The Peugeot 205 GTI is still considered by many to be one of the greatest “hot hatches” ever built! It can proudly consider itself one of the few cars to compete with the original Golf GTI – like the other “grand-daddy” of hot hatches, the 205 GTI has that enviable blend of being lightweight, analogue, fast and achingly retro to look at.
The Peugeot 205 was released in 1983 as a replacement for Peugeot’s by then very long in the tooth 104. Peugeot desperately needed a hit with the 205 as sales in its “super mini” segment were sliding fast, as market share was being chewed up by competitors such as VW and Ford. Thankfully for Peugeot, with the 205 they got it just right, and no time was wasted in bringing a “sporting” variant to market… the GTI!
The 205 GTI was originally released in 1984 with a 1.6 litre engine churning out around 105bhp. This was followed up two years later with the 1.9 litre version (with an increased 130bhp). Enthusiasts tend to be split down the middle as to which engined GTI provides the better experience, but one thing they do agree on is that they are both incredibly fun cars to drive.
We were looking for a 205 GTI to feature on the site for a while, and when we spotted Gwyn’s we knew we had to reach out to him! In the classic white colour scheme, but with some quite simply brilliant modifications (you know we love mods here at Driveaholics.com) it fitted the bill perfectly for us.
Read the interview with Gwyn below to find out what he’s done to this car (hint… it lies under the bonnet). A really amazing car, and some very impressive upgrades from someone you can safely call a “Peugeot Nut” (he’s owned around ten of them!)
Peugeot 205 1.9 GTI (1990)
- Gwyn's always loved Peugeots for as long as he can remember. He bought his first 205 1.6 GTI in 2001 when he was 18. Since then he's had a further four 205’s, this one is his fifth! (Now that's what we call obsessed!)
- By modern "hot hatch" standards it's not fast in terms of outright straight line pace, but with near 170bhp and weighing in at less that 900kg’s it's hugely entertaining to drive.
- The car has had a huge number of upgrades including an engine swap (more on this below), an upgraded gearbox, and suspension upgrades all round.
- Engine swap! The original 1.9 litre 128bhp engine was exchanged for a 2.0 litre 167bhp 16valve unit from the 306 GTI6.
- A Citroen Xsara VTS 5-speed gearbox has been fitted, this is perfectly suited to GTI6 engine, and fits snugly in the 205 GTI gearbox tunnel too!
- Suspension has been fully rebuilt using OEM parts. The whole car has been lowered -30mm on Eibach Proline springs, with Bilstein ‘challenge’ spec group N dampers.
Interview with the owner
- When did you first purchase the car?Jan 2017!
- What made you buy a 205 GTI… well, ANOTHER one?I've always loved Peugeots for as long as I can remember!When I was growing up Peugeot were on top of their game with the 106/205/306/309/405. I read all the rave reviews about their handling and feedback. I also loved their styling. So I bought my first 205 1.6 GTI in 2001 when I was 18. Since then I've had a further four 205’s – this being my fifth!Ive also had two 306 GTI6’s and two 306 Rallye’s. Once a Peugeot gets under your skin you cant be without one!
- What's it like to drive?Scintillating! By modern hot hatch standards its not fast in terms of outright straight line pace, but near 170bhp in sub 900kg’s is entertaining to drive. I love how raw it is, how immediate everything feels, how mechanical every control is. I love its agility, turn in and its adjustability. Its just raw, and exciting. You're in control, you boss the car. The unassisted steering is telepathic, you feel every grain of tarmac. Modern hatches just don't compete with this. The 306 engine is the best modification I've made. I've owned 205 GTI’s in all guises.. but the GTI6 engine trumps them all for me. It's more powerful, more efficient, better in traffic, sounds better.
- What's the current BHP? (and torque if you know it!)167bhp 142 ft/lb – standard 306 GTI6 figures
- The car looks in amazing condition – has it been restored / rebuilt?Yes fully! It's been fully resprayed prior to my purchase in 2016. I've since installed a 306 GTI engine and Citroen Xsara VTS 5-speed gearbox at CG Cars Leicester (mechanical_repairs on forum).The rear beam was powder-coated and rebuilt using genuine parts by Andy Williams in Mold (jord294 on forums).I've also rebuilt the whole front suspension with new OEM parts that I've sourced over the years.
- Ok, let's talk modifications, what have you done to it?I've done the engine swap, gearbox swap, and some upgrades to pretty much all of the suspension.
- You've mentioned the engine, remind us what you did there…I swapped out 1.9 128bhp engine for 2.0 167bhp unit from the Peugeot 306GTI6.
- And what have you done to the gearbox?Fitted Citroen Xsara VTS 5 speed gearbox. Perfectly suited to GTI6 engine. I needed to do this because the GTI6 6-speed gearbox casing is longer and would foul the front nearside wheel on a 205 GTI.
- What have you done to the suspension?It's been fully rebuilt using OEM parts. Lowered -30mm on Eibach Proline springs. Bilstein ‘challenge’ spec group N dampers.
- Do you plan to do any further modifications to it?Not at the moment!
- Do you own any other interesting cars? (or maybe we should just say "Peugeots" here!)Yes, I've also got an immaculate white 1999 Peugeot 306 Rallye!
- Ok final question – ignoring cost, and assuming you couldn’t go and sell it for profit… what’s your dream car and why?Peugeot 205 T16 Evo2 Rally car (Ex Juha Kankkunen)!