Sold in large numbers and once part of the corporate car-park, the 505 is now a rarity. But here is one example that almost looks attractive. But looks deceive.
PSA launched the 505 in 1979 with the purpose of providing a product in their middle ranks to replace the venerable 504. What the ´05 succeeded in doing was killing off interest in the 604 which had been on sale and doing quite well since 1976. The 505 was very slightly smaller and about 30% cheaper than the 604 and lot easier on the eye; the main differences between the two cars were that the newcomer lacked the messy dashboard and thirsty V6. The 505 range offered all the engines the 604 could and should have had. What Peugeot forgot to do was to put all those engines into the 604, thus depriving buyers of the same freedom of choice that Mercedes W123 and W124 customers had. Peugeot did try to protect the 604 from losing sales to the newcomer by the clever ruse of making the 505 look a bit cheap. They used chromeless rear lamps, fewer exterior decorations and a tad less sheet metal though you´d need a ruler to detect the dimensional difference. All this only served to make the 505 look less appealing absolutely while not forcing buyers to pony up for the extra room, horsepower and tinsel of the 604. In being better than the 504 the 505 was also better than the 604 but cost a lot less and did nearly the same things. As it stood, the 505 was still a very neat car which looked distinctly Italo-French and handled, rode well and received good reviews. Motoring writers considered it to be a competitor to the 2.0 litre Ford Granadas and 5-cylinder Audi 100s* of the time.
This metallic-green example is on sale at a dealer not far from Aarhus, Denmark, for a reasonable price of about €1500 (reasonable, that is, in the context of Danish prices). It is an orphan, lost among 10 other vehicles, all of which are commercial trucks and vans. You might get €500 knocked off that so the dealer can free some space on the lovely gravel that makes up so much of the advertisement photo. The reported odometer reading is 1000km which is used-car speak for “I don´t know how many kilometres it´s done”. A further inquiry by telephone revealed that the mileage had reached 700,000. This means the asking price is three times the car´s real value. The model is supposedly a “2.5 turbo”. The dealer thinks it´s a 2.5 but there was no 2.5 turbo available for this body. The 505 only had the 2.8 PRV Douvin V6s fitted at the top end if it it didn´t have one of a bunch of coarse 4-pots installled. If it´s a 2.8 litre unit then the car on sale here has a development of the 1975 PRV engine that was thrown into the Renault 30 and Volvo 260 among others. On the plus side, the PRV can be serviced by a Volvo dealer as this engine survived into the recent past as the top powerplant of the Volvo 900-series. On the downside, it may need to be serviced often and you will be firm friends with your local petrol station. To have really been worth considering this car should have a velour interior and the Mk1 dashboard, since the second version was about as grim as the unit fitted to the Peugeot 309, and miles off the quality offered by BMW in the comparable 525i. Judging by the year and the visual evidence, I suspect this has the horrid Series 2 interior (below).
As this vehicle is not so far away from me I may be tempted to look at it since it offers most of the strong points of the 604 (comfortable, French, smooth riding) but lacks the properly sumptuous interior of that car. It has also driven to the moon and back. I prefer the very square style of the 604, even if the 505 was in many ways a much better interpretation of a large Peugeot. 604s are non-existent around here, so for the committed fan of large Peugeots this a rare chance to buy a thirsty, unreliable worn-out, rust-prone barge. “Caveat emptor,” they say.
*Audi was still a middle-ranking player in the 1980s.