In 1989, AutoWeek magazine shipped me over to France to cover the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Fortunately, through connections at Peugeot, I was able to borrow a 205 GTi for the week. Even with only a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, the 5-speed manual gearbox and the car’s wonderful dynamic capabilities made for a lot of fun doing laps around the Arc de Triomphe and on the narrow, winding rural roads of western France.
And unlike the car I drove in France a few decades ago, this ’88 205 has the larger 1.9-liter engine — just like the one in the 205 owned by Stirling Moss.
Say what? That’s right. Moss, one of the greatest racing drivers of all time, owned a 205 GTi back in the late 1980s. Actually, he had one with the 1.6 and liked it so much he stepped up to another with the 1.9, primarily, it seems, because of that engine’s greater torque.
The Pick of the Day also has a new clutch so its 5-speed manual can make full use of the available power.
“Considered by many to sit right at the top of hot-hatch hierarchy, these cars have taken on an almost mythical quality in the decades since the end of production,” the seller notes in the car’s advertisement. “The fact that they were never sold here in North America only adds to their desirability.
“This one is in very good condition, drives perfectly, and offers impressive performances.”
The car rides on factory alloy wheels, has a sunroof, power windows, and reupholstered front seats.
The seller reports buying the car from a friend who lived on Corsica, thus the emblems on the car’s Euro license plates.
Back in 1989, my report for AutoWeek on the car noted that, “In a competitive class of small cars rarely sold in the U.S., the 205 GTi is the standard by which others are measured… the only thing wrong with (the) 205 GTi is that we can’t buy one here.”
But now someone can.
The car, with around 120,000 miles on its odometer, is being offered for $17,900.