A letter d’amour á la Peugeot 205 GTi

90s cars 80s cars Peugeot French Tat

For my introductory article, I figured I’d write about the car that led me down this bottomless rabbit hole of old rubbish: the Peugeot 205 GTi. I’ve always wanted a 205 (and always will) and this is my ode to it; my love letter, if you will.

It’s the Same Old Song

Much has been written about the Peugeot 205 GTi; every article you read regurgitates the same old rubbish. If I had a French franc for every time I read about the fact that it was CAR magazine's Car of the Decade in 1990, I would probably have enough money to buy one.

Often the people writing this stale nonsense can’t and will not remove their rose-tinted specs in fear of being mobbed and lynched in the streets for saying the Ford Escort XR3i was, at best, a sub-par car. 

However, this article isn’t about the Garys, Waynes and Barrys from the magical land called Essex. It’s about why I love the 205 GTi.

21st Century Boy

Truth is, I wasn't even alive when the 205 GTi was a contemporary hot hatch, so why do I love it? It’s a question with no definitive answer, but if I had to attribute it to something, it’d be a rerun of Clarkson’s Car Years.

Long before the childish antics of new Top Gear – dropping skips on Maserati BiTurbos, and pianos on Morris Marinas – Clarkson produced entertaining television.

One of these instances of Clarkson, before Hammond and May, was a series commissioned by the BBC called Clarkson's Car Years; mini documentaries focused on different subjects. One episode was about the ideal family car in the year 2000, and another about the birth of the MPV.

The one that sticks out is an episode called The New Romantics, in which he talks about the humble beginnings of the hot hatch, and in particular, towards the end of the episode, the 205 GTi. The image of a Miami Blue 1.9 GTi receiving praise from Clarkson as he blasts through beautiful Norfolk countryside to the tune of “Vienna” by Ultravox, is forever engrained in my memory.

But much like Midge Ure's famous number two, the 205 would never reach the top because of a little car called the VW Golf GTI 16v, although that’s a topic for another day.

Shaddap You Face

If you disagree with anything I’ve said because you’re a Ford sympathiser, or you're offended by my terrible French, send a fax to the usual number. In the meantime watch this:

If you like Petrolblog, you'll almost certainly enjoy Cillian's Instagram feed, so give him a follow. He told Petrolblog: “I've been dreaming and hoping to get my foot in the door of automotive journalism for years now,” and although he's not old enough to drive, he's clearly one of us. In his words, he's “a young enthusiast, particularly interested in tat of the highest order. Proper tat; true tat. French tat, even.” Good man.

Petrolblog thinks we should be encouraging and harnessing the talents of young enthusiasts like Cillian and Ben Hooper, which is why it'll do everything it can to support them. Please make Cillian feel welcome in the comments section.