The last traditional Peugeot saloon marks its 40th anniversary this year. We look back at the 505.
The final flowering of a fine tradition, the 1979 Peugeot 505 marked the last generation of rear-wheel drive saloons to emerge from Sochaux. A late ’70s update of the popular and durable 504 model, the 505 cleaved so closely to its predecessor’s conceptual template those of a more cynical mien could scarcely recognise it as much of a meaningful update at all.
The 505 combined characteristics of its lineal predecessor with those of the equally admirable (if commercially-speaking), underperforming 604 model which served as the Lion of Belfort’s flagship for a significant portion of the 505’s career. Unlike the latter model however, (also largely the work of carrozzeria Pininfarina), the 505’s body style coincided with a rather underwhelming creative period at Cambiano.
While initial studies closely reflected the styling themes of its junior 305 sibling (itself no design paragon), the larger car, while neat and attractive, did suffer from a certain lack of definition – a tendency towards visual blandness which the 504 certainly lacked. Technically and dynamically however, no such deficiencies arose, the 505 presenting all of its highly rated predecessor’s virtues in a more refined, modernised package.
A durable package too in time-honoured Peugeot fashion, both in commercial terms (a 20-year lifespan and over 1.3 million sold) and in terms of its fitness for the purpose – 505s proving as popular in some of the world’s more inhospitable landscapes as its 504 ancestor.
Marking the car’s 40th, we present a 1979 review from the serried nib of legendary auto-scribe, Archie Vicar, which can be accessed by clicking upon the following link.
[The linked article was first published on Driven to Write on 3 November 2013.]