There I was, just driving along and minding my own beeswax in northern Mass, until a familiar (to me) shape flew by in the corner of my eye. I doubled back and sure enough, it was a Pew-joe sedan sitting in an empty lot. A closer inspection revealed that this was in all likelihood a 505 STI that may or may not have been converted to diesel at some point, which went a great deal towards explaining why this tired example was sitting in an unpaved lot all by itself.
Diesel Poozhoes were not especially popular in the mid-80s, as it was morning again in America and gas was cheap again. So a BMW 5er-sized saloon was not an appealing buy with 80bhp on tap. Sure, Detroit still marketed oil burners in the 80s, but that was largely a case of cars coming to market years after the economic conditions that made diesels appealing had started to wane.
This example looked like it had been sitting for a few weeks. The sides were surprisingly clean, though the hood and trunk had an impressive amount of dirt and tree gunk on it that seemed to have been baked into the paint a bit. Despite the somewhat scruffy condition, the tires looked like the car was a runner, or had been till it had been placed here, plateless.
The “Peugeot” and “STI” badges on the right side of the trunklid were sitting in wrong positions, and the Turbo Diesel badge looked like it was off something else entirely, so there is was no immediate way to tell just what this tired sedan had underhood.
Diesel engines weren’t offered on US-market 505s after 1986, which means this car, if it was indeed diesel, was made between the 1983 and 1986 model years. So this may either have the XD3T or XD2S turbodiesel engine, producing 80 and 95hp respectively.
I’m hearing from stateside Peugeot owners (all thirty seven of them) that parts are getting harder and harder to find, even compared with five years ago. Peugeot actually kept an office in northern NJ until a few years ago that had a small fleet of modern Peugeot models used by its employees. The purpose of the office was to help out owners of remaining cars to source parts, but that office has been closed for a few years now from what I hear.
Some of the more “important” parts, like transmission and exhaust, are beginning to be tough to source, to the point that an acquaintance of mine actually went from running a 505 wagon to a Citroen CX as a weekend “truck” for making dump runs. True story. And one that’s perhaps coming soon to a Hooniverse article near you.