

    I found 9 pugs 505 for sale in The Netherlands, they are popular these days because of ther age, in the Netherlands you do not have to pay toadtax if youre caris over 25 years.

  • avatar

    What a sin to dispose of your pug. I just bought a 1984 505 S with only 75K miles on it.

    I had to shore up the pug, but it is now running fine. It was garaged, so the interior is immaculate. I bought it as a second car for my 2006 Saabaru. I had the unfortunate bump on the bumper and Progressive totaled it because Saab is basically insolvent and couldn’t replace parts.

    However, I’m so happy with my Pug! What a great driving sedan.

    • 0 avatar

      Your pug is drop dead hot. Mine is the same color (well was) Clear coat peeled off and it is just gray now. I do have dark tinted windows all around a a 30 percent strip at the top of the windshield and as well the sunroof deflector that is now faded purple and fog lights. It looks tatty, but yes my post is months and months late.. also just AHEM turned 469K by the log book.

  • avatar

    Go with a Merkur Scorpio. It’s certainly unique, but because many of it’s parts are common to other domestic Ford products, it’s relatively easy to repair and keep running. They also built a lot of them in Europe, plus the cars shared many under the skin bits with other high volume products like the Sierra. They also ride beautifully and return mid-20s on the highway with ease.

  • avatar

    You are speaking to my heart, M. Peerson. I have owned both.

    I owned an ’89 2.5L Caravan Turbo 5-spd. It was glorious. I have rarely had more fun than pulling away from “better” cars in that beast from a stoplight. I am, however, wondering about your motives for that type of trade. The caravan is a much larger beast. I didn’t read anything about your need to carry cargo (be it people or whatnot) long distances. I guess you’ve had one before, so maybe you know best.

    I have also owned an ’84 Volvo 245T 4-spd/od. That car owns my soul. I haven’t owned a car in four years (motorcycles only these days), and I still constantly reminisce about that wagon.

    Go back to the brick. Buy a turbo (with comparable fuel milage to your Pug, actually), and enjoy life. Yes, they need periodic maintenance, but it seems like you have the sense to deal with that. In my eyes, there is NO car better. There just isn’t.

  • avatar

    If you love it as much as I love my ’92 Saab 900, keep fixing it! I’m married to my car, and have also driven it NY-CA and back last year, and will be driving it back to CA in a month. It also moved all my worldly possessions to and from college several times.

    If you decide to get a C900 like mine, just do NOT buy an automatic! With the 5spd, loaded with all my stuff cruising at 75mph, I averaged 30mpg. I also have an auto ’92 900. With its archaic Borg-Warner 3-spd it has averaged 24-25 mpg while turning around 3400 RPM at 70mph.

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