By on July 26, 2018

The Rare Rides series will always have space for unique French cars. It’s featured several Renault vehicles and a couple of Citroëns to date, but only one Peugeot, to my recollection. That one, a 106 GTI, was an import to Canada by an enthusiastic second-hand buyer. Today we feature a second Peugeot: one actually sold by a dealer, brand new, in America.

It’s the hottest 405 sold in the U.S. — the excellently named Mi16.

Introduced for the 1987 model year, the 405 was a consolidation effort on the part of Peugeot. The large (for Europe) family sedan was a replacement for the aged (and smaller) 305 sedan, and the aged (and larger) 505 sedan. Upon the 405’s introduction Peugeot continued production of its predecessors for a few years. The old sedans wore their sheet metal in a much heavier and more serious way than the slick, Pininfarina-designed 405.

With much confidence in its new family car, Peugeot released 10 different variations. There was a front-drive version, an all-wheel drive version (Mi16x4), and in 1988 an estate was added to the lineup.

North America was more limited in its 405 selection, as one might expect of niche French car offerings on the continent. Available from the latter part of 1988, the base DL and mid-level S trims were complimented by the range-topping Mi16. The lower two trims were also available in a now-hen’s-teeth Sportswagen.

The 405 found immediate success in Europe, especially in the home French market. North America was a completely different story. By the late 1980s, Peugeot’s North American sales were dwindling as the 505 model aged into oblivion.  The 405 was sort of a last-ditch effort to turn the brand’s fortunes around, after the company decided not to import the sporty 205 hatchback.

In 1990 Peugeot managed 4,261 sales in North America, followed by a drop to 2,240 between January and July of 1991. Shuttering a business opened in 1958, Peugeot ended its North American operations entirely and headed back home.

Today’s Rare Ride in gorgeous emerald is a 405 Mi16. Powered by a 1.9-liter inline-four producing 160 horsepower, horses travel to the front wheels via the five-speed manual transmission. With a high 203,000 miles, the owner offers a full binder of service paperwork as a testament to their faithful care of this rare Peugeot.

Said seller is presently asking $7,500 (a lot), but it’d be tough to find another in this condition.

[Images: seller]

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22 Comments on “Rare Rides: A 1991 Peugeot 405 Mi16, the Last-ever New Peugeot in America...”


  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Yes, that is a lot, but I absolutely love the car. I wouldn’t pay over $7k for it, but I’d really enjoy having it. Its handsome and unique, and it has 3 pedals.

    In a word: Excellent.

    • 0 avatar
      Ermel

      It’s all these things, and also really rather quick. I still wouldn’t want one though, because here in Europe we got that same 1.9 litre 16 valve engine in the Citroen BX 16S as well, which has the added benefits of hydropneumatic suspension, a somewhat smaller and lighter hatchback body, quirky styling, and an even more ridiculously overdone rear wing. Those $7.5k would buy a nice 16S here; about the Mi16, I couldn’t say.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I think $3k would still be high for the miles, but worth considering. This is applicable to the U.S. market, where its rarity and uniqueness are both points in the + and – columns.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I’ve always had a soft spot for these, but I’m sure I’d spend $7,500. I guess it depends on what’s in the service records (what’s been replaced and when).

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    I liked these when they came out and considered buying. The VW dealer picked up Peugeot, not sure anymore whether it was before or after their try with Sterling Rover. A little research revealed how few places existed to service them, and then I bought a Passat instead.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      They only had about 150 licensed dealers and I doubt many were “stand alone” Peugeot outfits. They probably got one spot of floor space at “auto mall” type places. Unless they were bulletproof like Toyota or Honda they were going to have serious service issues.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    In the 80’s there was a manager above mine who had a nice 505 turbo. Nice riding sport sedan comparable to a 5 series however reliability could be an issue.
    The Peugeot dealer in my area like many was not a stand alone it was part of a Chrysler and British Leyland concern.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Logging into this site is about as reliable as a 27 year old European car with no service records. When is it going to get corrected?

    Peugeot Canada’s head office was for many years located on Progress Avenue in Scarborough (the east end of Toronto). One weekend night in the late 1970’s, a couple of yahoos climbed the fence around the compound at the back of the building, discovered that the keys were in many of the brand new cars parked back there and staged their own private demolition derby.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Logging into this site is about as reliable as a 27 year old European car with no service records. When is it going to get corrected?

      Yeah this carp is getting old. Login – nope it’s not showing up logged in. OK click on a headline “yay it let me in” – comment hit post – damn it logged out. Click on “Recent Comments” oh wait I am really logged in…

      Oy…

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      We’re aware and working on it.

    • 0 avatar
      ThomasSchiffer

      Any 27-year-old car is going to have wear and tear issues. Those can hardly be considered ‘reliability issues’ since it should be expected that by this age the material fatigue has taken its toll.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @Thomas: Rhetorically which 27 year old vehicle would you trust more, a British designed/manufactured vehicle like an XJ-S (with no service records) or a 3800 engined GM product (with full service documentation?

        As per the definition: ‘the quality of being trustworthy or of performing consistently well.’

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    Pretentious french junk. I’d rather have a Citroen. At least their convoluted engineering was used to make something better. This is just the equivalent of a Toyoduh Camry with a bit of Bearnaise sauce.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    According to Wikipedia a small pick-up based on this platform is still being manufactured in Iran. And the 405 is still in production in Egypt. Is this correct?

  • avatar
    Hogey74

    These were always a good driving car IMO. The French attitude resulted in pleasant, comfortable cars to be in. At that age though, I’ve only seriously considered certain BMW straight sixes. Still am!

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    In Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt (countries which I have visited) these and other older Peugeots (usually the 504 and 505) are still common sights and used as taxis. The bodies are bent and falling apart and some have rust issues but the drivetrains are durable and reliable.

    Reliability also means that a particular car is easy to service and easy to repair/maintain. And in these case of these ‘Third World’ nations it also means that their local garages can come up with quick and cheap fixes and create replacement parts for issues which may pop up.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      I think part of the problem that Peugeot had in the USA was that the maker had to meet a whole bunch of emission and safety laws. In addition, the cars were usually laden with automatics, A/C, and electrical accessories. I can see where low-spec Peugeots might be practical and reliable in Africa, Asia, etc. but I wonder how a US-spec would fare under the same conditions.

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        Good and valid points.

        However, I think if some complex but rather useless feature in a Peugeot in Africa have failed, the drivers would not be in a hurry to get them fixed. What matters to them is that the vehicle starts and drives from A to B and back.

        Interestingly, though, two of the legendary Mercedes W123 taxis I rode in in Egypt had automatic transmissions.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    The interior looks ridiculously like a Volvo 850. I’m fascinated, but not at that price.


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