1990 Peugeot 205 Roland Garros ConvertibleView vehicle description
If the VW Golf was the hatchback of the seventies, then the Peugeot 205 was the hatchback that best typifies the eighties. Introduced in 1983, it was petite, lithe, and utterly charming; the French car took all that was wonderful about the Golf and suffused it with a large dose of Gallic charm.
Which meant a transverse engine driving the front wheels, supple suspension, and more interior space than ever seemed possible from outside. And while VW felt the need to move the Golf up a class in its range, adding heft and quality in equal quantities, Peugeot resolutely clung to the small hatchback sector, realizing that not everyone needed anything bigger - and that a lot of people were prepared to accept a flimsy interior if that meant they could dodge the Golf’s extra kilograms too.
Available with a range of engines from 954cc all the way to the wonderfully potent 1.9-litre fuel-injected engine fitted to the 205GTI, buyers could choose between three- and five-door hatchbacks as well as a very pretty two-door convertible.
Peugeot had sold 5.3 million by the time they pulled the plug on the 205 in 1998, and it’s been trying to replicate its success ever since. That they haven’t yet done so will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever driven the original, and best, hatchback to have ever come out of France…
PATINA PICKS: http://picks.getpatina.com/2015/04/the-205-peugeots-world-beating-hot-hatchback/
With just two owners from new (and the first owned it until 2 years ago), we are delighted to offer this delightful little Peugeot 205 Cabriolet Roland Garros edition for auction. With a limited production run of just 150 Roland Garros editions ever being produced for the UK market, the 205’s frankly frightening attrition rate makes this a very rare car indeed – and given its provenance and condition, we think this rust-free and very tidy example might just be one of the very best one being offered for sale today.
Built by Pininfarina alongside the Ferrari Testarossa, the 205 Cabriolet cost more than £12,980 when it was new, which was a hefty sum for what was a fairly basic car.
How basic? Well, the traditionalists among you will be delighted to hear that this example doesn’t have power-assisted steering; it’s the purest incantation of the breed and all the better for it. Besides, who needs PAS with such skinny tyres and lightweight build?
Recently detailed and looking stunning, it is an absolute delight and being sold with no reserve.
On the Outside
The deep green metallic paintwork is in fabulous condition. It is almost completely free of rust and has seen no welding as far as can be told. The panels are in great shape too, being free of dents and ripples, with only occasional minor blemishes, and the shut lines are as tight and even now as they were when the car left the factory almost thirty years ago.
Even the car’s most vulnerable areas – in the engine bay under the brake servo and near the jack, areas where they always go – are strong and free of rust. Oh, and the front slam panel is the same beige colour that it was when it left the factory, which serves as all the proof you need that the car hasn’t had a front-end accident.
The powered folding roof was replaced in 2004 and works as it should rising and falling on command and sealing tightly. It’s in good shape too with only very lightest of marks and the huge rear plastic window is clear and hasn’t gone milky and cloudy like so many do. The tonneau cover is also in great shape - and white is always an eye-catching colour, isn’t it?
The all-important ‘Pininfarina’ and ‘Roland Garros’ badging and decals are intact, as are the tiny alloy wheels. The latter are in great shape and shod with matching 165/70R 13 Firestone F-590 tyres.
As we will never tyre of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but do give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.
The bumpers and other external plastics are in remarkable condition, and still have their original green hue, not the faded plastics you normally see. The black exterior trim is also just as black as it should be. It really is a remarkably well-preserved example and a stunning vindication of how good these cars can be when they are looked after properly.
Work to do is pretty much limited to a small ding on the rear nearside wing, some stonechips to the front valance, and the odd small area of peeling underseal on the sills.
On the Inside
The Roland Garros steering wheel is present and correct, as is the unique upholstery and deeply sculpted seats. The latter are partly trimmed in white leather and while they have a couple of mildly wonky seams they are in stunning condition for their age and look fantastic thanks to having been lightly refurbished in the recent past. The red stitching is so evocative…
The red seatbelts contrast with the predominately white interior, and the seats have retained their matching red stitching. The harmonising door cards are in great shape too, as are the grey carpets. The interior is almost perfect and original, and everything in there works as it should (inc. central locking and electric windows) and it all looks only a few years old rather almost 30...
The interior of the folding fabric roof is white, and only very lightly patinated and its colour gives the car an airy feel to it that is missing from many convertibles from this period.
The floorpans under the seats and in the boot are clean and free of rust and damage, too.
The 1.4-litre petrol engine is a sweet little thing, firing immediately and settling quickly into a rock-steady tickover. It’s true that it doesn’t suffuse it with mind-blowing performance - although Parkers puts its top speed at 108mph, which is enough surely? - but it’s famously keen and free-revving and what performance there is is readily accessible and huge fun. It is, as the owner puts it “a joyous thing.”
It has been fitted with a new radiator and what looks to be a recent exhaust and it drives beautifully with a wonderfully supple ride. It feels tight and harks back to a gentler time when we judged cars on their comfort as well as their handling; this is a car that handles as sweetly as it rides, and drives as sweetly as it looks.
The engine bay is clean and tidy, and the underside of the car is strong and free of rot and corrosion. Remarkably, it is believed to be original and has escaped the need for welding and other structural repairs.
Other recent works include a decoke, a gearbox rebuild and new clutch in 2017 and a recent oil change with new plugs, leads and distributor cap.
The history of this car is frankly astonishing. To start there is a full set of paper MOTs, at least 20 stamps in the book and a very large number of invoices. Then there is the full book pack, including the Roland Garros supplement, a brochure and even the original purchase invoice. Gorgeous.
The online MOT history shows nothing of concern whatsoever and supports the car’s displayed mileage. The MOT certificate itself is brand new and expires in October 2020.
If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please contact us to arrange an appointment.
What We Think
It’s almost impossible to price a car like this accurately. On the one hand, a cynic would say that it’s just an old Peugeot with a small engine and minimal performance so only worth peanuts. On the other, the romantics among us would say that it’s a stunning top-of-the-range example of the seminal 1980’s cabriolet and so worth preserving in an enthusiast’s collection.
What can’t be denied is the car’s condition, which is simply amazing for a French car that’s coming to the end of its third decade; whether it goes to an enthusiast who will coddle it in a heated garage, or someone who simply wants to drive something old and interesting as their everyday wheels, we would expect this lovely old 205 to keep soldiering on for another three decades without too much trouble.
As to what it’s worth, the seller very sensibly agreed to let the market make its decision, so it’s being offered without reserve but with a guide price of £3,000 to £4,500.
Yes, that’s right: it will sell from the very first bid and we’ll leave it up to you all to fight it out among yourselves to decide what it’s worth!
Viewing is always encouraged, and this car can be seen here at The Market HQ in Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car, AnyVan for transporting it, and Footman James for classic car insurance.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings of any auction, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles we have for sale. While we use our trade experience to assess every car that comes through our hands (and between us we have bought hundreds of classic cars over the years for our personal use…) we are fallible, and our assessment of a car may contrast with that you might form yourself.
This is why we offer a far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange a professional inspection on their behalf of, each vehicle prior to bidding than any traditional car auction, and we will never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this by coming to see it in person.
That said, we do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or those formed as a result of a long test drive.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
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