My Dad’s 205 GTi 1.9
Having retired in 1987 and having previously had company cars it was time for my Dad to buy his own car. He had owned a Peugeot 304 Estate in the early 70’s and strangely was keen to own another French car. So what was he about to buy? Yes the obvious choice was a brand new red 2CV.... Having heard this news from my mother, I managed to engineer a trip out with Dad which just happened to pass by our nearest Peugeot Talbot dealer, Myers and Bowman, near Workington in Cumbria. “Oh look at that nice graphite 205 Gti”, that got him hooked, a quick test drive of this Phase 1 demonstrator, he was smitten and agreed a deal to buy that car. However whilst he was on the test drive, I’d spotted a cherry red Phase 1.5 1.9 with sunroof hidden away at the back of the workshop. A deal was done and he bought it in December 1987.
I think his car was the first Phase 1.5 in Cumbria and for a late 50 something it was quite a cool car which attracted loads of attention. However within the first week it suffered its only damage in nearly 30 years. Having parked it at as far away from anyone as he possibly could in the local supermarket car park some scumbag scratched the word “OXO” onto the bootlid. Now with hindsight it was quite funny, but at the time poor old Dad was gutted. He wouldn’t accept the tailgate being repaired so a brand new one was fitted.
Anyway after circa 200,000 miles and 18 years, with mostly the supplier dealer servicing, only Mobil 1 oil being used and less than 6,000 miles between services, the 205 was serviced, cambelt changed, filled with half a tank of Shell Optimax, polished and then parked in his garage in 2005 hooked up to a trickle charger. He was struggling to get in and out of it, but he’d always said it was mine when he’d finished with it. However having young kids and a 205 euro Rallye to support I just didn’t have any time to do anything with it. I kept promising Dad I would re-commission it but did nothing until December 2010 when we just decided to see if it would start. Ok I knew this was a bit daft, with a 5 year old cambelt etc but anyway after a couple of revolutions it burst into life with a steady idle! After a 10 metre drive back and forward that was it.
Unfortunately Dad passed away in 2011 and so I cleared out all the stuff which had surrounded the Gti, took it outside, washed off the dust and then put it back into the garage until July 2015. In a moment of madness, with the help of a friend we dragged out the Gti and swapped it for my Rallye as we live 60 miles away and only have a single garage.
Having trailered the car home, again attracting lots of attention, we thought we’d start on the engine, which was a wee bit smokey. Valve stem seals had been changed before it was parked up but they were rock solid. So my mate (Peugeot dealer mechanic) borrowed a Peugeot valve spring tool and me and my 15 year old son changed the seals, new plugs, cambelt, water pump etc etc and it was back to running like new. The original cam had zero wear and the inside of the engine was spotlessly clean. Thanks Mobil 1.
Lots of cleaning and dismantling, replacing all fuel and brake lines, rebuilding the rear beam, basically all the usual stuff, we had all the mechanicals re - commissioned, the interior and the underneath of the car looking like new by Christmas 2015. With the hillclimb and sprint season looming, I needed to get the Rallye back so the 1.9 went off to get the paintwork refreshed/polished, with the aim to have it back on the road this summer to give my mother a run out in it for the first time in a decade or more.
As usual the timescale went out the window, but here are some photos I’ve just received of it from my mate Rob who is doing the paintwork,
Hopefully it will be finished in time to be displayed at Wigton Motor Club’s display at Dalemain House near Penrith on Sunday 21st August. It’s a mega show with 600 plus cars on display, many from the 80’s.
Anyway that’s a brief story of my one owner 1.9.