One-Owner Oddball: 1987 Peugeot 505 Turbo

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Is there a point where a car becomes too obscure to justify owning it? Considering the cost of maintaining a vintage European car and a dwindling parts supply, deciding to be a caretaker for a car like this Peugeot 505 sedan is truly a labor of love. The seller appears to own one of the nicer ones we’ve seen in quite a while, as this listing here on Facebook Marketplace goes to show. For a brief time, I owned a similar car in wagon form, so I speak from personal experience about the abject fear of being stuck with a vehicle with no future – that is, unless the enthusiast community comes to its rescue.

The seller is asking $7,000 for this French sport sedan, which is the top spec with the turbocharged engine. The turbocharger was a uniquely American offering, and no doubt intended to make the car seem more appealing in a crowded field of quick sedans with snappy handling. The Pug was entering a crowded market with the likes of the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz 190E, the Nissan Maxima, and others. However, the French automaker didn’t concede everything to the American market, sticking with the funky metric wheels and other quirky features like the door handles and the upright center stack on the dash.

It’s a shame you can’t see that feature, but the seller didn’t lavish us with great photos. What we do see is a spotless interior with carpets that are blemish-free in the front and rear passenger areas. The seller notes that the 505 has been looked after by a service facility in New York City, which I assume has some connection to the Peugeot brand. In the 1980s, New Jersey was ground zero for Peugeot’s domestic headquarters, so I imagine the New York metro area had one of the highest concentrations of 505 owners in the U.S. The other good news? This 505 appears to be rust-free.

Based on the production year, I estimate that this turbocharged 505 makes around 142 horsepower, which would be far more compelling if this car had a manual transmission. This Peugeot does feature the optional automatic transmission, which I suspect is a reason for this one not already finding a home among the small but mighty populace of French car lovers here in the U.S. When I sold my 505 wagon, it was a very happy day as I no longer had to wonder what I would do if something catastrophic happened; hopefully, the next owner of this 505 sedan is located near the seller and can continue to patronize the mechanic that is familiar with this oddball sports sedan.

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  1. JDC

    Beautiful condition. Yes, it’s probably hard to maintain, because of parts. But if you put forth the effort you have a nice little car that would attract a crowd anywhere.

    Like 6
  2. gippy

    I had one by accident. Went to an auction with a dealer friend one day and there was this 2 year old Peugeot and I told my friend, jokingly, I would buy it for 500.00. When it went across the block he bid 500.00 and the room was silent. I drove it home thinking I would put an ad in the newspaper and make a few bucks, but my wife loved the car and she drove it for 2 years with no issues.

    Like 13
  3. JohnfromSC

    Peugeot never had a viable economic model for their US subsidiary, which is the primary reason they failed here. I bought a top of the line 604 in the late 70’s for around $12K if memory serves me. When it ran correctly, which was most of the time, it was nicer than my friends MBs. However, keeping it maintained cost me over $1K (8% of purchase price) per year. The reason is Peugeot France would charge Peugeot US virtually the same price they charged french dealers. Then Peugeot US would mark up those prices by 2X to generate 50% margins for their subsidiary, as they were treated as a separate subsidiary. Those costs made maintaining the cars uncompetitive in the market.

    Some owners figured out it was cheaper to buy parts direct from France than through the US network. Simply crazy. This was a formula for failure, and fail they did.

    The 505 was a Pinnafarina design similar to the 604 and replaced the stodgy 504. The diesels were known to go 500K miles and 504s were huge in Africa. However in the US, operating costs were just crazy. A 505 owner today can likely get parts, but the same way I did: ordering from Europe with lots of effort and long delivery times.

    Like 8
    • SubGothius

      Speaking of the 604, those were identical to the 504 from the firewall to the B-pillars and the remainder of the floorpan back from there. Aldo Brovarone’s brief at Pininfarina was to style a new nose from the cowl forward and a new tail end from the B-pillars back, gaining a couple inches of wheelbase in the process for a roomier back seat.

      Like 1
  4. gbvette62

    Somehow back in the 80’s a friend of mine in South Jersey ended up with a deal to race a 505 in the SCCA Showroom Stock classes, with backing from Peugeot. I was crewing for a team in a different racing series and didn’t get to see him race often with it, but I do remember that that boxy four door looked strange, and somewhat out of place on a race track. He also ran a Peugeot in the Car & Driver Longest Day at Nelson Ledges and I think he ran a few Cannonball-One Lap of America events in Peugeots.

    Like 2
  5. Daymo

    Turbos in these were not American-only; we got them here in the UK and Europe too, admittedly only connected to the diesel engines, not the petrol ones.
    A friend of mine has one he bought new back in 1982 and now has over half a million miles on it with little more than routine servicing.
    These cars are becoming rare here and good ones are starting to get good money… the last of the real Peugeots!

    Like 3
  6. John Arnest

    Back in my college days I owned a 403. It ran like a top with a 1500cc hemi engine, and when I was low on cash and couldn’t swing a new battery I could start it with the hand crank and starter fluid! Great surf car, but even then parts were a bit of a hassle.

    Like 1
  7. Dan Sears

    Cost more than a Jaguar when new. Mine had leather and manual. Cost almost as much as a Jag to maintain. Oh, the French…….

    Like 0
  8. David Holzman

    My parents kept the ’65 404 wagon for four years after we got back to the States following a year in Paris. They were afraid to drive it from Boston to Stanford for the next sabbatical, and getting it repaired in Boston required schlepping it two towns from us, which my father didn’t like. It’s too bad. It was a very nice car.

    Like 0
  9. geoff a

    grew up and learned to drive a 404 wagon, wish I had it now . That was one tuff auto, I tried to kill and I did not and it never broke. Was great for the back roads of Maine. Would buy one if I could fined a good one. Comfy to ride in lots of room with the back seat down More room than the Volvo I had later.

    Like 1
  10. jubrele

    Using the term oddball to describe the car 3x in one brief article seems a little much!

    Like 0
  11. Steven M Dempsey

    Had a 504 at one time. Loved the car. Unfortunately so did the tin worm!

    Like 1
  12. jwaltb

    Good looking car!

    Like 0
  13. Victor Van Tress

    I’ve owned three 505 Turbo’s. Over 300,000 miles between all three. People ask me where I get Peugeot parts and I tell them “I don’t need Peugeot parts. Just Bosch parts.”

    Like 0

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