All this talk about Peugeot returning to the US, and telling us that there are still some 1500 registered reminded me that I shot this fine 505 wagon just a couple of months ago. And I can confirm that it’s a daily driver, as I know the driver. And it’s not the first 505 wagon of his I’ve shot and written up. He’s going to keep driving these as long as he can.
I shot his previous one back in 2011, and it’s featured in my CC on the 505 wagon. That one was an ’89.
According to Carfax, this one is an ’85, the last year for the legendary XN gasoline four, in 1971cc form. This hemi-head engine’s roots go back to the 203, the first post-war Peugeot, and is essentially the same engine as used in the 404 and 504. After 1985, it was replaced by the 2.2 L “Douvrin” SOHC four, and the turbo versions used yet another totally different engine, the Simca 180 (9NT) engine, as apparently it was more amenable to being pressurized.
This one has the manual transmission; a good call, as these were decidedly modestly powered, at least by US standards. The XN was a fairly smooth running engine and tough, but even with fuel injection it had all of 97 hp and these were pretty big wagons.
The owner of this one is a carpenter/handyman, so he uses it exactly how wagons like this were typically used in Europe back in the day: as professional work vehicles that could also haul the wife and kids on the weekends. Which is why wagons had such a negative prestige image in Europe for such a long time. Nobody would touch a wagon unless they were a plumber, electrician or such. It wasn’t until tradesmen could afford a dedicated van and a sedan for the family that the wagon finally transitioned into a cool lifestyle vehicle for the mobile up-and-coming set, starting with wagons like the Audi Avant. And quickly sedans came to be seen as having a low prestige factor, driven mainly by retired folks.
I love these Peugeot wagons. They were designed from the ground up to haul heavy loads with their extended wheelbase and unique multi-coil spring solid rear axle. Nobody could make a wagon that could haul over 1400lbs of cargo safely yet have such a superb ride even when empty. The 505 is the last of a line of the world’s greatest wagons. I should have been driving one of these the past 25 years here in Eugene. Or several, like this guy. Why didn’t I?