Rare Hot Hatch: 1987 Peugeot 205 GTI

Update 6/4/20 – After 8 months, this 205 GTI has popped up here on eBay with no reserve! Thanks go to JT for sending in the tip!

From 10/3/19 – Some folks call the Peugeot 205 GTI the ultimate “hot hatch.” You say you’ve never heard of it? That’s because those of us in the USA never got the opportunity to purchase one, at least as a legal import. However, now that the cars have some age on them, you are starting to see a few appear.  This 1987 model is for sale here on craigslist and is located in Newark, New Jersey. The price is a fairly steep $7,000, but look further before you dismiss the idea of purchasing the car.

Part of the problem with the ad is that it doesn’t spell out much about the vehicle, apart from the fact that it has a new coat of paint, a clear title, and has a new 1.9 liter engine that comes with that clean body. The story of the 205 model dates back to 1983, when it was introduced to fill a gap in the Peugeot line. Only a year later the GTI was introduced, originally with a 1.6 liter engine and then in 1986 the ultimate 1.9 GTI was introduced. The little car boasted a 130 horsepower version of the engine and topped out at 127 miles per hour!

The thorough paint job apparently included the floor as well. At least it looks rust-free!

I wonder if the decals were replaced in this area, or just carefully masked around.  Either way, it looks pretty darned good. There are pictures in the ad of the body prep that went on before painting. If you are intrigued, there’s a nice video overview of the 205GTI that was posted recently by Autocar. They still like it after all these years!

This must be that new engine. Interestingly, the writing on the cardboard appears to be in English — I wonder where the engine was sourced from and if it really is “new” or “rebuilt”. What do you think about this little Gallic wondercar?


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Cool car,but I wonder about how many parts are
    missing? I don’t think that you could go to your local
    Peugeot dealer and buy them.

  2. Grandpa Lou

    French cars are like French women, quirky but delightful if you can find the right one. Trouble is, finding the right one.

    Like 7
  3. Russell

    The “original” Top Gear loved this vehicle … matter of fact they have dropped a few pianos or blown them up, with explosives, often.


      That was the Morris marina like Jesse races. Not the pug.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        It’s an Austin Marina (although it’s just the American version of the Morris), and I used to race it. Now sold.

  4. Car Nut Tacoma

    I’ve heard of the Peugeot 205. I’ve never seen one in person, nor have I known anyone who has. For some reason, it was never sold in the USA.

  5. michael

    awe, man. when I saw this add I got all excited. This was my dream car when I was 18.
    what a shame… this could be a nice car. for that price , it better be complete , done and with a full tank of gas…smh

    Like 3
  6. Dutch

    It had the wrong wheels on it and it looks like a very early interior.. I can’t remember if the 1.9 came with that interior??
    Face lift model is worth looking for

  7. CJinSD

    The engine looks like a short block. Does it come with a complete engine that has a usable head? This car may end up heading back to Europe, where the parts exist to complete it.

  8. P Wentzell

    This must be the “stripper” version.

  9. r s

    I think French cars are designed by pastry chefs.
    I wouldn’t be interested in this if you moved the decimal point over. To each his own though.

  10. Bakyrdhero

    I had a 1/18 scale toy of one of these back in the 80’s. I had never heard of the Peugeot 205 and I grew up thinking it was a toy Yugo.

  11. V8roller

    I owned a 1.9 for seven years.
    Remarkably, they don’t rust.
    Parts, mostly available, but no internal trim, and no door seals.
    A super drive.
    The steering – no power – is light and accurate. The clutch is light. The gearchange is precise. Seats are comfortable. The cabin is well laid out.
    It handles beautifully, turns in and goes exactly where it’s pointed.
    Acceleration is flick-switch, the car is featherweight, and small – just 5’3″ wide.
    Why did cars get so fat??
    And it has none of the electronic junk that has crept into modern cars.
    We still have a 900cc 205, our shopping car, which we’ll never sell.
    Superb car.

    Like 6
  12. Little_Cars

    The lead picture screams “how not to sell a car.” Looks like a toy discarded by a child on the ground…why is it leaning toward the right rear and raised in the left front? All other photos better represent what this car is all about than that one. Hope it goes to a good owner this time around.

  13. Mark-A

    Love the 205 GTI just b aware of “lift off oversteer” as they were renowned for going through hedges backwards when pushing too hard unlike most fwd cars which understeer at least means at U see the hedge you’re going through! Just be aware that they’re not renowned for their build quality, even especially the plastics. Find a decent road with plenty of curves to really experience the handling, just b careful if it’s wet the easiest way to avoid the “lift off oversteer”, is drop it a gear & keep the hoof in & it’ll surprise U, just don’t crash it as part of the reason why it’s so fast is the metalwork is really thin & they crumple like a crisps/chips packet.

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