The Peugeot 206 1.9 GTI was a car that I myself owned and I loved it, having first got hold of one these French hot hatch at the tender age of 18 years old it had everything, power, great handling and great looks. I mean it had a red carpet which was awesome.
At the time it had many rivals such as the Renault 5 GT turbo and the Ford Escort XR3i but to me the little Pug 205 was where it was at for car lust for me 20 years ago. The handling was sublime and the power it produced allowed me to always stay ahead of my XR2 driving friends
Simply put this car was my first ‘fast’ car and I loved it, simple as that.
Despite a huge insurance premium which was the same as the cost of the car and various repairs due to the rather flaky French build quality, silicon cracking issues anyone?. I still have happy memories of flying around in this car, it was the car that made me a cars guy, the one that instilled that passion for cars that is still with me today.
The Peugeot 205 1.6 GTI was launched in 1984, and came with a XU5J engine, producing 105 PS (77 kW; 104 hp), for the 1987 model year the XU5J received the cylinder head with larger valves from the 1.9 GTI’s XU9JA engine thus becoming XU5JA. The new engine was quoted for 115 bhp (86 kW; 117 PS) . The 1.9 GTI came with an XU9JA engine producing 128 PS (94 kW; 126 hp), although later models with a catalytic converter produced 122 PS (90 kW; 120 hp) . Internally these engines are very similar, the main differences on 1.9-litre versions being the longer stroke, oil cooler, and some parts of the fuel injection system. The shorter stroke 1.6-litre engine is famed for being revvy and eager, while the 1.9-litre feels lazier and torquier. Outside the engine bay the main differences between the 1.6 GTI and the 1.9 GTI are half-leather seats (1.9 GTI) vs. cloth seats (1.6 GTI); and disc brakes all-round (1.9 GTI) vs. discs at the front and drum brakes at the back (1.6 GTI); as well as the 14-inch (360 mm) alloy (Speedline SL201) wheels (1.6 GTI) vs. 15 inch (Speedline SL299) alloys (1.9 GTI).
The 205 is still often treated as a benchmark in group car tests of the newest GTI models or equivalent. Peugeot itself has never truly recreated this success in future GTI models, although they came very close with the highly regarded GTI-6 variant of the Peugeot 306. A cabriolet version of the 205, known as the CJ (or CT in France), was designed and partially assembled by Pininfarina of Italy. A CTi version, with the same plastic arches and wheels as the 1.6 GTI was also available. Some later models incorporated the catalysed 1.9 engine.
Peugeot 205 GTI
The main aesthetic difference between the GTI/CTi versions and other 205 models were the plastic wheel arches and trim, beefier front and rear bumper valances. The shell also underwent some minor changes, including larger wheel arches (to suit the larger wheels on the GTI and CTi), and the suspension was redesigned and sat lower on the GTI with stiffer springs, different wishbones and a drop-linked anti-roll bar.
With the early success of the 205 GTI in Europe, Motor Trend reported in 1984 that Peugeot was seriously considering adding it to its US lineup, even though Peugeot had a more upmarket image in the United States.Nothing ever came of such rumours, however, and any talk of Peugeot expanding its presence in US became moot when it was forced to pull out in 1991.
Sales of the GTI in the United Kingdom in the early 1990s were badly hit by soaring insurance premiums, brought about by high theft and ‘joyriding’ of cars of this sort. Increasingly stringent emissions regulations meant the 1.6 GTI went out of production in 1992, while the 1.9 was sold for a couple more years thanks to re-engineering of the engine to enable it to work properly with a catalytic converter, which dropped power to 122 bhp (91 kW; 124 PS).
A classic worthy of the GTI moniker I hope you will agree.