Sunday, October 16, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1984 Peugeot 505

Carrying a camera around the same city for years can be a blessing and a curse. You see all kinds of cool stuff, but you also see that stuff age. When I first saw this 1984 Peugeot 505, it was one of the cleanest and shiniest examples I'd seen. Four years later, it's baked all over. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. The same thing happened to my 1985 Pontiac 6000 STE after it was parked outside for years, washed rarely, and not waxed. Cars look great under the California sun, but the sun does not like them!

The Peugeot 505 was one of the last models sold in the US, an unusual luxury car seemingly built for college professors. Despite that, a friend of mine once owned one, and a friend of my dad used to own a few of them. People who own French cars in this town seem to be willing to put up with them and do what it takes to keep them running, provided the car doesn't have some catastrophic and expensive failure that puts it in the junkyard. They can still be found around San Francisco every now and then, usually painted some greyscale color or light blue. I've even seen a picture of a 505 wagon in San Francisco with fake woodgrain side trim. Most that I see suffer from a moderate to serious case of glaucoma on the plastic headlight lenses surrounding the rectangular sealed-beam units Peugeot had to use to comply with US law at the time. It's odd; the 505 is uniquely French, and yet at the same time it doesn't look like the typical eccentric French car. The body looks like a standard, cleanly designed, mid-sized notchback sedan. If anything, one might call it a bit plain. I guess "subtle" is more the word. At any rate, it's certainly not a Citroën CX (though I have heard there's possibly one of those running around town, too, which I'd love to find...). Someone once asked for more French cars here at California Streets, and I'd be happy to oblige if I could just find more of them!

This was the same car in April 2007.


  1. I see it still sports a broken power antenna!
    This one appears to be an STI model with the very reliable 2.0 liter XN6 engine. Not much on power or even economy, but very durable. There are a few of us Peugeot enthusiasts around the bay area and with 100 miles or so from it that keep in contact with one another.

  2. I'd volunteer to be your "roving reporter" here in Los Angeles but I'd only be photoing my own 505's

    1. I wish I could have spent more time in the LA area looking for cars. I was down there in October and found a few good cars (nothing French, though). Haven't had the chance to do much writing for this blog in the last couple months. Hopefully in the near future that will change.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. And yes those two 505's are very nice! I'll cover the central part of the state, again you may only see my 505 twins too!