The Peugeot 205
was a small hatchback
car manufactured by the Peugeot
car company between 1983 and 1997. It is the model widely credited with resurrecting the company's flagging sales in European countries outside its native France
. The 205, with bodywork designed by Pinnifarina
, was available in a number of variants, including two-door
-engined and the sporty GTI
models. Initially made in France
, production for the right hand drive British
market shifted to Britain
shortly after introduction. Production of the flagship GTI
models continued in France
The 205 was a particular success because it offered a relatively 'big car' feel and was quite sophisticated compared to its rivals, the Ford XR2/XR3 and the Vauxhall Nova. In its GTI form, it rivalled the legendary Volkswagen Golf GTI - the original hot-hatch - for the title 'King of the GTIs'. A high power-to-weight ratio was afforded by a high-revving 1.6 litre, fuel-injected engine. Couple this with sophisticated suspension and steering setups and a 'wheel at each corner' design and you end up with a hard-driving, fast, fun car with excellent handling. If you liked to frequently view your car stuck in a ditch with its arse in the air, you could opt for the 'big brother' GTI - the 1.9 litre "Wolf in wolf's clothing", as the adverts put it. This car re-wrote the definition of 'torque steer'.
Peugeot manufactured a rally version of the 205, called the T16. This was a turbocharged variant intended for competition use only and was succesful for several seasons in the Paris - Dakar Rally.
In my opinion, the 205 bore the hallmark of a truly great design: Aside from some minor tweaks, including cosmetic modifications to the dashboard and tail light cluster, the design remained unchanged, and the benchmark for competing designs, for the whole of its life cycle. Quite a feat in the world of car design.