Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Peugeot 405 T16

The demise of Group B saw a number of incredibly expensive projects suddenly finding themselves orphaned; 6R4s and RS200s ended up in rallycross, the 240RS and BX 4TC shuffled to oblivion... but Peugeot wanted to make something of the years (and millions) that had been pumped into the 205 T16. They set their sights on the Paris-Dakar rally, taking their Group B model and modifying it into a new Grand Raid machine. This car, the 405 T16, didn't actually have a lot of 405 in it; the chassis was effectively that of a 205 T16 with an extra foot grafted into it to accommodate long-range fuel tanks (and, handily, even out the weight distribution a bit), with a pumped-up 405 silhouette draped over the top. At the hands of Ari Vatanen, it was pretty much unstoppable - he won the Dakar in 1989 & '90 in a 405 T16, having also won in it 1987 in a 205 T16 (as did Juha Kankkunen in '88).

The example you see in these pictures was Vatanen's Dakar car in 1988, which was withdrawn from the event after he and his co-driver incurred too many time penalties. How so? Because the car was stolen from the Bamoko Stadium in Mali and held to ransom! It was recovered unharmed, but unfortunately too late to continue. At the time it was running in the blue-and-white Pioneer livery, but was bought back years later by Peugeot and restored in the Camel colours. And this car, which also competed in the 1988 Atlas Rally, and won the Rally of Tunisia in the same year, is now for sale. Got £200,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Click here and live out you eighties rally dreams...

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