Words & photos: Daniel Bevis
The Proxima may well be the greatest idea that Peugeot ever had. I mean, consider the facts:
- It looks like the sort of spaceship a sugar-high child would draw
- It's got thundering great turbos hanging out of its exposed guts
- It's surprisingly practical, with opulently-trimmed cabin space for four
- It has solar panels on its tail, pre-empting the 'responsible supercar' trend by decades
- It's impossible not to fall helplessly in love with it at first sight
Unveiled at the 1986 Paris Motor Show, the Proxima showcased all of the clever ideas that were whirling around Peugeot's design office at the time. A fiendishly complex electronic brain ran everything from engine and transmission control to the traction and braking systems, while the bodywork was fashioned from ultra-modern (at the time) carbon-fibre. A polycarbonate flying canopy turned the occupants into a kind of jewelled exhibit, while the wheel-at-each-corner design with zero overhang spoke volumes about its sporting intent.
Power came from a 2.8-litre V6, boosted by those two turbochargers that are so wantonly on display, each with its own air-to-liquid intercooler, giving the Proxima around 600bhp to play with. An on-demand traction system could shuffle power from the rear to the front wheels if situations demanded, while advanced ABS and carbon discs reined in the thrust.
Inside, the driver enjoyed sat-nav (in the mid-eighties!) and a visualisation system made up of five external cameras, and security was taken care of by an electronic key card. Oh, and those photovoltaic cells on the rear deck? They harnessed the sun's energy to power the internal ventilation system.
OK, the solar cells are looking a bit shabby today, but this concept is every bit as eye-catching, jarring, and downright sensational as it was almost three decades ago. If there's ever a car that should have been put into production regardless of any notion of cost or logic or potential sales figures, it's this one. What a wonderfully weird contraption.
Snapped at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed - click here for more photos