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Grand Monday: Peugeot 405

Published 19 September 2016

Who can forget the original 1989 television advert for Peugeot’s Pininfarina-styled 405? A sleek, elegant saloon car, accelerating through a burning corn field to a soundtrack of Berlin’s Take My Breath Away, it remains one of the all-time classic car ads.

Implications of breath-taking may be pushing things a little too far for this week’s A Grand Monday, though. It’s a 405, and therefore looks sleek, granted. But under the bonnet, this phase one Peugeot 405 has a normally-aspirated 1.9-litre diesel that’s perhaps more suited to harvesting a burning corn field than escaping one.

Even the vendor admits the 405 GLD won’t get you anywhere in a hurry – but that’s not really the point of this car. This is a genuine ‘everyday’ classic. A retro car that is old enough and rare enough to get a bit of attention, yet at the same time modern and practical enough to not offer too much of a compromise on the daily commute.

Plus, the infamous Peugeot XUD engine is as tough as old nails – it’ll run on vegetable oil if you want it to (or so they say), and is renowned for going on and on and on, especially with no turbo to go wrong… With 149k on the clock, then, this one’s barely run in.

Peugeot 405 (3)

Add mechanical longevity to the fact that the 405 has a fully galvanised body shell, and you have a car that’s a perfect example of Peugeot at the height of its purple patch. In terms of quality and longevity, the French brand has yet to return to the heady heights it reached in the late 1980s, when its mainstream cars were among some of the most over-engineered on the market, a fact that didn’t really become apparent until they were still soldiering on long after most of their rivals had gone to the knacker’s yard.

At 26 years old, with a decent six-figure mileage under its belt, this one looks to be in fabulous health. The online MoT history suggests it has had a bit of welding on one floor pan, so check this carefully, but bodily it looks to be otherwise excellent, while the interior is also fresh and tidy, with only some wear to the seat bolster, which is forgivable in a car of this age.

£500 for a hassle-free, mechanically simple daily classic? Get it bought, we say.


Lord Brasic    on 26 September 2016

I had a 1.9 diesel, without the turbo, it had air con, used to have to turn it off when I hit hill, it was the most gutless car I have ever owned. Good job it was so comfortable as it took so long to get anywhere in it. Get one with a turbo and its a very nice car.

Noddy Rae    on 30 October 2016

The only Peugeot that was Galvanised was the 107 and that was only partially dipped so they suffer badly where the Zinc ends and the primer starts!
It's a very common misconception that these lovely old 405s and 306s, etc. were dipped. They were not and frankly they're all the better for it as Galvanising is more trouble than it's worth as many owners of MK4 Golfs, Reliant/Tandy Foxes and Audi 80s will confirm.

The only place where Zinc has any real chance of long term success at preventing excess corrosion in steel bodywork is in the hull of a boat and there, they replace [the Zinc] at every major overhaul. Look up "sacrificial anode". ;-)

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