The U.S.A.’s 25-year import rule means there lots of cool cars available to import each and every year. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Peugeot is a fine example that’s been around for a while. Let’s see if this grey market car’s price makes it worth the wait.
Jeep’s XJ Cherokee is at an age where it is heading into that nether world between daily driver and classic keeper. Nice ones on the market are becoming increasingly rare, making those that are even half-decent all the more covetable. Yesterday’s 1996 Jeep Cherokee was appreciably nice, albeit with some body issues here and there. That condition was lauded, and proved the primary factor in its $4,999 price earning it a narrow but unassailable 56 percent Nice Price win.
Have you ever noticed that France is always ahead of the game? Decades before crossover crazy America was rife with tall car conversions, the French were getting their crossover fixes with the Matra-Simca Rancho.
A ‘Soft-roader,’ The Rancho was designed by Matra to capture the outdoorsy look of the English Range Rover, but at a fraction of the cost and without all the real off-road bits that could go wrong. Sadly, we never got the Rancho here in the U.S.. This is especially disappointing as I would have eagerly bought one just so I could call it the “Rauncho.”
Simca, which provided the basis for the Rancho in the 1100 pickup, was a perennial foster child, shopped from one car company parent to another. The company was eventually absorbed, blob-like, into PSA Peugeot Citroën, at which point the Simca name was no more.
Fortunately, the company’s reputation for fun and funky cars would outlive it with its PSA connection, and we have just such an example of thiat right here—a 1989 Peugeot 205 GTI with Dimma body kit.
Okay, so you’ve probably heard of the Peugeot 205 GTI, as it’s one most heavily lauded small cars of the past half century. CAR Magazine crowd it “Car of the Decade” at the end of the ‘80s, and even today its combination of small but sensible size, terrific handling and uncommonly good looks has a ton of appeal. This one takes all that and turns it up to 11.
The Dimma bodywork that accomplishes that noble feat is from the Belgium bodier Dimma Design. The ad says that the GTI was originally sold in Europe, but was shipped to Japan in the early ‘90s.
It was under the Rising Sun that the 205 was fitted with the Dimma kit in 1998. That bodywork is intended to emulate the 205 T16 Rally car but doesn’t go so far as to move the drivetrain to the back seat.
No, the 1.9-litre, 128 horsepower SOHC four still sits up front, driving the front wheels through a five-speed stick. The engine is said to have enjoyed a recent oil change and a fresh set of plugs. The battery seems to be one that was fitted to the car while still in Japan, and everything else in here looks about as you might expect.
The interior of the car seems to be in decent shape too, with sport buckets exhibiting minimal wear for their age. The red carpet is a nice throwback as is the leather-wrapped steering wheel, although the latter is missing its center. Also missing is a lid on the dash top, something you probably won’t be able to pop down to your local AutoZone to replace.
White-painted Volk TE37 alloy wheels underpin while up top an externally-sliding moon roof lets the rays in. The bodywork is in fair condition with some chipping noticeable on the front bumper. The off-side headlamp also seems to be suffering some corrosion issues in its reflector making it look like it’s cataractic. There’s 138K (kilometers) showing on the odo which could explain the flaws.
The car carries Washington plates, and, as it’s well over the 25-year hump, it should be ignored by the Feds for the most part. Obviously those of us living in California with its vastly more stringent emissions standards will have to just sit this one out. Yes, you could get the car BAR certified, but then, even with its cool Dimma kit, is it worth doing so?
At $14,995 you’d have to ask yourself whether the car is worth it at all. This unique 205 has made the rounds over the past year or so and is at present being advertised on Craigslists all across the country to drum up awareness. It’s also just seen a price drop to that present $14,995 asking. What do you think, is it worth that? Or, is this a wide-body with a very narrow audience?
H/T to juliorobertod for the hookup!
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