If you don’t immediately recognize this car from the back from a distance (like I didn’t), that’s because the North American-market 1989 Peugeot 505 sedans, for reasons not well understood by scientists, arrived on our shores with European-spec tail lights and rear bumpers.
As much as I’d like to chalk up the random appearance of Euro-spec tail lights to sloppy spreadsheet work on Bull computers or some tooling snafu at the Sochaux plant, the reality is perhaps more mundane: it was a cheap way to facelift an aging car for the North American market. Unfortunately this sudden change didn’t extend to the headlights, which were still the somewhat awkward sealed beams. It’s easy to forget now, but 505 sales were getting so sluggish by this time that no 505 or 405 sedans were imported for the 1990 model year, as dealers couldn’t move the stock that they had.
The example seen here appeared to be in the top 50% of remaining 505s, condition wise. There was some flaked off paint on the trunklid, but that’s normal for this model. Among 505 aficionados in the US (all seven of them) the 1989 505 is among the most desirable variants, especially in Turbo guise which meant a pretty snazzy factory spoiler on the trunklid. The 505s weren’t very hot sellers back in the day, not to imply that there was any Peugeot in the late 80s that was an especially hot seller, but the 505 could often be found at pretty considerable discount.
Here’s an interesting bit of trivia about the 1989 505 in the states: a total of only 14 Turbo examples from that year came with a 5-speed manual transmission, and only six or seven examples are believed to have survived. Needless to say, those remaining six or seven cars are highly sought after in, ahem, American Peugeot circles, which once again totally makes it sound like there are more than a dozen people in those circles.
I saw one 1989 manual Turbo example recently at Carlisle Import Nationals in 2011, a car that had just been found in Virginia a few months prior and joined a stable of other Peugeots, including a 1984 604 GTD Diesel and a 505 Turbodiesel estate. I was surprised by how many people at Carlisle were aware of the 505 Turbo’s rarity, as I observed several people run up to the car and exclaim something like “Whoa, now is that one a 5-speed Turbo? There were only like fourteen of them imported!”
But then again, this is the Carlisle Import Nationals crowd that we’re talking about, so in retrospect I should not have been surprised by that. After all, people who will drive a Renault Alliance sedan from four states away and wear a shirt that says “will work for Renault parts” are likely the very individuals who will in fact know such trivia about the Peugeot 505 Turbo from 1989. And now you will too.