Buying a 28-year-old, French modern classic, with enough tarmac under its wheels to see it travel the equivalent of Melbourne to the moon, sight unseen, for a ridiculously reasonable price… I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
The fact the car was located in the ‘not particularly close to me’ Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales simply added a degree of challenge to what was, in every possible way, a bad idea.
But here we are, and here it is. My 1994 Peugeot 405 Mi16 Phase II.
Launched initially in 1989, the 405 Mi16 was the more mature and comfortable stablemate of the legendary hot hatch, the Peugeot 205 GTi. Production extended until 1995, with a mid-life change in 1993 signifying a ‘Phase 2’ car like mine.
Here, the iconic aluminium block 1.9-litre 16-valve engine was exchanged for an iron-block 2.0-litre unit, the interior was ‘modernised’ and there were some subtle changes to the rear lamp treatment.
Power output increased from 108kW to 116kW at 6500rpm, but torque stayed the same at 193Nm at 3500rpm. The heavier block upped the 405’s mass from 1115kg to 1203kg, which dropped the overall power-to-weight ratio (96.9kW/t to 96.4kW/t) but even with this, the Mi16 is still pretty lightweight for a comfortable four-door sedan.
I will be honest and say that the Phase 1 cars are more desirable (especially in red), but the Mi16 is something I’ve always wanted and so while my Magnum Grey 2.0 isn’t a perfect example of the perfect specification, it was complete, had the luscious velour interior, was running and most importantly, was very, very well priced.
And really, if you can’t spend a few dollars to take a risk on chatting to a man you’ve never met about a car you’ve never seen that resides in a place you’ve never actually stopped in before… what’s life all about?
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