Street-Spotted: Peugeot 505 SW8

a red car parked in a parking lot
Street-Spotted: Peugeot 505 SW8Autoweek

Thirty-two years after Peugeot left the US, the 505 station wagon remains the model you're most likely to encounter on the road—assuming you encounter one at all, because there are just a couple hundred left in running condition.

The 505 was the French marque's best-seller in the 1980s, and while the sedan had its own merits, the 505 longroof was one of several French wagons sold in the US during that decade. Strange thing to think about now that there are zero.

First, there was the Renault 18i, which was more of a blip on the radar as AMC prepared to go all-in on Renault models during the second part of the decade. You could also import a Citroën CX station wagon and have it federalized by CXA Automotive in New Jersey, if you were feeling mechanically adventurous and were in need of a seriously large and plush longroof. Then there was Peugeot's own 504 station wagon, which was nowhere as popular as the sedan (which made it into New York taxi fleets in diesel form), but still an option.


Finally, there was the Renault Medallion which arrived just as Chrysler was in the process of buying the remains of AMC, so only about half a year's worth of Medallions were assembled with the Renault badge, later becoming the Eagle Medallion.

For a brief moment, the Peugeot 405 station wagon was also sold alongside the 505 wagon, though the former only saw about a thousand units find buyers stateside.

So the 505 wasn't even the largest or the most expensive French station wagon you could buy in the 1980s. But it was easily the sales leader in this category.

While the basic 505 debuted in 1978, the SW8, or station wagon with seating for eight, arrived a bit later, featuring a third row of seats.

These seats, however, were forward facing, and weren't really aimed at transporting adults. But then again, Peugeot was aiming this particular model as an alternative to large American station wagons that could carry little leaguers when pressed into service.

"Other wagon makers, however, force their third seat passengers to sit backwards, staring danger right in the face," Peugeot's ads of the time explained, which is an interesting way to think about it.