Peugeot 505

V.I.S.I.T.: Peugeot 505 that is registered and still runs and drives

Let’s bring back this oldie – V.I.S.I.T., or Vehicles I See In Traffic. If that sounds familiar it’s because there is a Facebook group with the same name, which was named after this series of Hooniverse posts. The most hilarious thing is that I am persona non grata in that group after I said that a Smart Car EV was dumb and I upset some dude who had one.

Anyway, the other day, while coming out of my storage facility I froze in place when I gazed upon the parking lot in front of the building. Staring at me was French car – a Peugeot! Not just any Peugeot but a “luxurious” 505 STX V6!

According to wikipedia, this 505 had such luxuries as power steering, central locking doors, and air conditioning. Peek inside and you’ll notice the automatic transmission shifter surrounded by leather seats. This thing is so Euro that if you own you’re only allowed to drink espressos and red wine.

peugeot 505

The PRV V6 engine needs a paragraph for itself. Made by Française de Mécanique for PSA, Renault and Volvo, versions of it powered a surprising number of cars. Renault Alpine, Eagle Premier, DMC DeLorean, Citroen XM, and various Volvos had a version of this boat anchor under the hood. It was available in varying compression rations and cylinder head configurations, hence its popularity. peugeot 505

Generally, this 505 was in a pretty, original condition. It had wear and tear, and the paint was aged but it ran. It was registered, insured, and it passed inspection. Most importantly, it moved under its own power. Whatever your feelings are about 1980s French cars, ya gotta respect that.

17 Comments

  1. “Whatever your feelings are about 1980s French cars…”

    I own a 1980s French car, so I’ll go with ‘serene indifference to the constraints of objective reality.’

    1. Try owning three. Drinking wine appeals enormously in coping with objective reality. And serenity.

      1. I’m currently at one ’70s French car, one ’80s French car, and two ’70s French-engined cars, so I’m not sure I can afford very much more serenity and/or wine just now.

        1. It helps living in one of the world’s better wine growing regions, )up to the first two bottles anyway.)

    2. As a former 205 GTI owner – the bestest, fastest biscuit tin I’ve owned, when the only German bits of the car, the Bosch electrics wasn’t letting the side down.

  2. My good friend and college roommate during our sophomore and junior years drove a 1985 505 STi turbo diesel, silver over black, with a 5-speed manual. We called it the “French Tank” because of how solid it felt. I really liked the car, actually, but my friend eventually sold it and drove a Saab 900 Turbo during our senior year. (For comparison, at the time I was driving a 1971 AMC Matador sedan, white over blue, with a 304 V8. I paid $350 for it.)

    I always thought a 505 with an LS swap would make a great sleeper.

  3. I see the Mass plate and have to ask, Were you anywhere near Union Square, Somerville? The Souza Brothers in the flatiron corner of Newton and Prospect streets (across from Dunkin’ Donuts, natch) have always been big into Peugeots.
    When I lost control of my ’63 Scout ( https://jalopnik.com/this-was-the-right-rear-wheel-falling-off-5609631 ) part of my plan to not go careening into a major intersection was to stack it into one of the Souza’s Peugies, figuring the insurance claim on totaling a parked 405 wouldn’t be that much. The view down the hill to Souza’s is still burned into my memory.

    (I can’t believe that ‘Garage of Horror’ story is still up on the web.)

    1. Thanks for sharing that great read!

      My association to these cars will always be a wasted weekend when my youngest was just half a year old or so. You know, the time when you normally get a few minutes off to listen to your own thoughts every other week.

      I found a gorgeous late 70s 504 a good distance from my home, on a friday morning. Dark green paint, tan seats, my favourite combo. Good price for a complete car. Photographed in the rain, so I called and asked for proper photos. The seller was an 80 yo man, telling me there was no rust and the paint was good, didn’t know how to send photos, as someone else took them for him. He was the foreman of the local stave church society. I trusted every word he said – after all, why would an 80 yo trusted pillar of his community be anything but upright?

      Jumping on the 12 hour bus ride, I called and texted friends along the road that I’d visit, and spend the night at some. After an additional 2 hour ferry ride, I get close to the shore…about half a kilometre away, I spot the seller and his car waiting for me.

      His car that instead of rockers has gaping holes adorned with brown crusts. No clear coat on any panel, really. Lifting the carpet, I could see the road we’re driving on. It was a good ride, but here I was in no position to acquire so much work. As a fresh father, I didn’t even find the pleasure in scolding that old man for his dickery – too tired. So off I went saying hello to the same confused long distance bus driver – “shortest stay in Trondheim I have seen!” – with nothing in my baggage but a lesson in trust.

      1. Having lived in Trondheim for 3 years, I can understand your willingness to get away again.

        Uncle in Indonesia had a 505, so I have many memories from the 80s and 90s of being in the back while we drove from Jakarta to Pekalongan and Semarang. Looking after it did seem like a full time job though.

        1. Haha, Trondheim isn’t the prettiest place to be, but the surroundings are awesome. Why did he live there? I’m writing this from the Bergen area with 200+ days of rain per year, so I guess I am in no position to lash out, really.

          It is my understanding that Peugeot went from being a Mercedes competitor – in approach and style, not necessarily in price – taking a step down the ladder somewhere between the 504 and 505. Can’t say I am an expert in all things Peugeot though, and acquiring a Hyundai from before Hyundai ruled the roost has really kept my mind busy lately.

  4. I’ve seen this particular 505 in the Boston metro area several times. It’s in nice shape and I had been tempted to knock on the owner’s door when it was parked in Cambridge to see if the owner wanted to sell.

  5. Given the population density of college professors, I imagine that all six surviving Peugeots in the US are in the greater Boston area.

  6. I know nothing of Peugeots – except for a visit to France I don’t think I have ever seen one in the wild. However, I was raised on the legend of the 404 as THE indestructible vehicle. Vehicle of choice in Africa I was told, where it was used for everything from dump truck to troop transport. A car you could keep running running in places where even the screwdriver was an alien concept.

    I therefore formed a conception of Peugeots as the sane space between the cynical concoction of cigarette-pack tinfoil and fairy dust that comprise a Renault (I have a small but poignant acquaintance with Renaults) and the absinthe-induced-madness that is Citroen (I was exposed at an early age to a Goddess; our neighbor had to have a mechanic flown in from Atlanta, twice, before he gave up).

    Am I wrong? Am I about to lose another childhood hero to bitter reality? The last time that happened was in my freshman college history course when they told me about George Wa- No! Even now, I don’t want to think about it. Some legends should remain unexamined…

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