Anticipation Creeps Headstrong Towards Us

We ought to rename this site Le DTW. After yesterday’s Peugeot review we now have a whole slew of early 90s French cars under the spotlight.

L’Automobile, Sept 1991

In 1991 L’Automobile ran an article assessing the comparative strengths of the main three French brands, Renault, Citroën and Peugeot. It was a huge group test: 24 cars.  The magazine passed judgement on the main classes and in this article I will pass judgement on the 1991 verdict. Were  L’Automobile’s assessments in line with mine? Or indeed yours?

Citroën AX: wikipedia.org

In the small car class, the Renault Clio faced off the Citroën AX and the Peugeot 205, the last one in its fading days. Up a class, the Renault 19 opposed the Peugeot 309 and Citroën’s new ZX. After that, the wilting BX was matched by the Renault 21 and Peugeot 405 (with another four years left in production). Finally, the haut de gamme cars, the Renault 25 against the Citroën XM and Peugeot 605 sisters. You will notice that in 1991 the PSA group cars were only partially aligned. Overall, the French market encompassed a good degree of diversity despite the common culture and common market they shared.

Small

Starting with the little ones, Renault’s Clio had more or less just gone on sale, replacing the venerable Renault Super5. I have to say that 27 years later I still see the Clio as somehow inauthentic, a rather indececisive-looking car. Its dashboard is unresolved: a large box in the centre for HVAC and the radio, sitting uncomfortably next to a rounded binnacle.

1991 Renault Clio interior: source

In comparison Citroën’s AX makes more sense though it´s far from special. Peugeot’s car belonged to the previous decade – nice to look at but made of brittle plastics. L’Automobile liked the Citroën’s construction and driving position. They approved of the 205’s improved performance (75 hp) roadholding and comfort. For Renault the best parts were the roadholding, comfort, interior space and performance.

Citroën’s main demerit involved heavy steering. Peugeot lost points for its poor equipment, interior quality and non-adjustable steering column. In sum, the Clio carried the day: a modern motor, modern coachwork and the most space. The AX came second and not surprisingly, the 205 came last.

I’d reverse that order and take the 205 first due its astonishing ride and handling, its roomy package and classically pretty bodywork. Citroën’s car was light but too cramped and the Renault lacked any character plus it had a woeful interior. Look, please, at that image above.

1983-1993 Peugeot 309 GL Profil

Medium

Going up in the world we turn to the Renault 19 GTS, the Peugeot 309 GR and the Citroën ZX Avantage 1.4. It is remarkable to think Peugeot hadn’t entered the Golf class more decisively by 1991 – the Golf had been winning sales since 1976 with a formula the French even invented. For the Renault 19, the remarkable comfort gained approval. The “Peugeot” impressed with its performance and Citroën had its dynamic quality of the “first order”.

Telling against the cars:  Renault had something expressed in French as “comportement trop sage” which translates usefully as “too wise behaviour”. The Peugeot’s interior was unwelcoming and the Citroën’s interior dinned and drummed and hummed.

Peugeot 309 dashboard: source

And the winner is … the Citroën. Number 2 was the Peugeot (quite a surprise for a half-hearted Peugeot) and Renault trailed. The Peugeot’s low price helped. What do I think? Oddly, the Peugeot is the most appealing, probably because it’s an oddball. The dashboard is truly horrible though, one of the very worst of the era as in deathwish bad.

Peugeot 405**

Larger

To the middle class we now direct our focus: three quite different expressions of the French middle market but only one of them clearly imbued with French panache: the BX 16 Image. Renault’s 21 GTS Manager scored for its roadholding and feedback. Peugeot wooed with its road-holding, comfort and brakes. Citroën gained credit for its suspension and vivacious motor. Black marks accumulated for Renault for its heavy steering and stodgy brakes. For Peugeot the downsides involved heavy steering and its slow gearbox. The elderly BX lost ground on account of its high price and overly assisted brakes.

Just forget it ever happened. Image: wikipedia.it. Send them a donation. £3 is enough for now but more would help. Thanks.

Who won that one? Peugeot on account if its overall consistency (nothing stood out overall – how very Peugeot). The R21 had some weaknesses but was a close second. Finally, the BX achieved an honourable third. Again I reject the order and would always choose the BX then the Peugeot and finally the Renault but the toss up between the Peugeot and Renault is close. Details like the upholstery and driving position and ashtray placement might determine the actual result.

Renault 25 interior: mobile.de

Haut de gamme

Finally our journey up the ranks of French cars concludes with the semi-fresh PSA sisters XM (24 Valves) and 605 (SV 24) who are going to pull the pig-tails of the ageing Renault 25 (V6 Turbo). The R25 gained the judges’ approval for its excellent performance and high specification. Peugeot pleased for its remarkable handing and very good comfort. And Citroën scored for its intelligent suspension and very good comfort. Dragging the cars down: Renault lost for its “ageing handing” and the absence of an automatic gearbox. Peugeot dropped stones for its

1995 Peugeot 605

“agriculural motor” and the absence of an automatic gearbox. Finally, the XM earned disapproval for its distinct Citroën personality (that is what they wrote) and… the absence of an automatic gearbox. That last point about the absence of automatic gearboxes is constant among the three cars. Does it make sense to refer to a feature that does not constitute a comparative disadvantage? I think not.

Out of those three cars, L’Automobile picked the Peugeot 605 for having the highest dynamic capability of the three cars. Its handling and road holding were “exemplary”.

The RAC seems to agree: “This was a very fast and sweet-handling car, though 200bhp through the front wheels could become a challenge in the wet. Yet, with that amazing magic carpet ride which only Peugeot’s chassis wizards seemed able to create, you had a very special car”.

L’Automobile did not consider the XM’s suspension any better than the 605 and they hated the steering and parking brake.

1989 Citroën XM: oppositelock.kinja.com

For the last re-judgement I must recuse myself as I own an XM. I can say that the Peugeot’s reported excellent ride and handling make me curious to try the car someday. I can only ask why it was that Citroën did not achieve an even better result with their oleo-pneumatic system.

And having driven an R25, I can report it to be a smooth, spacious and cossetting car in a way the XM isn’t – not that the XM is uncomfortable. It’s a wonderfully useful and comfortable car and it has another vibe about it, inside and out. Citroën’s ride is harder than the R25 while the R25 rolls a bit more. I like the overall softness of the R25.

To conclude, we discover in 1991 a very much more distinctively French car market and, as we know, since then all three firms have given up on the large saloon. However, Renault’s Espace does cut some mustard with me – the absence of the rear central armrest notwithstanding. It is a very special looking car indeed. Out of this pack of cars I would say, being frank, two stand out for their enduring appeal: the 205 and the BX and curiously both of them lost in their categories.

** It’s a dark photo of a darkish car on a dark day in a dull place. There aren’t a lot of profile photos of the 405 and since I took this myself I thought I would use it.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

40 thoughts on “Anticipation Creeps Headstrong Towards Us”

  1. Thank you for this article which takes me back in time since I bought that issue as a kid !

    With regards to the 605’s vs XM’s road handling I guess the preference for the 605 stems from the bias often found in car reviews whereas a “sporty” and incisive ride (605) is judged superior to a car for which the handling was more primed for comfort (XM).
    At the time (and still to this day to some extent) Citroëns were thought of as old people’s cars and I guess their “softness” in the road-handling department was thought of as comfortable but…..too geriatric for comfort perhaps?

    I just caught a comment online from a French XM owner who started the introduction to his car by stating “when she feels well she is wonderful….” and that made me laugh 😀

    The Clio 1 is lucky to have had a good career because the launch campaign could have gone…..pear-shaped (see what I did here ?): weeks before the unveiling, Renault displayed on billboards across France (Europe?) this image of a red blob (the launch colour was red) which, later, morphed into a human being….and then a Clio with no clear indication on the advert that it was from Renault or for the upcoming Clio so French people got confused and the campaign was considered a huge flop.

    Full disclosure: I absolutely loved the ZX exterior in “Volcane” (especially the black one with red accents) and 16v trim. As dull as the car is now considered I think it was quite the watershed car for Citroën at the time and people were just…..hopeful. Hopeful that the long and agonising “traversée du desert” for the marque was coming to an end mainly.
    The car seemed well-resolved and rational (a Citroën First surely) and the handling, with it’s much advertised “4 roues directrices” (the rear wheels moved with a slight angle) was praised by the media.

    Side note: I completely forgot the 309 had its fuel cap on the C pillar.

    1. The 605 actually was a very fine car with an excellent chassis setup that did full justice to Peugeot’s reputation at this time. It also was quite comfortable but just lacked proper fuel engines. With the ES9J4 it finally got the engine it should have had from the beginning but that was just too late. What effectively killed the car in the market were its teething troubles that resulted in one of the biggest recall actions of the time where Peugeot replaced nearly half the car at presumably considerable cost. But then the damage to the car’s reputation was done.

    2. Yes those early life bugs cost both cars dearly although I’am not sure their sales numbers would have been that much healthier without those early gremlins. I think the death knell for large mainstream saloons had perhaps already rung as the German trio started their dominance of the segment.

    3. A very significant difference was how these bugs and the resulting recall were handled.
      Peugeot made sure their dealers did all the work required on all affected cars whereas Citroen more or less let their dealers decide whether or not early XMs got the full monty treatment. As a result, many XMs didn’t participate in that recall because dealers didn’t care and wanted to save the money.
      That’s a sure way to kill a car in that market segment.

  2. Wait, a French automotive magazine hated the XM’s personality? Is that not a treasonable offence?

    Zut alors et sacre bleu! No wonder the large French car perished, if even its home market could not reconcile itself with its eccentricities.

  3. Also, the remark about missing auto boxes is a bit strange. They chose the ‘performance’ variants (24V, Turbo) for the comparison, so they didn’t have this option. For the standard V6 versions as well as for some of the 4 cylinder engines, automatic was of course available.

  4. I had a boss (French – very French) very early in my career who owned first an XM 24v and then a 605 24v. He liked both, but swore the 605 was the best car he’d ever driven – and, boy, could he drive. He was an expat in London and his office at Royal Mint Court just by Tower Bridge. We had another office down the Lower Thames Street and he could never take the time to walk between the two. Instead he would drive like a complete madman between the two offices, hurling the 605 across the road and past The Tower like his life depended on it. It was scary as hell to be a passenger, but stupid irresponsible fun and actually, he never got near to having an accident.

    Moving on, I completely agree about the BX, the Clio (it only looked right as a 16v) and realise that I’ve a real soft spot for big French ‘barges’ as I find myself torn between the three tested here. I preferred the 25 pre-facelift (of course), but the XM in that spec … it’s stand-out essence of Citroën and kind of epoch defining for me.

    1. The XM in that spec… my brother owned one, and it sure went like hell, cornered like sports car and was comfortable at the same time. The BX 16V was a similar beast. Both of them licence killers of the highest degree. I didn’t buy the latter because it was too loud for my purpose, and there was never a good opportunity for the first one. By the way, they all disappeared rather quickly, as they were prone to overheating. I don’t know if that was better on the 605, maybe its engine bay was less cramped.

  5. Distinct Citroën Personality; apt phrase for a marque I have a soft spot. Whilst XM’s always were few and far between, my introduction to the chevron was as a passenger in a BX and driven somewhat spiritedly by a salesman, akin to SVR’s old boss I’d wager. It’d be in the late 80’s and he was trying to sell something or other to my dad and for some reason he’d offer to whizz me about to a friends house, the long but terrifying speed-way. I never knew a car could corner like that having not quite passed my test. Comfy seats too, that could be gripped: be that with g-force or at the lights ready for the next onslaught.
    There’s a white one rusting away near to where I work now – always brings back a memory or two.
    As for that 309 dashboard, cooled slabs of molten slag yet the outside remains a blocky delight to these yeux. Odd but true.

    1. Didn’t the 309 have that rattle old nail of a Chrysler/ Talbot/ Simca ohv engine? In fact hasn’t someone writing here written about the development of that car and wasn’t it originally destined to be a Talbot in order to replace the Horizon?

    2. Despite its mongrel status, the 309 is the most appealing of the lower medium cars here. I have only ever seen it in base spec though whereas some ZXs could approach being almost quite smart and inviting. The 309 feels like a light car for temperate and dry climates whereas the ZX has a more N European feel. I have an awful urge to find some 309 brochures to see if it was ever sold without cloth inspired by recycled fibres. The dashboard kills me. The vents are carry-over from another car and the blank triangles of plastic around them shout indifference.

  6. Yes, at its introduction in 1985, the 309 had the ex-Simca engines, due to the Talbot / Simca origins of the whole car . From the Phase 2 facelift in 1989, these were replaced by the much better Peugeot TU (1.1 and 1.4) and XU (1.6 and 1.9) engines, until the 309 was replaced … by the 306 … in ’92 .

    Come to think of it, Peugeot model numbers, which at times might go backwards, sideways, or forwards, could form the basis of a harmless party game, for true petrolheads – sometime after the Christmas pudding ?

    1. Depending on export market the 309 came with different engines. German customers got a catalysed 1.6 XU from the beginning and after about a year on the market the Simca engines were replaced with XU engines first and additional TU engines later.
      Spanish customers got the locally produced Simca engines throughout the production life of the car.

  7. It is said that the whole thing about the 309 being a Talbot in the first place is a legend. Apparently it was always supposed to be a Peugeot…..and I tend to agree with it now.
    If you look at it for a car that was supposed to be a late-stage rebadge it looks exactly like what a compact Peugeot of the time should look like: a bigger 205.
    A lot of development work was given to Talbot engineers but that’s because the Peugeot team was busy developing the make-or-break 205 and, yes, it was built in a Talbot factory but PSA had to use its factories to maximum capacity.

    I think what might have made the legend credible are those pictures floating around on the internet showing a prototype 309 with Talbot badges. I think it could have been a UK-specific version that Peugeot was, at the time, thinking about building, the same way the UK market had one of Peugeot’s light commercial vehicle badged as a Talbot I believe. While the 309 was developped the future of Talbot within PSA was uncertain, perhaps Peugeot thought at some point to do with Talbot what GM did with Vauxhall in the U.K, a standalone marque just for that specific market ?

    As for the name 309, I always thought the explanation that it was named like this because it wasn’t really a Peugeot in the first place was maybe a bit iffy. It was as if Peugeot was poiting out to the general public who had no idea about the car’s development: “would you look at this bastard of ours, we can’t even give it the family name .” That doesn’t make sense.

    A more plausible explanation floating around is that Peugeot had already decided that its next D segment sedan will be called the 405 with the number 5 defining the whole generation of the upcoming Peugeot range. The problem apparently arose because, up until then, the D-segment cars at Peugeot were using the 300 series of nameplate (304+305). So when it was decided to now define the D-segment cars with the 400 names (upcoming 405) Peugeot was left in a quagmire as to what to call the new compact car which logically had to have the 30x name since it was sitting between the 205 and the future 405 in the range.
    They apparently didn’t want to call it 306 because they thought it “safer” to let the compact (and lesser) car (the 309 then) wait one generation before it could match the rest of the range’s name (306) rather than let the family saloon, the more “prestigious” one, be the odd one out. I hope it makes sense as it wasn’t easy to explain.

    1. Unless the Wikipedia link is a total lie, it says about the 309 that it was supposed to be a Talbot Arizona: “The exhibit label (2012) states candidly: «Prévu d’abord de succéder à la Talbot Horizon sous le nom de Talbot Arizona, on a choisi de l’appeler Peugeot 309. Choix motivé par des raisons de marketing, la marque Talbot affichait des résultats catastrophiques, et les Peugeot de génération 5 avait déjà une 305.
      The part about the numbering does fit in with the account though. Calling it a 306 when the 405 was on its way would have been odd but then again the 306 was on sale with the 605 for a good while.

    2. This is what Iam saying: the legend has taken over.
      Yes, you wil find the majority of online articles will have adopted that version of event as the Gospel, including Wikipedia, which, it has to be said, as much as it’s a wonderful and useful site is also full of unverified innacuracies.

      When I’ll have the time I’ll try to find and post some links that corroborates that theory.

    3. The car simply didn’t fit their numbering scheme and therefore was given a number outside the normal range – 309.
      It would have been strange if they’d brought a car called 306 first and a 405 later. Otherwise they’d have had to omit the 405 and directly go to 406. That a 605 was sold in parallel to the 306 (and the 305 in parallel to 504 and 604) didn’t matter because the 605 came first as was always the case with Peugeot’s generating-defining last digit of the model number.

    4. Thanks Dave, I was about to explain that one out so at least you saved me from doing the work 🙂

    5. I guess we can’t look at it as an exact science 🙂 It is what Peugeot decided would do best at the time, they could’ve easily gone the 306-406-606 route, omitting the 405 and 605 but I guess what they went for makes (slightly) more sense in my opinion.

  8. To further explore that 309 theory and as promised here at some links related to the matter. Because they’re in French, I don’t think there’s anything in English about the alternate theory tbh, I (quickly) translated 2 bits from 2 different articles. They’re a good read, especially the 2nd one with its juicy details. I do apologise to the original author, Paul, for the ham fisted translation job 😉 My own words are in bracket.

    The economic circumstances and the financial means at the time meant PSA had to make tough choices. Peugeot could reinvest the low-end of the market with the 205, developed from 1977 and Citroën could take care of the middle segment with the BX project which will, later, form the basis for the 405.
    But as soon as the early 80s Talbot was condemned. The Horizon, forced to keep wearingthe Chrysler Pentastar for contractual reasons was confusing, the duo Solara/1510 was ageing with no replacements
    planned and the Tagora was odd within the range with its most powerful PRV engine and 165hp.

    To reassure the Poissy factory which was facing very serious social conflicts and strikes (Poissy being a Simca/PSA owned factory) it was decided to award them project C28, a car of the M1-type (M1 being the old code for the C segment, not sure if it was just a French thing) which will give birth to the 309.

    This is what probably created the legend of the Talbot Arizona. Because even though project C28 was indeed carried out by Talbot’s teams (which in the meantime merged in 1980 with Peugeot who announced then its imminent termination of the brand) it was after all based on a 205, the goal of the project being to offer an car in the M1 segment.
    Because Talbot’s disappearance wasn’t a certainty at the start of the development there has probably been some intentions to badge it a Talbot alongside the 309, which is the exact same thing PSA will do with
    Peugeot and Citroen at various points during the next 2 decades. Incidently the 309
    will be the only PSA car in that segment until the birth of the 306/ZX duo in the early 90s.
    The legend is resilient but it cannot escape the analysis of the facts !

  9. You will have to give me one more minute (more like an hour really) for the 2nd one. It is long and I’am tired from that 1st translation. Thank you.

  10. Ok let’s go for the second part

    If some people still think to this day that the 309 is illegitimate it’s probably because its name sounds equally illegitimate. As we’ve seen previously, Peugeot didn’t really have a choice for the name: their desire to go back to a logical naming scheme complicated things.
    The Peugeot 304, badly named in the first place and then the 305 posed a problem for Peugeot when it came to naming the C28. Let’s not forget that these 2 cars had no legitimacy regarding their own name and the 304 didn’t even have a predecessor.But if Peugeot was able to re-use the 400 series naming system with the launch of the 405 (which
    replaced the 305 itself) the 300 series was a lot more problematic.

    So, is the 309 as illegitimate as many may think ? If you’re oneof those that think an extra-ordinary name is illegitimate then probably but to what make of the 304 and 305 then ?

    Amongst the many urban legends we can often hear or read are the following:

    – 309 because it was meant to be a Talbot (Arizona)
    – 309 because it was a tribute to Talbot
    – 309 because it was a hatchback, not a saloon

    The first 2 hypothesis are the most common and are linked somehow. Indeed, legend has it that the 309 should have been born a Talbot but this would be of course forgetting what was previously said in these pages and deny the reality. The C28 project was on Talbot’s hands at first but quickly ended up in Peugeot’s for the reasons we have discussed earlier. The Talbot Arizona never existed and probably never will. It’s a legend that was started by the automotive press at the time.

    History of a name:

    As we’ve seen the name 309 is legitimate and we’re forced to admit the company didn’t have many choices. However Peugeot didn’t think of this name at first. The first name considered was 300 and this moniker had
    3 objectives: to highlight the fact that the car belonged to the 30X series, to avoid the issues
    caused by the 304 and 305 names and to re-set the counter in a way for a series badly named from the start.
    The 300 name was nevertheless abandonned some time later because it was judged too problematic
    for the future cars that will make up the 300X series.
    Indeed what will happen to the 300 replacements ? Will they be called 301, 302, etc….? Peugeot decides then to name the car with a bigger end-number compared to the 305 in order to reset the counter as soon as the 309’s replacement will come out. Indeed its successor will be called 306 and will re-integrate the logical naming system.

    However the 309 name does not please everyone within Peugeot. The number 9 is judged too particular, too distinctive and in 1984 it is decided that the car will be called 308. The name seems to be the definitive one while Peugeot puts the final touches to the car’s launch. The 308 name is trademarked and an ad campaign started by HCM is handed over to Peugeot in 1985. During that same year Peugeot goes back on its naming decision a few months prior to the car’s unveiling. The name 308 is replaced by 309 which will allow greater flexibilty since it pushes back even further the future issues that will arise when they reach the 309 series for the whole range.

    This is how the sudden change from the 308 name to the 309 name will be interpreted by many
    (and the press in particular) as a change of Brands: Talbot benefiting Peugeot. This ugly duckling, singled out by everyone because it was a last minute rebadge doesn’t really exist. This car’s only “fault” was that it took all of the Talbot Horizon’s past experience to benefit Peugeot as much as being born during the troubled years.

    During this tumultuous time, you have to remember that everything was ready: the cars, the press-kits, the ad campaign, the information leaflets and the manuals bound for the dealerships. But the many problems
    surrounding the naming challenge are going to force Peugeot to take decisions quickly, sometimes too quickly. Noticing how the problems mounted for the naming scheme Peugeot decided suddenly to not put any badges on the very first cars. These issues with the naming system and the logotype will be the catalyst for all these theories about the 309 being a Talbot. So, let’s take this moment to adress all the Talbot lovers and all the people who thought what was said here and there: Sometimes it’s no good telling the truth but it is the only thing that triumphs in the end.

    Amost everyone knows the 309 monogramm. A similar monogramm in appearance to that of the 205.
    However, as much as Peugeot had a well defined font at the time it didn’t have it for all the digits. An outside consultancy agency was then charged to take the case of the number 9, until now mising from the font. A few months before launch, the consultancy firm (a well known French company specialised in typography) handed over a project for a logotype of which the characters will be shared with the other cars in the range and in particular the number 3 which is taken, as is, from the 305 logotype.
    A small production-run is started and the first pre-production cars wear that logotype to get their pictures taken for dealership manuals and press kits.

    1st version of the 309 logotype

    But the marketing department is not really keen on it, deeming it too old or too ageing anyway. The number 3 is judged to be too “disproportionate” and too “strict” next the numbers 0 and 9. The consultancy firm starts working then on a second logotype with more fluid lines with the digits at each extreme-end better proportioned for a more “moving” and “innovative” result.

    And that’s how the final logotype will be accepted and will be produced as we now know it. On the other end, the 205 will keep its logotype inspired by the 305 until the end, even after the 2nd generation while the 405 will
    get the new font.

    1. Here you can have a look at an early 305’s bonnet logo which looks completely different from all logos shown here:

      This font with trapezoidal zero was used on all chromed model badges for “4” generatin Peugeots and early 305s. The 505 was the first Pug with a stick-on badge with a different font with more rectangulat zero and no more bonnet logo.

    2. Thank you, I didn’t realise the 305 also had the bonnet badge in earlier versions. This 305 looks different, was it a U.S version ? I was happy to see the return of the bonnet badge on the new 508 but the result left me disappointed. I think perhaps the badge should have been made to sit flush with the bonnet, as it is it kind of looks like an after-market thing in my opinion.

    3. The logotypes for the 309 shown earlier were placed at the back of the car, on the trunk not on the bonnet. Did this 305 had the regular 305 logotype at the back or was it novel too ?

    4. Early 305s had a logo at the back and one on the bonnet. These were identical in font and size and made from chromed metal. They also had the P_E_U_G_E_O_T script on the boot lid with the letters on a common chrome bar. The bonnet badge was dropped after a year or so of production but the badge on the boot lid remained the same. When the 305 got facelifted the badges were replaced by the stick-on type introduced with the 505. There were no 305s with a front stick-on logo.
      The 305 in the photo above is a very early Series I with the only non-standard part being the headlamp wipers. Maybe it’s a Scandinavian version but definitely not a US car as *afair* the 305 was never sold in the US. These early 305s looked very elegant but had terrible aerodynamics with a Cd of around 0.53.

    5. Very interesting, I didn’t know this. A chrome, stylised badge at the back must have looked so much classier than the plastic jobs of the 80s/90s.

      About the 309: it’s funny how as we discover more about the details of its genesis it’s no longer the unloved bastard child it was portrayed to be but instead it really was a baby that was wanted and even cherished seeing as Peugeot fussed about its name and typography endlessly.

    6. I have to apologise but my memory played a trick on me. That’s what you call getting old – you like cars from the Seventies and remember wrong things.
      Early 305s had a “305” badge on the bonnet, a PEUGEOT script and a trim level designation but no “305” on the boot lid. That would make early 305s without bonnet badge cars with no model badge on the outside (there was a small “305” logo above the glovebox in Series I cars). The first 305 with stick on badges was the ultra rare 305S which was produced only for a couple of months before the facelift. All facelift 305s had stick on badges.

    7. I’am sorry about your memory. But at least you’re getting wiser Dave let’s look on the bright side.

      I thought the early 305s had the badge on the bonnet ? It’s odd that they sold cars at some point with no badge pointing out the model’s name.

  11. >>But at least you’re getting wiser
    Please tell this to my wife. I’m still riding motorcycles and still like old Alfas which makes her think otherwise.

    >>I thought the early 305s had the badge on the bonnet ? It’s odd that they sold cars at some point with no badge pointing out the model’s name.

    You find chrome badged 305s with and without a badge on the bonne. All those cars had PEUGEOT and “GL”, “GLS” or “SR” on the boot lid but nothing else. Chrome badged 305s without a badge on the bonnet then would be cars without their model name displayed anywhere on their outside. Imagine this car without a badge on its bonnet:

    1. Tell her that the fact you’re still with her shows how wise you are. I don’t know. And buy her flowers maybe ?

      I had a look at a few 305 pictures and yes that seems to be the case. There’s very little information about the 305 compared to other Peugeot models. Always been the discreet kind this 305……

  12. It’s astonishing that Peugeot sold nearly two million 305s in eleven years.

    The 305 had a bad time at Peugeot. Developed on a shoestring budget (Peugeot’s wallet was still suffering from an enormous hole in the shape of a double chevron) and heavily based on the 204/304 it was more or less just a modernised version of these already old cars.
    It was roomy thanks to its exceptionally long wheelbase and was relatively well built but it also corroded like hell and it was painfully slow as even the top of the range 74 hp model only did 150 kph because of its bad aerodynamics.
    When it got the urgently needed facelift together with new XU engines it was a conservative alternative to the ubiquitous hatchbacks.

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