Crapwagon Outtake: 1989 Peugeot 405 Mi16
Like every morning, I woke up yesterday, showered, and thumbed through my saved searches on eBay. When I saw a hit on my “Peugeot” search, I had a feeling it would be another crusty old bicycle, destined to become a fixie for some hipster that imports Gitanes.
Not this time.
I quickly clicked “Add To Watch List” and shuffled the kids to the bus stop, hoping the Pug that looked awesome on my tiny phone would turn out as nice once I got to a 24-inch LCD.
They say never meet your heroes. They should also say to never buy a car from within the eBay app. To be fair, the seller of this 1989 Peugeot 405 Mi16 does disclose that there are plenty of issues: it doesn’t run and might have a broken timing belt, which means bent valves and possibly scored pistons on this interference engine. There are scrapes and dents in the sheetmetal, and cracks on the bumpers. Oh, and rust.
I have to balance my Francophile enthusiasm with my serious lack of money and storage space. I see some fanatics restore old Porsches and Mustangs, retaining little beyond the VIN plate and replacing everything else. In comparison, this can’t be that daunting of a project, especially when there are marque specialists like Peugeot Holm here in the States. They’re still making the 405 in Iran, so parts can’t be that hard to come by with the right combination of patience and money.
Unlike many of my other automotive muses, a 405 Mi16 could be a reasonable daily driver, hauling the kids to their various activities when I don’t feel like using the minivan. Still, $1,200 might be too much when there is likely another $4,000 bill to make this heap right.
It doesn’t mean I’ll stop dreaming.
Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.
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