When we think of being innovative in the car world we normally don’t think of Peugeot. The French manufacturer has always built great cars and was successful in Grand Prix racing right up to today. Peugeot even raced at the Indy 500 as well. So can you believe that Peugeot did a vehicle like the Hyundai Santa Cruz back in 1985?
This Peugeot pickup started out as a 505 wagon
It did its own Santa Cruz based on the ubiquitous 505 sedans. To be accurate, this was a conversion of its 505 wagons. The only problem was that it only did this one prototype and then abandoned the idea.
French manufacturer Gruau built six prototypes to gauge the public’s reaction and also as test vehicles. Though somewhat awkward-looking there was a method to the madness. Commercial vehicles in Europe were accessed cheaper taxes than passenger vehicles.
Diesel engines were the norm for these mid-1980s Peugeot 505s
Most of these 505 wagons came with a 2.5-liter diesel. It could be ordered with or without turbocharging, but it is unknown which version this particular pickup has. Power varied from a mere 75 hp to 110 hp.
But there was also a 2.8-liter V6 for added power and torque. This was the same engine that John DeLorean chose for the DMC-12. It was a single-overhead-cam engine with 130 hp. Hooked to the 505’s diesel engine was a four-speed manual transmission.
Making this a pickup resulted in lower taxes for what was now a commercial vehicle
So, by cutting off part of the roof of a 505 wagon, you had a similar vehicle for less in taxes. Getting a commercial vehicle status from the government would allow them to commence manufacturing-or rather converting. But the French government rejected Gruau’s request, and that was the end of that.
But six of the quirky vehicles were made, and one of them will be auctioned off later this month at the Aguettes auction in France. This example has received a recent respray that includes the awful graphics. Inside, it received new upholstery while the rest of the interior looks to have been cleaned up.
The auction house says it should bid up to $24,000 to $35,500. For a restored rarity like this 505 pickup that seems cheap. Especially in the US, this would turn heads as an oddity but also because of its awkward El Camino-like looks. And even in Europe, it is as rare as anything without the price that comes with exclusivity.