Fearsome Frenchie: 1984 Peugeot 205 Turbo 16

Legend generally has it that the Audi Quattro dominated the World Rally Championship and the iconic Group B class of flame spitting, air catching homologation specials. But popular belief is wrong, as though the Audi was successful, it was far from the walk-over that many fans believe it was. The Quattro was challenged at every step; first from the establishment Lancia with the 037 – a rear-drive, mid-engine super-lightweight special. Lancia proved that a lightweight, better balanced design could best the nose-heavy Audi even in inclement conditions and though the four ring’s Hannu Mikkola won the driver championship in the WRC for 1983, it was the Lancia who captured the constructor’s title.

Things got more interesting in 1984, as major modifications and increasing power introduced new players to the field. The season started out where 1983 had left off, with the long-wheelbase Audi Quattro A2 and the Lancia 037 dominating the first eight rounds of the championship. Round 9, though, saw a new, unorthodox design launch. As Audi rolled out their shortened, upright and more powerful Sport Quattro, Peugeot emerged with the diminutive 205 economy hatchback. Yet it was not a front-engine, front-drive design as they’d be seen on the road; stripped, widened, and seriously turned up, the new 205 Turbo 16 was a mid-engine, all-wheel drive turbocharged revolution that would go on to dominate the Group B competition over the next two seasons.

Just how dominant was it? While the 205 Turbo 16 didn’t look or sounds as impressive as the leaping, massively winged Audis or outrageous turbocharged and supercharged Lancia Delta S4, the chassis balance, power delivery, reliability and driver combination was spot on. The results spoke for themselves; there were 29 races the 205 Turbo 16 raced in WRC before Group B ended – Peugeot won 16 of them. Audi? After the 205 was introduced, they won one. That’s right, Audi only won ONE race outright after Peugeot entered the arena. So while the Sport Quattro might be a legend, it wasn’t a particularly successful car in terms of racing. It may have come from over the border and an unusual source, but when one of the 200 homologation special 205 Turbo 16s comes up for sale, it’s something of an occasion that is worthwhile to look at – and perhaps the hottest hatch ever made:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 on eBay

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Le GLi: 1989 Peugeot 309 GTI

Let’s suspend our rules of engagement at GCFSB for a post and look towards Germany’s western neighbor, France. While we write up a Swede from time to time, it’s not often that French cars make our blog. But since the Franks, who established rule over France under the Merovingians in the late 400s, were actually a Germanic tribe, let’s make an exception and consider this listing. Being a fan of European cars, it’s not often that I get stumped by one – but in my normal searches I came across the front end of what appeared, at first, to be a Peugeot 205 GTI. The 205 is perhaps the car that out-GTI’d the original GTi, better handling, awesome looks and more speed meant it’s become as legendary as the car credited with starting the market segment. But it didn’t look quite right, and a closer inspection revealed it was in fact the bigger brother of the 205; the 309. In GTI trim, they mimicked the recipe started by Volkswagen; turn up the engine, lower the suspension, fit larger alloys and of course stick red accents and “GTI” badges everywhere. Producing 120 horsepower and with low weight, these were fairly potent hatchbacks in their day:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Peugeot 309 GTI on eBay

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