Guest contributor: Sina Pourcyrous on his 1983 Peugeot 505 STI
This is the story of my reborn 1983 Peugeot 505 STI.
My dad bought it brand new off the showroom floor in July 1983 in the San Francisco peninsula. It was his daily driver for nearly 20 years. Growing up as a child, my father was my role model, so the car inherently became something that I admired, to the point that it kicked me into a lifelong obsession with cars at a time when most kids were playing with crayons and Play-Doh. My parents still say that “Peugeot” was one of my first words.
Years passed and before I got my license, my dad and I started slowly restoring it and making it roadworthy, since by then it had been off the road for about five years. Then when I got my license, it became my high school daily. One year into my ownership, it got hit-and-run in the rear end— fixed it. Less than a year later, I drove it into a curb at 50 mph, trashing the front suspension, bending the frame rail, and destroying a wheel. Fixed that— I had the frame straightened and repaired all the damage. Shortly thereafter, I bought a BMW E30 off a relative and fell victim to the well-known E30 disease, which doctors still have not been able to find a cure for.
The Peugeot then moved to the sideburner as I finished high school. Shortly before graduating, I decided to take the Pug out for a spin one afternoon. While at a dead stop, a careless old guy rammed into me doing roughly 35 mph. The car’s rear end was toast. Trunk, quarter panel, etc. were crunched like a potato chip.
After a year and half of battling with his insurance company and a lengthy legal case, I was able to recover an unheard-of amount for the Peugeot (which had already carried a salvage title from seven years prior from a frustratingly-minor fender bender).
Now we’re at the summer after my freshman year of college, when I finally was able to make some real progress. I found a solid parts car in California Wine Country for less than $100 and towed it home behind the family Volvo wagon. This car donated its rear quarter and other panels to my car. At the same time, I tracked down a trunk, along with a full aero kit from a 505 Turbo. That summer was great. While the car’s body was four or five different colors now, I was able to bring it out to the first annual Peugeot of North America Club West Coast meet in Berkeley, CA. I had a blast, but once again it was back to school for me.
The Peugeot, sometime in the 1980s.
Fast forward to summer 2013, after my sophomore year of college. Right after getting home for the summer, I immediately tore into the car, stripping it down to its bare shell. A good E30 enthusiast friend of mine who happened to manage a paint shop in the SF Bay area was able to find the original paint code for the car, so I gave it to him. He did all of the body work, fixed all of the rust, and gave it a fresh paint job. Picking it up was unreal. It really renewed my love for the car, seeing it once again in its original glory. Then came the reassembly. I had a marathon week of reinstalling all of the individually restored or replaced body parts. A bunch of my old high school buddies came out to help. It was truly a labor of love.
And that brings us to the present, as the car has been sitting under a weatherproof cover at my parents’ house ever since. It’s roughly 85% complete, with only the sunroof cassette, door trim, Cibie French fogs, and European glass headlights yet to be installed. And when I go home for the summer in June, you better bet I’ll be getting on it as soon as possible.
In the years to come, I’ll be undertaking a full interior restoration— not that it’s in bad shape currently, just that I want to track down some minty OEM seats and pieces to get it as original as possible. Also on my list of goals is a suspension overhaul with parts from the Turbo model, as well as some mild performance upgrades to the original 400,000+ mile four-cylinder pushrod engine— which is still going like a champ.
While I love the car to death, the main reason that I could never see myself letting go of it is because of the fact that it has a helped me grow as a person. It has helped me gain an appreciation for detail (some may call it obsessiveness) to everything I do in life. It also has showed me that any goal is possible to achieve when stuck to— simply by the fact that everyone said I couldn’t, or shouldn’t bring it back to life, time and time again. It has also been a great bonding experience for my dad and me— as we both get older in life, I couldn’t picture us not spending those late nights and afternoons wrenching on it together.
This car has taught me the true meaning of the words patience, determination, and community.
Images © Sina Pourcyrous