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V.I.S.I.T. – 1989 Peugeot 505S V6

Jay Ramey January 17, 2013 V.I.S.I.T. - Vehicles I Saw In Traffic 30 Comments

pug 505s 1

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.

pug 505s 2

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.

  • Vavon

    It was supposed to be a family look… However the rear-lights of the 405 put a stop to that.

    <img src="http://indianautosblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/peugeot_309_india.jpg&quot; width="670/">

  • marmer01

    Yeah, I recognized it immediately from the back. It's a Volvo. šŸ˜‰

    • Jay_Ramey

      Heheh, I thought it was some 80s Audi when I first saw this car from the back, in the interstate photo. I was like "huh, is that a 100?"

  • M44Power

    Seriously need to stop with the French car temptations. My wife won't let me in the house if I wind up buying a Frenchie.

  • Hmm. There's a 505 brochure in the archive. Wonder if it contains anything worth me being snarky about?

    • Yes, there is. I know this.

    • Jay_Ramey

      Heh, it's def worth a look, but from what I recall the Peugeot adverts in the states were surprisingly restrained, they didn't really go for the hard sell or compare their cars to their competitors.

      Domestic adverts from the time were all about trumping the competition with minute advantages in all sorts of ridiculous numbers, like "our tail lights are totally 12% bigger so you get a better value for your money!"

  • Van_Sarockin

    How many people does it take to make a 'Peugot Circle'? Seems like a koan as profound as 'What's the sound of one hand clapping?'

    • I can clap with one hand. Seriously. I'll post a video.

    • Jay_Ramey

      The minimum number shrunk a bit after Cash for Clunkers, I'm afraid. So it's like down a minimum of three owners in one single county who, uhh, see each other in traffic once every few months.

  • Here's another piece of 505 trivia for you. There was one 1989 turbo 505 that was converted from auto to manual by the dealer in Redwood City, California, so there were once 15 of them on the road here. The converted car was still on the road as of last year.

    • Jay_Ramey

      Whoa, now that's an ever rarer piece of trivia. Definitely did not know this.

  • Dr. Fine

    I always got a kick out of following 604's to see which lights came on when the brakes were hit. It would usually be two or three on each side, but never the same left to right.

    <img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6191/6042206846_aba93703e2_o.jpg&quot; width="500">

    • The 505 is worse, with a horrible printed circuit board that holds all the light bulbs. Intermittent connections were the norm both at the wiring harness's edge connector and at the rivets holding the sockets to the board.

      I fixed mine by running wires to the sockets and using a sealed Metri-Pack connection to the vehicle harness.

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        Since Dale always shows -188*E as the outside temperature I instead use the indicator lamp under the cluster that looks somewhat like a beetle to let me know if it's cold or really cold outside. I think Dale must have been a Journey fan in a previous life. Or what you write may be going on here too, maybe.

  • Rabin

    As the owner of an 89' 505 Turbo 5-sp I'm surprised I missed this article. Nice. I also run http://www.505turbo.com and can assure you there are at least 12 – 13 of us. šŸ˜›

    As for the hooning content – check out how I did in a winter rallycross against a bunch of Subaru's: http://www.505turbo.com/forum/index.php?/topic/24

    <img src="http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z202/FatBastardRacing/Jan%201%202013%20Winter%20Rallycross/33IMG_5982_zps1d9767e2.jpg"&gt;

    As for the comparison to the 3er Jay, I fully agree with that print add. šŸ™‚