205 GTI - The journey begins
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  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Icon10 205 GTI - The journey begins

    Hi Everyone,

    Long time lurker here. After 10 years of enjoying a 206 GTI, selling it for the family car, spending a few years in the Peugeot wilderness, the minister of finance has finally given me approval to go on the hunt for my dream car for 20 years.. The 205 GTI.

    Short background, spent days growing up working with my dad on Lancias, Fiats and Alfa Romeos; some of them the kind of car that rusts away before your eyes (except for my old sweet Alfa 75 Twin Spark).

    Those days of the workshop garage and getting dirty are long gone, but really looking forward to taking on a project that I can slowly ease back into things again. I am going to be on the hunt for something that I can work on over time, but definitely initially one that I can at least drive and enjoy not the first stop being the local euro mechanic so I can make the trip home!

    I've been looking at various threads but I am definitely looking for advice as I get started. Is there any threads that have consolidated all the big things to be looking at for as I'm on the hunt?

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    I am hoping to track down a 1991+, ideally white or red; is there any specific colours that are easier or harder to find these days?

    I really want to start at zero and get all my research done early so I am not rushing back with any stupid questions; so all comments and advice are welcome; the more open and french the better!!

    Really excited about what lies ahead and the journey that many have already been on!

    Thanks everyone..
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  2. #2
    1000+ Posts cam85's Avatar
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    On the right track.

    Series 3 is what your after.

    Long story short. Buy the best car you can possibly afford as that will make things easier in the ling run.

    Mechanical stuff is easy to replace. Body work and trim are where you will spend money so make that a priority when searching.

    The interiors dont age well and that another area that can be a pain. Again, find the best one you can. The cracked dash parts are failry easily ontained albiet from the Uk at a price. Seats are usually worn out. The bolsters can be fixed. The material usually cant so find a good set.

    Take your time. Go and drive a few. You will soon know the dofference between a good one and not.

    Dont settle for an average one to do up. It will cost you more and not get finished.
    94 205 Gti Classic #9
    91 205 Si
    87 205 GTi Race Car
    http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/res...-race-car.html

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Richard W's Avatar
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    Maybe for future search purposes we should start a new thread with a title like "205 buyers guide" and throw our comments in there so we've got a thread that will be easily searchable in the future?

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts cam85's Avatar
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    On the right track.

    Series 3 is what your after.

    Long story short. Buy the best car you can possibly afford as that will make things easier in the ling run.

    Mechanical stuff is easy to replace. Body work and trim are where you will spend money so make that a priority when searching.

    The interiors dont age well and that another area that can be a pain. Again, find the best one you can. The cracked dash parts are failry easily ontained albiet from the Uk at a price. Seats are usually worn out. The bolsters can be fixed. The material usually cant so find a good set.

    Take your time. Go and drive a few. You will soon know the dofference between a good one and not.

    Dont settle for an average one to do up. It will cost you more and not get finished.
    94 205 Gti Classic #9
    91 205 Si
    87 205 GTi Race Car
    http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/res...-race-car.html

  5. #5
    1000+ Posts Richard W's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cam85 View Post
    Dont settle for an average one to do up. It will cost you more and not get finished.
    On the other hand, truly good 205s are hard to find - if you are not prepared to buy a car with work to be done and accept that getting it right will normally cost more than the car is worth, then be prepared to wait potentially years to find "the one".

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts cam85's Avatar
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    Too true.
    94 205 Gti Classic #9
    91 205 Si
    87 205 GTi Race Car
    http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/res...-race-car.html

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    Thanks both, this is exactly the kind of conversation I'm keen to hear. I am under no illusion that work and money will be required; and the ROI will not be measured in value of the car but in my enjoyment of the car itself. I am more than happy to be purchasing a car that requires work but also keen to avoid a baptism of fire of sorts from the moment I hand over the money.

    There is definitely enjoyment to be had in restoring this car so for me it will be finding that balance.

    For a decent Series 3 that will require work, is there a price range to be looking that, knowing anything below a number might not even be worth entertaining...

    Thanks so much.

  8. #8
    1000+ Posts Richard W's Avatar
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    VIC205 and Isis both managed to find fantastic late model, low mileage series 3's that required only limited work for less than $4k. Vic's probably spent close to $10k on his since, but it's now a stunning little car. But Vic was looking for well over a year before we found that one for him. I don't think Isis has had to spend anything like that to make his car stunning. But those finds are rare. On the other hand, there will be cars up around $6k+ that can be total rubbish.

    I think it would be rare for a late car for less than $3k to end up being worth it in the long run - but you may get lucky. Both Vic and Isis' cars had problems that led some others to walk past them - it was a matter of being able to see that beyond a couple of identified issues, the cars were fundamentally very good.

    A really good s3 with no problems will now be easily $10k+. If it has a nice interior, good history and good paint, then it would be worth that.

    You really just have to understand what you want to achieve, what different things will cost to fix, and work out if a particular car is good value or not. My thoughts on things to look for and likely costs to fix them are set out below. These assume you have to pay someone else to do the bulk of mechanical and body work.

    • Low mileage (say 160k or less) and good history will make a car worth much more - better chance to ultimately get most of your money back if you resell.
    • Mechanicals are generally pretty tough, except for diffs which sometimes fail catastrophically. Gearshift will often feel sloppy but it is an easy fix with new bushes. Clutch, brakes, steering are all pretty standard and not to expensive to fix if they aren't right. One exception is CV joints which aren't available any more for the late model cars.
    • There are very few cars that won't require a respray to be nice. If you find one, that's a big bonus. Peugeot paint was just rubbish and the top coat always goes off giving you faded surfaces exposed to sun. The only way to fix that is sand it off and repaint. Some cars have been repainted but 205s have been cheap for so long that really good quality resprays are rare. Unless you are going to do it all yourself, budget around $7k for a full respray, plus another $1k if you want wheels professionally refurbed. Plus lots more for the various trims you will end up replacing at the same time. Some of those trims are now getting hard and expensive to find.
    • The red reflective '205 GTI' trim on the boot is extremely hard to replace so check that that is in good condition. Late cars in Australia weren't originally fitted with the louvered trim that was standard in Europe, but that trim looks fine and is easier to find.
    • Most cars will also need rear beam rebuilt. Budget $1,000+ for that (some people have been quoted far more, others may do it for less).
    • Most will be due for a timing belt and water pump - call that $1000 by the time you a couple of other minor jobs that you'll find at the same time.
    • Front suspension bushes can be dodgy by this age - allow $500 for that if you can't go through it yourself.
    • As Cam says, the interiors are the hardest thing to get right. A car with really good half leather seats is a real find. If there is only a small bit of leather pulling apart and the normal fabric pulling away from the back at the base, then that can often be patched okay. But really tired seats are hard and expensive to bring back. It is difficult to re-cover the seats because the fabric is not available (though there are a couple of people attempting reproductions), the foams collapse and they are a difficult shape for trimmers to get right. I got round the fabric problem on my car by retrimming in full leather. However, that cost $3k for the trimmer plus I spent around a grand on new reproduction seat foams imported from France. The seats now look very nice, but still don't look original.
    • I think Cam is understating how hard and expensive it is to find good plastics for the interior. A good black dash binnacle will be likely to be $300 and will be hard to find. Other pieces like the coin tray are also hard to find.


    Cheers
    Richard
    Last edited by Richard W; 25th November 2016 at 03:15 PM.
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    1000+ Posts Isis's Avatar
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    I second all of the above. Few would feel sorry for me, but the downside of finding really complete cars is that you rapidly are left with nothing to tinker with. My cars get driven regularly but other than that, all I can do is stand around and look at them. This makes you wonder why they are hanging around taking up space - I call it 'finished project syndrome'. If you have FPS, it leads you to sell for no good reason. If FPS ever strikes me, I put a cover over them, take an aspirin and lie down for a while.

    So, a project is what you want by the sounds of it anyway. You have a great forum, full of helpful people and the 205 is just a car virtually everyone LOVES, has a story about etc. so well worth it.

    My summary advice is to try and see through the worn seats, faded paint, stained carpet etc as mentioned above and look at the core of the car. Look for a really good base body and chassis - are there signs of a large prang, is the paint equally faded, are there irreversible modifications? This way you wont be polishing the proverbial. Try and buy a late S2 or S3, the S1's are OK but less worth your time and effort.

    Ash
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    S3 205 GTI x 4 and getting lower
    1998 S1 Lotus Elise
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    Thanks so much Richard. This is all great insight, and I will take some time to digest. It's great having an idea on what some of this will cost to sort out; and given availability of parts which should be prioritised over others in the initial stages. I definitely want to be able to work on as many aspects of the restoration as I can.

    My initial expectations I assumed and was planning to budget somewhere between 5-8K upfront, so it seems to be in the ballpark; with opportunity for quick fix on some things dependent on where it is in the range.

    Like I said initially, given how little get sold these days, being a realist as well, If I can find one (i do have a thing for white..) that I can at least drive safely and won't leave parts strung along the road as I drive or air-con supplied by gaping holes in bodywork and knowing what I need to get done over time with a plan ahead then I am happy; the finance minister doesn't need to know the ongoing work costs, really it's not much different to other past times that require investment, but you do get something in return for money and effort.

    Thanks.

  11. #11
    1000+ Posts Richard W's Avatar
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    I agree with Ash's comments. My comments all assume as a start that you have a structurally straight and sound base for restoration. Trims and shiny bits fall off 205s and can be hard to replace, and the plastics all seem to be made of powder, but we are fortunate in that that there is no shortage of good straight cars as a start point.

    The modest value and good supply of straight 205s means there is no reason to bother with a car that isn't straight. And a 205 shouldn't have ANY rust - if it's rusty it's been shunted or something else is very wrong.

  12. #12
    1000+ Posts Isis's Avatar
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    no rust because they are dipped at the factory?
    S3 205 GTI x 4 and getting lower
    1998 S1 Lotus Elise
    2013 Fiesta ST
    2014 Audi SQ5

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    Thanks everyone, this is just awesome feedback; I'll be sure to compile this all into a list at one stage.

    I guess the hardest question to answer is, what kind of timeframes/frequency do you normally see decent options come up?

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    1000+ Posts Richard W's Avatar
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    A couple a year?

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    1000+ Posts Isis's Avatar
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    Keep an eye on gumtree, make your intentions clear to all the specialist mechanics and leave a card/ put a sticky on their desk, attend the French car shows. A lot change hands under the radar, like everything else.
    S3 205 GTI x 4 and getting lower
    1998 S1 Lotus Elise
    2013 Fiesta ST
    2014 Audi SQ5

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    1000+ Posts CEyssens's Avatar
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    With your budget and intention for what you want to work on you should be able to get a very good driver. I'm pretty new to 205s and from what I've learned so far I definitely agree with what the guys have said above.

    Based on what you are wanting and prepared to spend on purchase, if it was me I'd be looking for a very sound body/chassis, including paint no compromise. Inspection on a hoist or get a trusted structural inspection done. The 205s were apparently galvanised after September 87(that's all S2 & S3 or ph1.5 & ph2), I'm not 100% sure on what was done to the S1 cars. With that in mind any metal repair could be prone to rust if not done properly. Also look for water under the carpet, the carpet could appear dry but could have water pooling underneath (not easy to check though...hmm).

    The body also suffers a bit in certain areas from being driven hard, top and bottom of B-pillar and I hear firewall seams but I'm not an expert there. I wonder if some of that could just be from being driven rough in the city, with speed humps, gutters, harsh driveways, multi level carpark ramps, poor hoist lifting technique etc.

    Next on my wish list would be interior, engine and wiring not fiddled with, definitely original good condition front seats are big on the list (almost all cars have front seat issues, collapsed foam bolsters being almost every seat in some degree) it appears that most of the rest of the interior can be found if you hunt (escape clause on that is any S1 of which the dash is 99% likely to be cracked/broken in parts and replacements are not available anywhere).
    I say not fiddled/meddled with because due to the reduced value of these cars since new and the nature of what they are, they are very susceptible to being messed with and also driven hard, even some of those listed at high prices.

    Mechanics... well I'm probably in part regurgitating what the other guys have said but most of that can be fixed relatively easily. I'd definitely agree with driving some and taking your time but being ready to jump if that good one comes along.

    I did the exact opposite of what you are doing, I bought my first Peugeot, being a S1 205GTI on impulse knowing nothing about 205s. So I'm sort of on a different journey of perseverance of dragging a car (or two) back from the grave. I'd not recommend my plan, or lack of initial plan! This forum has been pivotal in my continued interest and passion for this car, heaps of info hear and lots of helpful people with good advise.

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    Thanks so much for the continued feedback and advice. This has been fantastic and demonstrates what a great community is here.

    After reading all this, the only thing that scares me is my patience in wanting to hurry up and find the car now!! Anyone looking to offload one of theirs?!?!?

    A question for those reading, how many of you ended buying (the first time) the colour you wanted? I'm thinking given all of the above, this could be the biggest thing I need to be flexible with.

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    1000+ Posts CEyssens's Avatar
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    The car I bought before the 205 I said anything just not green, then the right one turned up that ticked all the boxes except that it was dark ivy green.

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    1000+ Posts Isis's Avatar
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    The 205 shape is so good that it looks good in virtually any colour, even both black and red. I am aiming for one of each myself. If you ever see a really good Miami blue, then quickly pawn your children etc to get it.
    S3 205 GTI x 4 and getting lower
    1998 S1 Lotus Elise
    2013 Fiesta ST
    2014 Audi SQ5

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    Thanks! I think all the colours are pretty great, optimstic to find a white one first though!

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    1000+ Posts Richard W's Avatar
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    Isis has rather a nice white one. You'll have to make him an offer - it being a completed project and all...

    My first 205 was a Miami - definitely my favourite colour, but no other one has come my may. My project car is Magnum grey, which is my second favourite colour. But I agree with the others - there is no bad colour on a 205.

    I think you look for the right car and you get whatever colour that car happens to be!

  22. #22
    Fellow Frogger! SilverGTi_6's Avatar
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    Default 205 GTI - The journey begins

    Welcome mate. It seems pretty much everything has been covered above.

    I think being flexible on colour would be a good thing, especially if the right car comes up. I always wanted another white one, but the blue really ended up growing on me, so I think you'll be happy with whatever colour you get in the end.

    Best of luck with the search.

    Ben
    Last edited by SilverGTi_6; 25th November 2016 at 09:24 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
    Isis has rather a nice white one. You'll have to make him an offer - it being a completed project and all...
    Thanks Richard, however in following Isis's project, the fact it's only just finished, his FPS is going to have to get pretty strong before those aspirins stop working!

    However, if the aspirin runs out, then I would be all over it!!

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    I need to sell mine now. The dizzy has just been fully rebuilt, and should be here Monday. It's not a series 3 however..
    Phillip Island 1:43 Sandown 1:22 Winton 1:32

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    1000+ Posts Isis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by instigateur View Post
    Thanks Richard, however in following Isis's project, the fact it's only just finished, his FPS is going to have to get pretty strong before those aspirins stop working!

    However, if the aspirin runs out, then I would be all over it!!
    I can only assure you my white one is loved, appreciated and in a good home for a while yet. I did just inherit a nice 1999 TT but there is still more room in the shed.
    S3 205 GTI x 4 and getting lower
    1998 S1 Lotus Elise
    2013 Fiesta ST
    2014 Audi SQ5

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