Junkyard Find: 1989 Peugeot 405 S

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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junkyard find 1989 peugeot 405 s

Peugeot gave up on the North American market after the 1991 model year, thanks to poor sales of their new 405. I haven’t seen one of these cars on the street for at least 15 years, and junkyard sightings have been correspondingly rare. When I spotted this car at a Northern California self-serve yard a couple months back, it took me a moment to figure out what it was.

Nearly 200,000 miles on the clock, which is comparable to what I see on (non-Mitsubishi) Japanese cars of the same era.

When the company that built your car retreats from your continent, keeping it on the street becomes quite a challenge. This one made it to age 24.

The only Peugeot I’ve ever owned was a 504 that came with a bunch of Linda Ronstadt 8-tracks. I liked that car, in spite of its frequent breakdowns (yes, I know, the 504 is supposedly bulletproof everywhere else in the world).

We have a few Peugeot 405 Mi16s racing in the 24 Hours of LeMons (they’re quite affordable, i.e. less than scrap value in most cases). They’re somewhat quick, but they tend to be pretty blow-uppy. Here’s one depositing a connecting rod in the windshield of a following car.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

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3 of 62 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jul 14, 2013

    It was a good handling car. It was prized for good handling and was better as a car than any Honda or Toyota by the order of magnitude. As a used car it sucks therefore it is not a good car for America where people care only about reliability and nothing else. It cannot last 192K miles though, it is simply impossible - it would be nothing but a miracle. My guess is odometer shows 192K km and I can imagine what kind of effort it took to maintain it up to these 192K kms. Russian cars also can last 192K kms but you have to replace every part over time (some Russians buy two Ladas to merge them into the one eventually).

    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jul 22, 2013

      Considering it says US MODEL right under the engine, no way did they put the odometer in KM's. Even the French aren't that daft.

  • Casm Casm on Oct 17, 2013

    Sadly late to the party on this one, having only just run across the post in a tangental Google search. Amusingly, this piece was published one day after I purchased another 405 Mi16 (this time a 1991; previous one was a 1989 model) to use as a daily driver after seven years without one. I may be biased, but they really are a fantastic car. Take care of them properly and they're far from a nightmare, but get one that's been monkeyed with and you can be in for quite a bit of agony. The first one I ever drove was a non-turbo diesel. Slow, but was still a great car to drive - handled well, had great steering and brakes, was *very* comfortable, and routinely managed something in the region of 45mpg (Imperial) at a constant 70-80mph. On moving to the US, my first car was a 1989 405DL. Base model - power nothing (apart from the steering), cloth seats, and the 4-speed auto. The A/C worked surprisingly well, but I eventually decided that the button that activated it actually stood for 'acceleration control', because activating it was more than the combination of the 110bhp and autobox could were really up to. Still, was an excellent highway cruiser (once you got it up to speed), and was sadly totalled in a hit-and-run. Had Peugeot known how to approach the US market properly, this car could potentially have saved their bacon. Bringing in the 205 and 605 would also have helped, but in the end it didn't matter. A comeback would be nice, but it's hard to see how their products would offer anything in this day and age that an established marque already doesn't.

  • ToolGuy I appreciate the thoughtful comments from the little people here, and I would like to remind everyone that Ford Motor Company offers a full range of vehicles which are ideal for any driving environment including New York City. The size and weight our of product portfolio has been fully and completely optimized to be friendly to the planet and friendly to pedestrians while consuming the bare minimum of resources from our precious planet (I am of course a lifelong environmentalist). Plus, our performance models will help you move forward and upward by conquering obstacles and limits such as congestion and your fellow humans more quickly at a higher rate of speed. I invite you to learn more at our website.Signed, William Clay Ford Jr.
  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting#cite_note-auto-1][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriorshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.