Could this car be the most expensive production Peugeot ever? With a sticker price of £175,000 (AUD$300,000), this 1984 Peugeot 205 T16 presents a compelling case.
One of just 200 homologation specials built in order for the French carmaker to compete in the World Rally Championship, the transverse mid-mounted 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine pumped out around 150kW to all four wheels.
With a miserly 12,266kms on the odometer since new, this example was delivered to Peugeot’s office in Italy to serve as a press car and has featured in several magazine articles over the years.
In Group B WRC-spec, the 205 T16 conquered all before it. Under the stewardship of now FIA president Jean Todt, the French won both the 1985 and ’86 world drivers’ and constructors’ championships.
While the outward appearance of the T16 is largely in-line with the styling of its tamer road-going 205 GTi sister - ancestor to today's 208 GTi - the similarity ends there. Wider wheel arches gave the T16 a mean stance on the road, while the whole rear section of the car is lifted up in order to provide access to the engine.
And you can give up any thoughts of riding four-up in the T16, with the rear seats ditched in order to accommodate the rally-bred engine.
Just 200 examples were built, all left-hand drive and all were finished in dark grey - except for the very first production example, VIN P1, which was painted white.
Peugeot’s iconic 205 redefined the hot hatch in the mid-1980s and is now undergoing something of a renaissance. Recently, a silver 1989 GTi with just 12,852kms on the clock sold for a claimed world record price of £30,938 (AUD$53,000) in the UK.
And now Peugeot Australia has joined the party with its own example of the 1989 205 GTi, a stunning red example that it has painstakingly restored. Recently unveiled as part of the Peugeot Club of New South Wales’ All-French Car Day, the red GTi was entered in competition and took out the award for Best 205 GTi.
The car’s restoration saw it stripped to bare metal and resprayed. Exterior plastics were refurbished and the alloy wheels sand-blasted and completely reconditioned and shod with period-correct Michelin tyres.
Peugeot Genuine Parts were used wherever possible in the restoration, which also merged modern technology and artisan skills with 3D printing used to reproduce smaller parts that are no longer available. The steering wheel was completely restored by hand with new leather and even the instrument panel dials were hand-painted as part of the interior restoration.
“Vehicles of this era are now more popular than ever and finding a good example is a challenge. It’s part of the reason we decided to restore an Australian-delivered 205 GTi,” said Peugeot Australia’s National Marketing and Communications Manager, Dimitri Andreatidis.
“Over the last year our technical and aftersales teams have worked with external parties to see this vehicle returned to its former glory
“We wanted to ensure we remained faithful to the history of the vehicle so in some places we have left the original paint and patina to reflect its faithful 230,000kms and 27 years of service,” he added.
The car will remain in the hands of Peugeot Australia and will be used for marketing and media purposes.
Peugeot 206 T16 images from markdonaldson.com