The Failures

Samurai without a master – My 605

I had a big Peugeot. As you can imagine, it didn’t end well. Though for once it wasn’t my fault.

It’s no secret that I’ve owned a lot of old crap in my time, but if I’m being completely honest with you, I was sort of hoping this car might buck the trend. It was a Peugeot 605, which may as well be the teeth from an egg generator here in the UK. However, its rarity didn’t mean it was a gamble. Quite the opposite in fact. The car I bought had loads of history. It was outstandingly clean, both inside and outside.

It also seemed to be able to go from point A to point B without fire/death/explosion, which, for one of my cars, was a huge plus.

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If you’re wondering just what the hell a Peugeot 605 is, let me explain. Germany is not the only country that likes to make big, luxury saloon cars. As you know, many countries do, and France is no exception. The thing is, the French offerings only seem to sell in, well, France. We normally get offered them for about five minutes, we look with the slightest bit of curiosity, then we go and buy a BMW. The UK motorist is not brave enough to buy a big French car. We’re such strange people.

So that’s what the 605 is and that’s why you’ve probably never seen one. I think Peugeot sold two in the UK. One to an unnamed executive and I bought the other one. Oh, but you might have seen them on the silver screen. I’ll get this out of the way now, because as a 605 owner this tid-bit became rather irksome. The 605 was in Ronin. You know, the film that is literally only famous for the car chases. Don’t scoff. Tell me what the plot is? Anything? Can you tell me the colour of the boathouse at Hereford? No. Exactly.

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That’s not my car. Somehow I managed to find a press shot. Mine was the same though. It was an SRti, which means it had a 2.0 8V petrol engine complete with turbocharger and five-speed manual transmission. Turbo you say? No, it was not fast. Pushing the accelerator into the carpet resulted in more noise, a lot less fuel and absolutely no change in forward momentum.

Speed didn’t matter though, because man alive was it comfortable. Seriously, I have never owned anything so calm, quiet and relaxing. Though that probably speaks more about the cars I have owned than the 605 itself. Still, it was nice. I had no leather, just lots of French cloth. But it was lovely. I genuinely miss its innards. I don’t miss the keypad I had to put a code into each time I started it, though.

Ooh, and it also had a kick-ass stereo. Or at least it was to look at. It could only pick up Radio 1, which was annoying. It had a CD multiplayer, too, but I was buggered if I could find it.

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In terms of driving it, it was fine. It actually never let me down. Okay, so for some odd reason the steering wheel wasn’t on straight. Oh, and the sunroof was possessed. Like some sort of low-rent Christine that just got you a bit wet if it was raining. But other than that, it was tip-top.

Actually, no, that’s not entirely true. I did manage to bend a gear selector rod once, rendering the car as a one-speed. And trust me, trying to drive everywhere in fourth is not fun. Thankfully the local garage fixed it for £40. Mustn’t grumble, as Mark & Lard would say.

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And that’s about it, really. I drove it, it worked, I liked it a lot, then I got a new job. Normally that wouldn’t matter, were it not for the fact it came with a company car. As I still had my Zodiac on the driveway there was no room at the inn for the 605. I sold it to a bloke from the pub for £300. He fitted a dump valve and then wrote it off. I’m not sure if the dump valve was a contributing factor to its write off, but you never now?

Shame really. From what I could see, it was one of a handful of 605s left in the UK. It was almost certainly the only 605 SRti left (though I’m happy to be proven wrong). I miss that big, silly French beast. Thankfully they don’t come up for sale all that often, though saying that, there are two on CarAndClassic right now. I’ll be right back, just going to check my bank balance…

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