This year, 2020, marks a major milestone for Peugeot. Not only is its parent company PSA Group hammering out the details of a merger with Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), it's celebrating its 210th anniversary. It marked the latter occasion by buying a Peugeot 205 GTi, one of its best-known and loved models, and commissioning its in-house experts to fully restore it.
Peugeot chose to resuscitate a later GTi equipped with the 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine; earlier cars got a 1.6-liter four. The car is frequently regarded as one of the best early hot hatchbacks ever produced, and it provided the basis for some incredible rally cars. Photos published by the carmaker suggest the black hatchback is a solid starting point. While information about this GTi's past is not available, the images show a car that has been largely spared by the ravages of 1990s tuning, that hasn't been transformed into a hill climb racer, and that doesn't seem to have been smashed into a sycamore or welded together using parts from three different cars. That's half the battle in the GTi world.
That doesn't mean it has led an easy life, though. Both of its bumpers are damaged, its paint is faded, there are numerous dings and dents on the body, and we see traces of rust under it, plus signs of amateur repairs. Luckily, the French firm noted it has been hoarding parts for its classic models for over seven years, so it has a vast majority of the components needed to make this GTi new again in its inventory.
Over the next few weeks, everything mechanical will be rebuilt, the rust will be cut out, the interior will be fully reupholstered, and the shell will be given a fresh coat of black paint. Peugeot's in-house experts will carry out all of these tasks, though the company will leverage its vast network of aftermarket suppliers if needed.
When it's finished, this 205 GTi will likely join Peugeot's heritage collection in Sochaux, France. It will promote the company's little-known restoration business while showcasing its growing catalog of parts for classic cars.
210 years young
Peugeot turned 210 on September 26, 1810. Created as a steel mill, it quickly began making tools, including saw blades, pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, and hammers. It started manufacturing pepper and coffee mills in the 1840s, followed by a range of bicycles in 1882. It built its first car, the steam-powered Type 1, in 1889.