French Connection: Peugeot 505 Collection

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Among the makes and models of cars I’ve never owned, there is a glaring hole in the section devoted to French vehicles. I’m not sure why, but circumstances have never aligned wherein I’ve had the chance to buy one of these delightful oddballs. Other folks are quite passionate about them, however, as this seller demonstrates who has collected no fewer than three of the most distinctive models: a wagon (shown here), a desirable Turbo model; and a turbo diesel. That’s an enthusiast who has a very specific gamplan as it relates to owning the most desirable models of the 505 line. Find the listing here on craigslist with prices ranging from $500 to $1,500.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Rick P. for the find. For me, the one to own is the turbocharged wagon, shown above. If circumstances materialized that I was able to own one of these cars, the wagon would beckon, as it’s an extremely handsome design and you can’t beat the utility of the longroof. Here’s what always stops me, however, from pursuing this fantasy: nobody wants to work on old French cars anymore, and as someone who routinely consults the advice of an expert, I’d be in a tough spot in short order bringing one of these back to life. The turbocharged sedan is the hot ticket if you want the performance car of the bunch, and it’s equipped with the preferred manual gearbox.

None of the 505s seem to be past the point of saving, but none of them run or drive to the point that they be driven home. Each car has at least some mechanical fault that requires they be fired up with starting fluid, and the diesel doesn’t fire at all due to a faulty starter. But the interiors look pretty decent and the bodies aren’t rusty, owing to their location in the Pacific Northwest. The seller also points out that the wagon and turbo car are nicely optioned with sunroofs and other features, and that the cabins are in good shape. The interiors do look pretty good, with no obvious signs of dampness or destroyed upholstery. The dash in the turbo four-door does have some cracks, however.

I spotted one of these diesel sedans at a little used car lot / salvage yard a few months ago, and it looked like an absolute survivor. I felt like I should go in and at least look at it to see if it could be had cheaply. But then – what to do with it? A diesel sedan of this vintage will not be quick, and the 505 in stock, non-turbo form isn’t exactly known for being a road-holder. And even if the apocalypse should come and we’re all trying to run our cars on vegetable grease, a diesel Peugeot likely isn’t the best choice for a bugout vehicle. So, just buy one because you want a French project your neighbor won’t have, and given the prices seem reasonable for non-rusty examples with a good chance of running again, this guy’s stash of forgotten 505s seems like a good place to start.

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  1. alphasudMember

    I’m with you Jeff. The wagon would be my first pick followed by the turbo sedan. Good looking car whose design has aged well. My first pick while not seen here would be the 405 16V with a manual transmission.

    Like 6
  2. Skorzeny


    Like 5
  3. karel van der bijl

    That is the same with American cars in Europe .

    Like 13
  4. Derek

    These are nice cars – excellent visibility due to the thin pillars. The turbo’s quite quick, but they’re quite softly sprung so not really one for hustling around B roads. If you want to get from Paris to Marseille quickly, though, this is the car for you!

    The diesels are very reliable; they’ll go for hundreds of thousands of miles.

    Like 8
  5. local_sheriff

    Dcor, I’m not a fan of French cars either but if you have any idea how they abuse old Peugeots in Africa and still manage to keep them alive you’d gaze…

    Like 15
  6. Vance

    There are many reasons for the lack of American cars in Europe, size and availability of roads, price and supply of petroleum, mass transit, and many other factors. It sure isn’t the allure of cars like Peugeot and Renault and their lack of reliability, looks and performance. They buy them because the menu isn’t very diverse and they don’t have much choice. I would rather push a Ford than ride in a Peugeot. You will end up pushing the Peugeot eventually.

    Like 2
  7. Jonathan J. Einhorn

    Bought a new manual 505 a long time ago. Worst car ever. Every Monday it was back in the shop. Usually electrical problems…

    Like 1
  8. Solosolo UK SolosoloMember

    You only call it garbage because it isn’t American and I doubt that you have ever owned one. I have owned a couple and found them to be great cars, different to American in many ways of course, but great none the less. If your reasoning is because they are difficult to get serviced, or spares for, in America that’s because it’s a French car in US. If you had a Yank tank in France you would have the same problem but it wouldn’t be classed as garbage just because it was American.

    Like 11
  9. Maestro1

    I’ve had some experience with this marque and if I had the room I would buy them. I know how good they are, and I know where the parts are in the US. There’s no reason for hostility.

    Like 9
  10. MikeH

    I bought a new ‘84 505 gas manual. Still have it with a quarter million miles. Best car I’ve ever owned.

    Like 12
  11. Derek

    Nah, too far away. I prefer Citroens, anyway…

    Like 2
  12. Steven M Dempsey

    I had a 504 in the late 70s. It was reliable and fun to drive with. Really enjoyed the car until the tin worm found it.

    Like 1
  13. K.B.Roadsend

    I declare !!!! Just this very week I was down in an area where we have about a half dozen of these lil lovelies ….well distanced lest they might breed and produce some monstrosity such as a Le Car
    And it came to mind the story from a young lady when I purchased one of them ,she was from New Orleans ( seems these are very popular in former French colonies ) She was telling me her daddy had purchased the car new for $10,000 a handsome price for a new car in 1985 and she KNEW he had spent no less than $ 10,000 keeping it running for the next ten years then he gifted it to her ,she explained she was smarter than dear ole dad in one respect first time she hit a hiccup she was gonna get out whilst ahead and divest herself of this legacy ..I never even tried to turn the key ,just unlaoded it and there it sits to this day …goodness that must be 25 years now ,dont time fly when you are having fun and gathering cars .
    I was wondering if with prices going up so that these spacewasters might have improved in popularity and value ……hummmm hard to say considering I gave from $20.00 to $ 50.00 for them I suppose there is some return on investment but I do keep em sorta hidden lest someone try and give me another one I think I may have seen a few of them that were running ,but have never ridden in one
    Congrats to the author that he has never fallen off into the black hole of French automobiles ….Save yourself some grief and just buy a wooden motor boat

    Like 0
    • k.b.roadsend

      But I do have to admit they have interesting adverts
      I suppose if you cant brag on the product it is best to be cute .

      Like 0
  14. Rick in Oregon Renault driver

    I got to appreciate you totally uneducated view of these cars. The vast bulk on Peugeot’s in the US have been snapped up by Middle East buyers for resale in their home country and Africa where these cars are revered for their reliability and tolerance to abuse. Not quite sure why a car enthusiast would bash someone’s stuff.

    Like 7
  15. Jasper

    Not everybody gets these. Too hard put a SBC in! Too bad they never had the proper distribution. They were stout like a Volvo but with a gentle side. The Intercooled Turbo was quite a sleeper. As quick as anything of the day, a smooth quiet ride like a Cadillac and the ability to take curves.

    Peugeot already bought Opel from GM and figured how to run it. Aren’t they supposed to buy FCA? They’ll be back to the states. Hopefully they’ll have some interesting offerings.

    Like 1

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