By on July 22, 2020

Rare Rides has featured a couple of Peugeot cars in previous entries. From the Nineties was the sporty front-drive 405 Mi16, which had the honor of being the last Peugeot model sold in the United States.

We also featured a Seventies Peugeot: The graceful 504, which was predecessor to today’s 505.

As the Seventies drew to a close, the 504 was showing its age. In production since 1968, 504 carried out its duties as Peugeot’s large family car offering. Only one car stood above it in the lineup: The executive class 604, which was based on the 504.

Though the 504 would continue in production in France through 1983, the successor 505 debuted in May of 1979. Based on the 504, the 505 was intended to be a more modern vehicle that carried off the same sturdy, reliable character as its parent. The 505’s styling was much more boxy than its predecessor, the result of a collaboration between the Italian firm Pininfarina and Peugeot’s own designers. They drew inspiration from the new 305 sedan’s styling, which was also penned by Pininfarina.

Peugeot hired another famous name for the interior: Paul Bracq. The French-born designer had substantial experience in automotive interiors, styling classics like the Mercedes 600, 230SL, the W108, and the W114 coupe. He also designed the TGV train before eventually becoming design director at BMW, where he worked on the all-new 7 Series.

Initially the only body style available was a four-door sedan, as work continued to prepare the wagon version for its 1982 debut. Not simply hatch and cargo area rework, the 505 wagon had a longer 114-inch wheelbase, which was six inches more than the sedan. The standard wagon was called Break in its home market, while the real family-hauling eight-seat version was known as Familiale. Perhaps unexpectedly, all three rows of the Familiale faced forward. As U.S. customers were not too familiale-er with French nomenclature, the name was adapted to SW8, for Station Wagon, 8 seats.

Other adaptations for North American consumers included a relocated fuel tank (which was filled from the right instead of the left), revised quad lamps at the front, and market-specific tail lamps prior to 1986. The headlights were eventually swapped out with composite versions when U.S. regulation caught up to the times. Engines offered in North America were a 2.0-liter inline-four, a 2.3-liter diesel (with optional turbo after 1981), and for 1985 onward, a gasoline-powered 505 Turbo model, which featured a 142-horsepower 2.2-liter four developed by Chrysler-Simca.

Peugeot refined the Turbo model over the years, and eventually it reached a peak power output of 180 horses. North America was the only market to receive such a turbo wagon. Globally, the 505 used three- and four-speed automatics, along with four- and five-speed manuals.

Finding the North American market unsustainable, Peugeot left in the middle of 1991 and went back home. The 504 persisted in European production through 1992, in Argentina through 1995, and in China it continued unabated until 1997. The last-ever rear-drive Peugeot, the 505’s official replacement was the front-drive 405 that started production in 1987.

Today’s Rare Ride is loaded up with leather (that desperately needs a detail) and an automatic transmission. In great condition and with 131,000 miles, the 505 asks $6,300.

[Images: seller]

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18 Comments on “Rare Rides: A 1986 Peugeot 505 Wagon – French and Turbocharged...”

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’ve always found the front end of this gen Pug quite striking. The design is very simple but beautiful with just the right amount of aggressive.
    The same cannot be said for the rest of the car – sedan or wagon – but they really got the front 1/4 right.

    A cute girl I was friends in high school drove a blue/gray 505 sedan and it has always stuck with me. Even if I can’t remember who she was.

  • avatar

    Always thought these were great looking. The wagons are super cool to a wagon lover, and they put that extra wheelbase to good use. I love a purposed wagon vs. strictly a sedan with a backpack.

  • avatar

    I seem to remember one of the attractions of this car was a very supple ride.

    I like it!

  • avatar

    Peugeot used to make pretty sturdy cars like this one. But they also made starting in the ’60s a series of tin boxes in their 2 and 3 series. They didn’t bother exporting them to North America. When the tissue paper 4 series arrived in North America in the late ’80s, it was easy to see the writing on the wall. Three years of that nonsense and Peugeot departed, its tail between its legs.

    • 0 avatar

      Peugeot departed because the early ’90s recession killed them just like all the other Euro makes, but they were just too small here to survive the loss of sales and the investment needed to meet the looming airbag mandate in the US for such a small number of sales. The 405 was a perfectly fine car for it’s class, basically a French VW Passat.

      Ultimately, Peugeot was very much like a French Mercedes, in that the US impression of them was a maker of luxury cars, when in reality they made everything from the shopping trolley 100-series to big luxury expresses.

      It’s really quite sad that there are so few left-field choices available today. Variety is the spice of life.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed, krhodes1. It’s a shame they’re not available in the States, as they’ve had some good offerings over the years. Given a few different twists of fate, it’s maybe conceivable they could have established a permanent foothold a la Audi or BMW? Some sort of 1980s yuppy snob ad blitz with a French or Anglo-French celebrity might’ve helped. (Wait, what?! Catherine Deneuve was in a Mercury ad?

        As I’ve mentioned in a few Peugeot threads of the past, my friends are three for three in getting good ones:
        – a family friend in the States was probably one of the last couple dozen people daily-driving a 505.
        – A friend in London (and to your point about a wider range in Europe) had a 205 that was a decent car.
        – London friend upgraded from the 205 to a 307cc. That car was a good example of something the scribes nitpicked at but was a great car for her as a real-world owner. There are worse things in the world than riding around London on a nice summer evening with your retractable hardtop down.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m really curious as to where you’re forming your opinions of the front-drive cars from. Having owned a number of 205s, a 309, and four 405s (including two Mi16s), none of those are what I would describe as ’tissue paper’. If anything, they’re cars that are light for their size with generally-robust drivetrains.

      The reality (and I say this sitting about eight feet away from a 505 parked in the driveway) is that the rear-drive cars had run their course by the 1990s. Peugeot needed to modernise, and spent the 1980s effectively doing that.

      While I have the soapbox: regarding Peugeot’s departure from the US, this came down to a completely and utterly stupid move on Peugeot’s behalf. US dealers were being made to take two eight-valve 405s for every Mi16 they ordered. Nobody was buying the 8-valve cars, good though they also were. When the dealers banded together and petitioned Peugeot to remove this requirement, Peugeot’s response was pull about two-thirds of their franchises back from the dealers.

      This absolutely decimated the dealer network in the US, and they never recovered their presence after that; within two years, they pulled out of the US market. This was after developing federalised versions of the 605 and working on adapting other models for the North American market.

  • avatar

    The 405Mi16 was the last new Peugeot model introduced, but Peugeot sold both 405s and 505s through the 1992 model year in the US in very small numbers (not that they ever sold anything here in large numbers).

    I owned what was probably the LAST 505 SW8 sold in the US, and the only one ’92 wagon in the US with a manual transmission. It was a special order in late ’92 by a guy in Rhode Island who had owned Peugeots for 25 years, supposedly it came over in the very last shipment ever. I bought it in ’98. That car was powered by the other gasoline engine option, the 2.2L non-turbo motor with 120hp. It was not fast, but it was willing. Just a lovely car. Like an idiot I sold it and bought my first Saab 900T.

    My original Euro car love was these big Peugeots. I had three 504s, one sedan and two wagons, all ’79 diesels, two turbodiesel 505 wagons, both ’83s, an ’85 turbodiesel sedan with the one year only 2.5L motor (much faster), and the SW8. Selling my ’79 504D sedan after a job loss is probably my biggest automotive regret.

  • avatar

    > The headlights were eventually swapped out with sealed beams when U.S. regulation caught up to the times.

    Actually, sealed beams are what antiquated U.S. laws required until 1983. The early US-spec 505s used quad round sealed beams which looked quite nice nestled in the surrounding molding shaped like the rest-of-world spec headlamp shape. Later U.S. 505s switched to the single rectangular sealed beams seen here, which gave them a square-peg-in-oblong-hole look, but square headlights were considered de rigueur in the early ’80s

  • avatar

    “Engines offered in North America were a 2.0-liter inline-four, a 2.3-liter diesel (with optional turbo after 1981), and for 1985 onward, a gasoline-powered 505 Turbo model, which featured a 142-horsepower 2.2-liter four developed by Chrysler-Simca.”

    Couple of additions: in 1986, the 2.0-litre XN6 pushrod motor was replaced by the 2.2-litre OHC unit. However, there were some cars sold in 1987 (the Liberté edition 505 wagon springs to mind) with the 2.0.

    Also in 1986/7, for one year only, the diesel was available as an all-new 2.5-litre turbo. It’s a great match for the 505, particularly if you add in an intercooler.

    Finally, there’s the 505 V6, with a 2.8-litre version of the PRV V6. An excellent car for long Interstate drives.

  • avatar

    I wanted one of these SO badly when they appeared!

    But I already had a paid-for 1982 Saab 900S.

    By the time it made sense to trade “up”, Peugeot was gone!

  • avatar

    I can’t imagine how sluggish the 2.0 OHV engine was in these relatively large vehicles, especially the wagon with only 97 HP and 116 torque on tap. Consumer Guide said the stick was a must. The diesel made only 80 horses but more torque.

    • 0 avatar

      The 2.0 (designated XN6) actually wasn’t bad by the standards of the time. However, this is one area where I’ll agree with Consumer Guide: pair it with the manual, not the 3-speed auto. I’ve owned / driven both, and the automatic lacks the surprising sprightliness the 5-speed has.

      The XN6 is also an incredibly long-lived engine if looked after. The hemi-head pushrod motors Peugeot started using after WW2 were extremely robust, and I’ve seen more than a couple sitting at mileages between three and four hundred thousand.

      Trivia: Peugeot obtained the rights to build the Mercedes G-Wagen as the P4 and sell it to the French military. One of the changes Peugeot made included using their own engines; a derivative of the XN6 was used for the petrol-engined models.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I really like the blue interior. I miss the choice of interior colors. It is getting to the point where even tan and gray interiors are getting scarce with the only choice being black.

  • avatar

    My wife’s aunt who lived in Atlanta had a Peugeot 505 sedan as a daily driver in the early 2000s. When she dropped our family off at Hartsfield for our flight home, I recall asking her to ring me first if she ever considered selling it, but alas the last I heard something mechanical went bad (details unknown) and she sold it to the garage that had regularly serviced it.

    That said, my exposure to that car got me interested in Peugeots in general, and I soon subscribed to a Peugeot mailing list that featured one fantastic fellow, known as Peugeot Pete (RIP), who was quite the expert with a heart of gold, regularly dispensing wisdom about all things automotive and Peugeots in particular. He even had parts details on microfiche and would look anything up to help someone in need. Pete was the glue that held that community together and demonstrated the benefits of online communities for people with niche interests, especially in the days before social media.

    My last Peugeot story: my wife and I rented a 208 on our UK trip last year (manual transmission, of course): it was the perfect car for that environment–we stayed in Hayes (West London) and drove the hell out of it: did a trip within a trip to Edinburgh (stayed overnight), then hit a beach in Wales on the way back the following day. Did day trips on the side to Brighton and Oxford. Practical hatchback with great handling and a decent feature level; it was narrow enough to handle some physically tight driving situations, both in urban areas (though we didn’t drive in central London) as well as a stereotypical one-lane hedgerow driving path (it’d be generous to call it a road), just south of Stonehenge.

    If that 208 were sold in US I’d not hesitate to buy it. I was sad when we had to turn it in at the end of the trip, and by then we were reasonably comfortable with driving on the other side of the road whilst sitting on the other side of the car and shifting with the other hand.

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