1985 Peugeot 505 SR 2 liter, 5-speed manual from Paraguay


Not a refrigerator, but a pleasing machine from the romantic era of the automobile


New tires a lot of times. Choose Michelin or Pirelli, and stay with them. The performance of the car needs them.

Bad cold-morning start. Changed fuel station and went to an authorized service center for tuning, and it starts OK.

Voltage regulator many times. Leaves you stranded.

Starter engage clutch many times. Noisy start. If you ignore it, it leaves you stranded.

Power steering valve body / pinion a couple of times. But steering is manageable, even with loss of power assistance.

Steering boots a couple of times.

Main crankshaft pulley tore off. My guess: as the power-steering pulley was wobbling at the axle for years, maybe hit by stone, that finally fatigued the main pulley.

Head gasket burned on a cold winter morning. Car was spurting water from the exhaust pipe for weeks, so it was not unannounced. Always use Peugeot anti-rust and de-mineralized water, nothing else.

Front suspension bushes many times. Brake pads (according to use). Brake vacuum servo failed many times: dangerous.

Right front McPherson strut rusted. The car was lower on that side, as the coil was bending the horizontal plate. Changed before a major catastrophe.

Fuel pump changed.

Door handles replaced many times.

Belt twisted by foreign body intrusion. Left unattended: snapped and water pump stopped. Warning lights did their job.

Gearbox synchronizer for first gear failed. Probably abused. Clutch pushing bearing failed. Definitely abused.

Odd noise at start: rubber engine-mounting broke. Big vibration at low speed or decelerating: gearbox mounting broke.

Power sunroof cable failed early. Never fixed as the part seemed very expensive.

Some light bulbs in central console, Econoscope vacuum line, interior fan carbon brush.

Air conditioner failed after a crash, was repaired many years later and was superb, though gas leaked after a week, as a leak in the condenser was not properly repaired.

Whining noise in 3rd gear late in ownership.

Engine overhauled at 130 000 km. Bad gasoline was the main culprit, as it knocked very hard for a lot of the time. Found a couple of reliable ESSO stations, and never filled anywhere else.

Shock absorbers, though not bad at the time. Serious drivers will welcome gas-pressurized ones.

Alarm stalled the car once. Get rid of the alarm and don't put on anything after-market.

FIAM horns a couple of times. Great distinctive sound.

Bulbs for turn signal, brake lights.

Key starter cylinder failed a couple of times.

Digital clock stopped working.

Shift lever linkage disengage with wear of the plastic snap-on hemisphere over the ball joint at the end of the gearbox lever. Wrong design, as it does not have a safety pin. When this happens, you limp home with 3rd and 4th gears.

Main silencer once; later, tubing before the smaller one developed a hole but was fixed by welding. Exhaust gaskets not very tight.

Fuel level sensor failure.

General Comments:

Superb performance. Superb comfort.

Engine power and gearbox ratios gives you quick acceleration. Engine is not "peaky', lots of torque at mid ranges, though it goes up to the red line without hesitation. Instant reaction from the gas pedal.

Surprisingly, fuel economy is very good, even if you drive it hard all-day long.

Chassis is light, and extremely neutral in corners. It lets you know it's approaching its limits with a very discrete screech. Rear-wheel drive is perfectly matched to the rest, and corrects everything that needs to be corrected by applying the gas pedal. No shift of loading, though.

Powerslide is very controllable and very fun. It gives the car character and a sense that you are controlling the car in more axis than simply front-back or left-right. Suitable only for experienced drivers, of course.

Steering is unparalleled. Fast, light, precise, with very good communication from the road. Without it, the car will not be what it is. The relatively short wheel-base helps in this department.

Seats are wide, supporting but soft. Commands are very well placed, easy to understand and to read both during the day or at night. Dashboard, interior door trims, roof liner, carpets are very elegant. Back seat room is surprisingly good, given the dimensions of the car.

Style is a classic: made by Pininfarina. Aerodynamic changes in the following year may have improved road holding performance at very high speeds, but only in the lowered GT; this looks better than before. For the rest it only looks like more plastic. Older fiber glass bumpers are better; very tough for city driving and parking.

Wide engine bay and good ground clearance, perfect for DIY.

Two complaints: noisy engine at all speeds, and low dash trim under the steering column, rubbing my knees. Next year the latter was corrected, but Peugeot engines remain noisier than average.

A car for drivers. A car for travelers. A car for agile city transportation.

More expensive in maintenance than in fuel, but this machine is a luxury, so who cares. The ultimate for me would be one of those US spec 1989 Turbos; only fourteen units ever sold.

Shifted to Japanese to keep the budget under control, but I shall return.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th November, 2012

1985 Peugeot 505 2.3 turbo diesel from North America


Practical and charming!


Fuel pump started leaking at 300k km. Rebuilt at a diesel injection shop.

Hard to start in cool damp weather.

Has always smoked a bit, especially when the motor is cold.

Heater valve stuck on during a summer road trip, which was just brutal!

Rear main seal has always leaked, bi weekly oil level check needed.

General Comments:

Probably the best car I have ever owned, even with its faults, most of which are due to its age. Unbeatable in comfort, cabin space and economy.

This car can carry sheets of drywall, move the contents of a small apartment in one go, or facilitate a car camping trip for you and 4 friends, and all your gear.

It's mostly totally reliable: apart from things wearing out, or electrical failures due to the previous owner's wire grafts coming apart 15 years later... otherwise, this car is unstoppable!

L/100 fluctuates quite a bit: it can use as little as 8/ 100 in the summer, and as much as 12/100km in the winter.

This car seems to really like fresh premium diesel fuel: it sounds like it ate nails on 'discount' diesel, and the power and mileage plummets...

Overall though, I love this car. People stop and stare, since it's so rare now, and I am addicted to that classic diesel sound (ratta tatatatatata!)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd May, 2011