The Peugeot factory was founded by the Peugeot brothers. Around 1810, it was transformed from a mill near Montbeliarde into a manufactory for the production of rolled steel. Initially it produced springs, saw blades, hand tools and coffee rollers. In 1885, under the leadership of Armand Peugeot, the automotive industry was added to the portfolio.  Even a two-seater tricycle was included in the range of models. 

In 1904, the new single-cylinder Bébi-Peugeot was presented at the Paris Motor Show; it became a real people’s car.  In the meantime, the Peugeot brothers’ sons had also started to produce cars; their emblem was the distinctive Peugeot lion. The companies then merged, and by 1913 every second French car was a Peugeot. Production exceeded 10 000 units for the first time in 1923.

The Peugeot 201, launched in 1929, was the first car model to have a three-digit model name with the character 0 in the middle. It was the company’s first production model. The one millionth Peugeot was produced relatively soon after the Second World War.

The Peugeot 403 marked the beginning of the collaboration between Peugeot and Pininfarina. In 1967, Peugeot acquired 90% of Citroen’s shares, thus creating the PSA holding company.

In 1978 Peugeot started to develop a new small city car, which resulted in the 205, launched in 1983. The 3.7-metre model remained in production until 1998, when the successor to the 206 was launched.

The Peugeot 205, which sold 5.3 million units, was also produced as a Group B rally car. The four-wheel drive, five-speed manual transmission, mid-engined mini-beast won the world championship in 1985 and 1986, driven by Timo Salonen and Juha Kankkunen. The Finnish drivers took both the individual and team championship titles.

An accident in Argentina in 1985 left Ari Vatanen out of the line-up, but life did not stop there, as Peugeot prepared for another world championship race. The French team were so keen to stay ahead of the pack that they took to the start line of the 1000 Lakes Rally in a newly developed Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evo 2.

Compared to its predecessor, this racing machine was completely redesigned, with an engine capable of producing up to 450 hp, a hundred hp more than before, thanks to a larger turbocharger. The car was given huge wings to increase downforce and its weight was reduced by 30 kilograms. The success of these changes also led the team to give Peugeot an unassailable advantage over Audi in the rally world. Even to describe it is surreal.

It was a testimony to Jean Todt’s humanity that, once Vatanen had overcome the life-threatening accident and begun the bumpy road to recovery, the French team boss even asked for a clutchless car to be designed so that the Finn could continue his career, even if he could not use his left leg.

Built in 1985 and with only 39,500 kilometres so far, the road racing car is estimated to be worth between €170,000 and €200,000, or around HUF 61-72 million.

Ádám Gubán

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