The Art of the Humblebrag: 1984 Peugeot 505 STI

This ’84 Peugeot is an interesting car in its own right, but mostly I’m just amused by this ad. Specifying that the owner would “prefer to sell to [a] French car enthusiast,” the photos go to great pains to demonstrate what a new owner must live up to. It’s a classic humblebrag: under the auspices of selling one car, subtly (or not so subtly in the case of the gaggle of Citroëns above) show off all of your others. Incidentally, if you are a serious French car enthusiast, this Pug can be yours for $4,500, and note that while I linked to the slightly more coherently written Los Angeles ad, it’s also being advertised on its home craigslist site in Seattle (archived ad).

Little is said about what sets a 505 apart from other boxy Eurosedans, or what makes an STI a special 505—presumably a French car enthusiast would already know—other than that it was designed by Pininfarina. (Oh, that’s just my Saab 9000! That one was designed by Giugiaro, dontchaknow.) For the unenlightened, the STI was the “fully loaded” 505 sedan in ’84, although some of the station wagons and diesels were actually more expensive, with alloy wheels, a specially tuned suspension, and a leather interior. Its spot at the top of the gas-powered Peugeot food chain would be usurped with the arrival of the Turbo model in 1985, but for the year, this is as sporty and luxe as a 505 got.

The leather still looks luxe indeed, supple and free of major blemishes. The dash, too, appears to be uncracked. A view of the instrument panel raises a question: the ad gives the mileage as 160,000, but only 130K is shown on the odometer, so how old are these pictures? I’m always a bit suspicious of a seller who can’t be bothered to take new pictures; a 30,000 mile difference on a 30+ year old car could be a matter of several years’ additional wear and tear. Another potential disappointment is the fitment of an automatic transmission, not usually the best way to get the most out of 97 horsepower in a 3,000-pound car.

Still, this Peugeot should deliver on the comfort than French cars are legendary for, and it’s in unusually nice condition, especially considering the mileage. (You want unusual? How about a Renault Medallion station wagon, a model that was only sold for one year as a Renault in the U.S.! When was the last time you saw one of those? I mean, I see one every day….) Surely an avid automotive Francophile would be delighted to own it—as long as they can measure up!


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  1. Fred W.

    Never heard the term “Humblebrag” until today, but I sure do know a few folks who practice it!

  2. OA5599

    Lots of ways to read into that photo.

    Humblebrag is one way.

    Another is obviously this guy is efficiently saying with one photo he is a French Car enthusiast.

    If I’m buying a French car I’d rather buy car from a guy who can demonstrate knowledge and experience with obscure marques like Peugeot and Citroen. The picture shows he owns some French cars and might know something about them without having to awkwardly write about being knowledgeable.

    If I’m buying a Challenger, nothing wrong with seeing muscle cars in the picture. Is that “showing off ” too? It tells me I’m dealing with someone who might know something about what he is selling.

    My 2 cents.

  3. KevinR

    I know these cars quite well. While I was in college, my parents bought an ’85 505S with automatic. My boss at the time had a 505 turbo with a manual transmission and one of my best friend’s parents had an ’82 505 turbo diesel with stick.

    My parents kept theirs for 4 years, which was around 3 years and 6 months too long. The build quality on ours would have needed improvement to be considered only horrible. The list of failed systems is long and varied; I won’t bore everyone with the details. Interestingly, my friend’s ’82 was better in that regard.

    These cars are supremely comfortable and have an amazingly smooth ride. They are slow, particularly with the automatic, but adequate for traffic.

    I guess I can consider myself NOT a French car enthusiast.

  4. Shelli Anne

    I rather like this 505 STI , but then I’ve driven a Citroen ID 19,a Simca Aronde,a Simca 1000, and two Renault Dauphines and a Renault R 12. I guess I’m a bit biased in favor of French cars, they are the best riding small cars I’ve ever owned.

    • jcs

      In my experience, they great sitting cars. They didn’t run long enough or far enough to be considered “great riding” cars.

  5. Jonathan J. Einhorn

    I bought a new 505 also. Looked beautiful but was a horrible car: usually back to the dealer every Monday with some electrical problem or another.

  6. Brakeservo

    Have always loved my Simcas! From a Topolino to an assortment of Arondes to a number of 1000’s I guess I never learned my lesson! But someone above referred to Citroen and Peugeot as obscure! Not in Europe or much of the rest of the world are they “obscure!!” We are NOT the center of the automotive world, as hard as that is to fathom.

  7. Mitch Ross Member

    I had a ’75 504 Wagon that I used as a livery cab in Brooklyn in the ’80s. never let me down. I also had a 505 Diesel that was an ex NYC yellow cab. I paid $300 for it, paintedit it tan at Earle Scheib for $200 and drove it as a livery cab too. These cars are just good normal cars, not particularly “French” in character, though that usually means “Citroen” and not all French cars were weird.

  8. Brakeservo

    To those who merely wish to ignorantly denigrate French cars, all I can say is Bugatti, Delage, Delahaye and Talbot-Lago.

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