A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £336,600
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The Peugeot 205 T16 ‘Evolution 1’ marked Peugeot’s ‘works’ entry into top-level rallying, shaking the world of WRC ‘Group B’ with its raw speed. From its debut with Ari Vatanen at the wheel, it was the car that provided two years of almost complete domination of the WRC by the Jean Todt-led Peugeot Talbot Sport team. As well as Vatanen, Bruno Saby, Timo Salonen, and Juha Kankkunen contributed to a total of 13 outright wins between 1985 and 1986, placing Peugeot at the pinnacle of Group B until it was eventually banned on safety grounds in 1987.
The car’s clever, mid-engine 4 x 4 packaging with an accessible, transversely-mounted engine and suspension, and great derivability made it almost unbeatable. With a 16-valve head, mechanical fuel injection compressed by a turbocharger running at approximately 1.5 BAR, the little four-pot developed as much as 400-horsepower at an incredible 8,000 rpm. Peugeot factory stats quoted max torque was 332 lb.ft at 5,000 rpm and, coupled with a relatively svelte 2,160 pounds, acceleration was almost linear prompting some drivers to complain of ‘tunnel vision’.
As one of the most successful rally cars of the astonishing Group B era, the T16 has largely been overlooked, with people idolizing the Audi Quattro for its innovative four-wheel-drive system or the Lancia 037, which was the last rear-wheel-drive car to win the WRC Constructor’s title, and the 205 has, for too long, remained the unsung hero.
The example offered here is ‘the’ Jon Woodner Car, # S007. Commissioned by the wealthy American Real Estate Developer and rally driver in 1984, it was built by Peugeot Sport UK under the guidance of Des O’Dell, before being exported to the United States for Jon’s outings in the SCCA Rally Championship. The Peugeot arrived in the US late in 1984 and its first 'shakedown' was at the Carson City International Rally on December 8/9th. The rally was won by Hannu Mikkola but unfortunately ‘S7’, co-driven by Ty Holmquist, recorded a DNF first time out. The following year, with Tony Sircombe now navigating, only two rallies were entered but 1986 proved a more productive year with 7 SACCA events rewarding Jon and Tony with 5 podiums. The high spot of 1986 was undoubtedly the Olympus Rally in early December which, for the first time, was an official round of the World Rally Championship and consequently Jon and S7, as leading ‘privateers’ were treated to ‘works support’ and an abundance of factory upgrades. 1987 was to be another full season for the team with events in Ireland, France and Belgium however the Peugeot remained at home in the States enjoying five outings in SACCA achieving two seconds and a third in very competitive fields. In early April 1988, Chassis S7 made its final appearance in Jon's hands at the intriguingly named Chattahoochee Forest Pro Rally poignantly resulting in an 'Open Class' win. Sadly, Jon was killed in an aeroplane crash a couple of weeks later on the 24th of April 1988.
Having acquitted itself brilliantly over the previous three years, Jon's beloved T16 was put into storage by his widow in 1989 and she rejected repeated attempts to buy the car, however, in 2000, Peter Johnson, a New Zealand businessman was successful in purchasing S7 and it was immediately shipped to NZ accompanied by a substantial quantity of spares. Shortly after its arrival, Ron McMillan of Road, Race and Rally in Auckland was asked to fully strip and assess the car and he entrusted Alistair Wickens to dismantle the rolling shell and evaluate its condition prior to the rebuild. Having fully considered all the options, Peter Johnson decided on a 'no-expense-spared' rebuild with one or two minor modifications to make it more approachable and acceptable for rallying in the early 2000s. There were small changes made to the bodywork, engine management, and turbo and the car was fitted with Pectel fuel injection, new wiring, seats, safety equipment and a comprehensive replacement and upgrade of the suspension (Proflex), wheels and brakes. NB; the gearbox is now an original, period-correct, 6-speed, H-pattern E1.
This more-modern spec enabled the car to qualify for current events and it subsequently enjoyed outings in the world-famous, 5-day Targa NZ and even UK/Ireland based rallies such as the Killarney International. Peter then formed an agreement with Lancashire-based, ex-works Peugeot driver, Kevin Furber, to buy and keep the car in the UK. Kevin had been around the factory in period and knew the car well so this was a dream fulfilled. In 2005, Andy Medlicott purchased a 50% share in the car to become its joint owner.
Since that time the car has been maintained to the highest of standards, regardless of cost and has been invited to, and appeared at, lots of major motoring events, both in the UK and Europe – Goodwood, Rallycar Day, Rally GB, Race Retro etc. not just as a static display but one that is ready to be driven and enjoyed. To quote Andy Medlicott; "As an ex-works Peugeot driver, Kevin does most of the display driving because the car is still very fast and aggressive and needs to be treated with respect, however, I have had the opportunity to drive on several display events and test it. I remember driving in front of ten thousand people in Holland and feeling very nervous, not wanting to make a mistake but also feeling the need to put on a good display for the crowds, I’m always blown away with the crowd's reactions to this car and I’m very humbled when people ask for my autograph. Thanks to the Peugeot 205 T16, we have been to places we never would have been and met people we never would have met. This includes many works drivers of the Group B era who have subsequently put their signature on the car – Ari Vatanen, Juha Kankkunen, Miki Biasion, Harri Toivonen and even Paddy Hopkirk".
To accompany the T16 there is a history file that includes a District of Columbia Certificate of Title for Jon Woodner and his SCCA Rally Log Book detailing events 1984–87, the New Zealand Certificate of Registration, import and shipping papers for New Zealand and the UK, a 2003 Targa New Zealand Programme featuring S7 on the cover, photographs of the car prior to the rebuild in New Zealand, a T16 Service Manual together with access to numerous films, videos and photographs of the car during its life in the UK with such luminaries as Ari Vatanen, Colin McRae, Didier Auriol, Malcolm Wilson and Chris Ingram amongst others!
A package of spares is included consisting of;
Used (in need of repair) six-speed flat shift -2003- PMG, non-original, straight cut gearbox including case. T16 Engine parts including cylinder head. Light pod with fully working 4 Hella lights from 1988. Fibreglass body moulds for the bonnet, front bumper and front wing. Original T16 Road wheels x 5. Additional new 17" wheels x 2. Brake discs x 4 and pads – new. Suspension components including original bottom arms, steering arms and Bilstein shocks x 2. Evo 1 exhaust system box. Fuel pumps plus a random range of suspension and service parts.
Rarely do such iconic machines with a known history from day one venture on to the open market, making this an opportunity that may not come around again for a very long time.
Video of the Peugeot 205 T16
Ari Vatanen with the Peugeot 205 T16 at Race Retro 2017
Peugeot UK Works Driver Chris Ingram drives the Peugeot 205 T16