A 40-year-old Peugeot 205 could sell at auction for £300,000 this month – but there’s a very good reason why it’s so valuable

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If you told someone you were about to splash £300,000 on a Peugeot, they’d probably think you’d lost the plot.

But that could be the case in a matter of weeks when one of the rarest – and greatest – models ever produced by the French manufacturer goes under the hammer at auction in Britain.

The eighties hot hatch model in question has an estimated guide price of £235,000 to £275,000 as it heads to Warwickshire to one of the biggest collectible car sales of 2024. Here’s why…

That is one very expensive Peugeot 205! This 1985 example of one of the French brand's rarest eighties models is set to go under the hammer and could make close to £300k

That is one very expensive Peugeot 205! This 1985 example of one of the French brand’s rarest eighties models is set to go under the hammer and could make close to £300k

The 1985 Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 being offered to the highest bidder is like nothing else to have ever adorned the Parisian firm’s prancing lion badge.

Just 200 ‘homologation specials’ were made in the mid-eighties. There are road-going versions of the rally competition cars Peugeot entered to the most fearsome period of the sport – the Group B era.

On the tarmac, sands, gravel, snow and ice, the 205 Turbo T16 racer would prove hugely successful, claiming back-to-back World Rally Championship (WRC) titles in 1985 and 1986 with respective Finnish drivers Timo Salonen and Juha Kankkunen at the wheel.

This means that not only are the 200 road cars incredibly rare but they’re astronomically fast and crammed with so much racing heritage that some are now reserved for museums and the manufacturer’s heritage haul. 

Just 200 'homologation specials' were made in the mid-eighties. There are road-going versions of the rally competition cars Peugeot entered to the most fearsome period of the sport - the Group B era

Just 200 ‘homologation specials’ were made in the mid-eighties. There are road-going versions of the rally competition cars Peugeot entered to the most fearsome period of the sport – the Group B era

In order to enter FIA competitions, car makers had to sell a minimum of 200 road-legal versions of the racing machines, hence why the 205 Turbo T16 was born. Pictured: Ari Vatanen splashes his Peugeot 205 T16 to victory at the Lombard RAC Rally in November 1984

In order to enter FIA competitions, car makers had to sell a minimum of 200 road-legal versions of the racing machines, hence why the 205 Turbo T16 was born. Pictured: Ari Vatanen splashes his Peugeot 205 T16 to victory at the Lombard RAC Rally in November 1984

The 205 Turbo T16 racer proved hugely successful, claiming back-to-back World Rally Championship titles in 1985 and 1986 with respective Finnish drivers Timo Salonen (pictured) and Juha Kankkunen at the wheel

The 205 Turbo T16 racer proved hugely successful, claiming back-to-back World Rally Championship titles in 1985 and 1986 with respective Finnish drivers Timo Salonen (pictured) and Juha Kankkunen at the wheel

Finnish driver Timo Salonen - and co-driver Seppo Harjanne - pictured in their Peugeot 205 T16 Evolution 2 during the San Remo Rally in 1986

Finnish driver Timo Salonen – and co-driver Seppo Harjanne – pictured in their Peugeot 205 T16 Evolution 2 during the San Remo Rally in 1986

This stunning car is number 176 of the 200 road-going 205 Turbo 16 constructed that remains in private – UK – ownership today.

Importantly for buyers in the British Isles, this one is fully UK registered and has covered fewer than 10,000 miles from new. 

While the Turbo 16 hot hatch shares its nameplate with Peugeot’s mass-produced 205 city car, this is just about where the similarities end.

The only components the Turbo 16 shares with the standard 205 is the windscreen, doors and headlamps. That’s it!

The fact that it was shaped and named to be a 205 member was purely to promote the sales of the mass-production car through victories on the rally stage. 

Not only are the 200 Peugeot 205 Turbo T16 road cars incredibly rare but they're astronomically fast and crammed with so much racing heritage that some are now reserved for museums and the manufacturer's heritage haul

Not only are the 200 Peugeot 205 Turbo T16 road cars incredibly rare but they’re astronomically fast and crammed with so much racing heritage that some are now reserved for museums and the manufacturer’s heritage haul

While the Turbo 16 hot hatch shares its nameplate with Peugeot's mass-produced 205 city car (pictured), this is just about where the similarities end
The only components the Turbo 16 (pictured) shares with the standard 205 is the windscreen, doors and headlamps. That's it!

While the Turbo 16 (right) hot hatch shares its nameplate with Peugeot’s mass-produced 205 city car (left), this is just about where the similarities end. The only components the Turbo 16 shares with the standard 205 is the windscreen, doors and headlamps. That’s it!

The fact that it was shaped and named to be a 205 member was purely to promote the sales of the mass-production car through victories on the rally stage

The fact that it was shaped and named to be a 205 member was purely to promote the sales of the mass-production car through victories on the rally stage

Mechanically, this is an entirely different beast, notably with its tuned and turbocharged petrol engine mounted not in the front but the middle of the car, and power sent to all four wheels. 

Official Peugeot history files say that all 200 of the road cars made were to the exact same specification: and all were produced in left-hand drive and were painted Winchester Grey, just like this one.

However, a handful of them were painted in Pearl White, with four reserved for Jean Boillot (then President of Peugeot) and three French motorsport icons: F1 driver Didier Pironi, engineer André de Cortanze and director of the Peugeot Talbot Sport WRC team (and later Scuderia Ferrari F1 boss and FIA President) Jean Todt. 

Visually, the T16 can be easily distinguished from any conventional 205 and the iconic 205 GTi hot hatch.

The enormous wheel arches – a requirement to house the extended rear track (distance between the two back wheels) and bigger tyres – and the huge air scoops located behind its doors and rear quarter windows are the big giveaway. 

The latter was used to cool the powerful mid-mounted engine and a large air-to-air intercooler. 

With the engine mounted just behind the front seats, access to it is gained via a large clamshell tailgate, which is integral with the rear wings and quarter windows

With the engine mounted just behind the front seats, access to it is gained via a large clamshell tailgate, which is integral with the rear wings and quarter windows

With the engine moved from the front to the middle of the car, the 205's front bay is used to carry a spare wheel and has a lot of additional structural reinforcement

With the engine moved from the front to the middle of the car, the 205’s front bay is used to carry a spare wheel and has a lot of additional structural reinforcement 

The 205 Turbo T16 uses a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It's a significantly de-tuned version of the one used in the competition cars, with the examples with number plates and tax discs (back in the day) producing peak power of 197bhp

The 205 Turbo T16 uses a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It’s a significantly de-tuned version of the one used in the competition cars, with the examples with number plates and tax discs (back in the day) producing peak power of 197bhp

The front half of the chassis, including the passenger cell, was a dedicated steel monocoque, whilst the rear half was a tubular steel spaceframe structure for mounting the powertrain and suspensions. 

Power comes from a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It’s a significantly de-tuned version of the one used in the competition cars, with the examples with number plates and tax discs (back in the day) producing peak power of 197bhp.

While that doesn’t sound much by today’s standards, in 1985 that was an electrifying amount of grunt for a tiny car that tipped the scales at just 907kg. 

When new, the T16’s speedometer could tick round to 60mph in just 6.6 seconds. Foot pinned to the floor, the brutish little Peugeot could continue accelerating to a top speed of 137mph. 

With the engine mounted just behind the front seats, access to it is gained via a large clamshell tailgate, which is integral with the rear wings and quarter windows.

This means the entire back end dramatically opens to reveal the whole rear chassis and powertrain for easy servicing – a requirement for a car designed purely for rally competition where the engine and major components needed to be maintained in very short intervals. 

The auction house says the paint 'looks to be original', as does the two-tone grey cloth and leather bolstered seats with red detailing

The auction house says the paint ‘looks to be original’, as does the two-tone grey cloth and leather bolstered seats with red detailing

When new, the T16's speedometer could tick round to 60mph in just 6.6 seconds. Foot pinned to the floor, the brutish little Peugeot could continue accelerating to a top speed of 137mph

When new, the T16’s speedometer could tick round to 60mph in just 6.6 seconds. Foot pinned to the floor, the brutish little Peugeot could continue accelerating to a top speed of 137mph

Number 176 is - as the number suggests - one of the final examples produced. It was imported from France in early 2021 and has since been registered with the DVLA and is now fully legal for UK roads

Number 176 is – as the number suggests – one of the final examples produced. It was imported from France in early 2021 and has since been registered with the DVLA and is now fully legal for UK roads

Its wonderful condition is testament to the fact the odometer shows the car covering just 16,081km - 9,992 miles - from new

Its wonderful condition is testament to the fact the odometer shows the car covering just 16,081km – 9,992 miles – from new

Iconic Auctioneers – the specialist selling it on 24 February at the Race Retro event at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire – describes this as ‘a rare and sought after jewel for automotive collectors and enthusiasts’. 

Number 176 is – as the number suggests – one of the final examples produced.

It was imported from France in early 2021 and has since been registered with the DVLA and is now fully legal for UK roads. 

This registration is supported by a letter of authenticity from Peugeot Club UK, which can be found in the car’s history file.

Iconic Auctioneers says: ‘There was not much information on file documenting the cars life prior to its arrival in the UK and consequently its owner decided, after reviewing the intervals in the original service manual and instruction book that came with the car, that it would be sensible to carry out a full fluids service and check over before any use.’

The most expensive of the 200 Peugeot 205 Turbo T16 road cars is this one, sold in 2021 for almost £360,000. It was reportedly Jean Todt's - former FIA director - car

The most expensive of the 200 Peugeot 205 Turbo T16 road cars is this one, sold in 2021 for almost £360,000. It was reportedly Jean Todt’s – former FIA director – car

A Porsche specialist entrusted with the work fitted a new clutch during this nut-and-bolt service. Today, the little Pug is ready to be driven. 

The auction house says the paint ‘looks to be original’, as does the two-tone grey cloth and leather bolstered seats with red detailing.

Its wonderful condition is testament to the fact the odometer shows the car covering just 16,081 kilometres – 9,992 miles – from new.

Originally, the Peugeot 205 T16 Turbos were sold for 290,000 French Francs, which was around £25,000 at the time when converting to British pounds.

That means its higher estimate of £275,000 is some 15 times its price when new.

Yet this won’t make it the most expensive of the 200 Turbo T16 road cars sold.

One of the handful of white cars – number 33 – holds that record. This one was first registered to Peugeot and was believed to have been used by Jean Todt as his personal car while at the helm of Peugeot Talbot Sport. Given it was the boss’ car, the engine detuning wasn’t as extensive, with this car producing 227bhp over the 197bhp of the other road cars. 

French auction house Aguttes sold this example in March 2021 for believed the be an existing record of €419,260 (almost £360,000).

Yet, this figure is nothing compared to the value of the surviving race cars. 

This Peugeot 205 Turbo T16 is the most expensive 205 on the planet. It competed in the Group B rally championship for two seasons, taking three victories. It sold for approximately £876,300 in 2021

This Peugeot 205 Turbo T16 is the most expensive 205 on the planet. It competed in the Group B rally championship for two seasons, taking three victories. It sold for approximately £876,300 in 2021

A Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 2 that was offered at an Artcurial sale in Paris in 2021 is the all-time most expensive ever.

The car in question won the 1985 Corsica Rally in the hands of Frenchman Bruno Saby before it was competed in the 1986 WRC season with reigning champion Timo Salonen at the helm. He took victories at his home race in Finland and the final event of the season in Great Britain in the vehicle.

Incredibly, the car was sold just over two years ago with Peugeot Sport still named as the registered keeper.

A collector paid a whopping €997,440 (around £876,300) for it, which is not only the highest price paid at auction for Peugeot’s competition car but the most anyone has ever paid for a 205 hatchback of any kind.

Want a rally-bred eighties Peugeot but don’t have £300k? How about this one? 

This 1987 Peugeot 309 GTi 16V 'Group A' rally car is also going under the hammer at the same Race Retro auction later this month. And it has a wonderful back story...

This 1987 Peugeot 309 GTi 16V ‘Group A’ rally car is also going under the hammer at the same Race Retro auction later this month. And it has a wonderful back story…

At the same Race Retro auction weekend, Iconic Auctioneers will also put this 1987 Peugeot 309 GTi 16 V ‘Group A’ ex-Works rally car to the block.

It is a very special rally car, as it was piloted by British racing legend Richard Burns.

This is the car he raced in the 1991 RAC Rally, in which Burns impressed with a 16th place finish overall out of 150 entrants and the class victory in the two-wheel-drive group – all at the tender age of 20.

Burns went on to lift the WRC crown in 2001 with Subaru and today remains the only Englishman to have won the World Rally Championship, cementing his place in motorsport history.

This is the car that saw Richard Burns break onto the rally scene. He piloted the 309 at the 1991 RAC rally, taking 16th overall at the age of just 20. It launches a career that saw him take a landmark WRC title

This is the car that saw Richard Burns break onto the rally scene. He piloted the 309 at the 1991 RAC rally, taking 16th overall at the age of just 20. It launches a career that saw him take a landmark WRC title

Some eight years after racing the car, Burns bought the 309 GTi to add to his private collection. He was retained by driver from Reading until he passed away in 2005

Some eight years after racing the car, Burns bought the 309 GTi to add to his private collection. He was retained by driver from Reading until he passed away in 2005

In 1999 – while driving for Mitsubishi Ralliart – Burns bought back the 309 GTi that had given him his first big break.

He commissioned a full professional rebuild and restoration to return it to its former glory. 

It became the first car to form the start of a significant collection of his competition and road cars and occupied pride of place in his private haul until his untimely death in 2005 from a brain tumour, aged just 34.

‘Richard is the only Englishman to have ever won the World Rally Championship and this car is a significant part of his history,’ Iconic Auctioneers said. 

‘So here is a rare opportunity an important ex-Works car today. Simple to run and relatively straightforward to drive, E777 KKV will always be welcome at so many special events worldwide.’

It will be sold on Friday 23 March as part of the ‘competition car’ lots at Race Retro, where it will be offered alongside a number of other high-value racers, including modern era WRC vehicles.

Two of the latter include a 2003 Skoda Fabia and 2007 Ford Focus – their respective higher estimates are £280,000 and £380,000. 

In 1999, Burns commissioned a full professional rebuild and restoration to return it to its former glory. It became the first car to form the start of a significant collection of his competition and road cars

In 1999, Burns commissioned a full professional rebuild and restoration to return it to its former glory. It became the first car to form the start of a significant collection of his competition and road cars

'Richard is the only Englishman to have ever won the World Rally Championship and this car is a significant part of his history,' Iconic Auctioneers said

‘Richard is the only Englishman to have ever won the World Rally Championship and this car is a significant part of his history,’ Iconic Auctioneers said

Richard Burns - pictured right with co-driver Robert Reid - is the only Englishman to have ever won the World Rally Championship. He took the crown in 1999 for Subaru. Burns tragically died in 2005 at the tender age of 34 due to a brain tumour. He regarded as one of the most talented drivers in rally history

Richard Burns – pictured right with co-driver Robert Reid – is the only Englishman to have ever won the World Rally Championship. He took the crown in 1999 for Subaru. Burns tragically died in 2005 at the tender age of 34 due to a brain tumour. He regarded as one of the most talented drivers in rally history 

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