Suddenly I thought of a beautiful scene that took place in January 2000. The story came up last weekend in Winterberg in the Bremberg ski lift. I thought back to the winter sports holiday of 2000 in Champagny-en-Vanoise. There I spoke to a friendly Frenchman about Peugeot. About his Peugeot. And about our car at the time: the Peugeot 205 GR from March 1992.
The extremely relaxed Frenchman-with-beard was quite old and still vital. He had enjoyed the day in the ski area adjacent to La Plagne. In the evenings he spoke to me in the cozy lobby/bar of the hotel. He pointed to my shirt and asked in French how I got it. It was no surprise that he noticed the item of clothing. I had a ski pulley printed with a beautiful classically drawn advertising image with a lady, a Peugeot and the text J'aime ma Peugeot on top. And the Frenchman - from Alsace - liked it. Not least because he also drove a Peugeot himself.
He asked me which cub of the Lion brand I had. In coal French I replied that we were driving a 205 1992. The man - called Antoine - became enthusiastic and said that Peugeot owed a lot to the 205. Not least because he was also successful in rallies. He himself had driven a 205 Diesel for several years, pass the problem monsieur† His memories of it were good. Now he drove a 406 from the facelift series, a brand new one at the time, with a 2.0 HDI 110 DIN-hp engine. I still think the facelift 406 is one of the most elegant saloons in history, but that aside.
Of course he wanted to know if we had driven to the Alps with the 205. That was not the case. We were four people and decided to travel together and rent a Xantia Break. But I missed the Peugeot, I would have liked to drive it to the French mountains. And want to have an adventure with it. Antoine understood that all too well. We finished our beer glass, said goodbye and I looked back on a nice conversation about Peugeots and other things that made life so nice back then. Like the ski tours on site.
I was happy with my Peugeot. In 1999 I bought the Peugeot 205 GR 1.1, including an ANWB purchase inspection. This could also have been omitted, although it was nice that the finishing touches could be made. But it was a good car, I knew that straight away. The purchase was the start of a lot of fun. Our children were not there yet, and the Peugeot was an ideal companion for trips in the Netherlands and abroad. Count on me to make a lot of fun kilometers with the Peugeot. I loved the 205, and the lion on the grille always purred softly.
The 205 had formidable handling, a nice TU1 1124 cc engine and a mature chassis, which ensured that the 205 always felt a size bigger on the road. And meanwhile he achieved 1 out of 17 average. I did not only drive private kilometers with the always dealer maintained Peugeot. I also used the 205 for presentations in the country for my then employer, a large mortgage lender from Leeuwarden. For example, I drove it to Twente, South Limburg and Eindhoven. Those were nice stretches from the north of Friesland, but those rides went smoothly for life and limb. I whistled them off. It was a pleasure to send with it.
In just under three years, I drove almost 70.000 kilometers with the 205. The compact Peugeot fit me like a comfortable jacket, and it proved that you could really feel better in a Peugeot. I took good care of the 205, and became attached to it. Still, I traded it in. There were several candidates. I thought about a new 206 XS, I came across a young used facelift 306 (5 door, gray-metallic) that I thought about too long. But the 205, I couldn't say goodbye to it in terms of type. So I accepted the offer to trade in the 205 GR for a very late Peugeot 205 Génération 1.4 with 32.000 kilometers on the odometer. However, it couldn't match the magic of my first 205. That battle was uneven.
Because rarely have I had so much fun with a car as during the three years that we used the Peugeot 205 GR 1.1. owned. Antoine must have felt that in Champagny-en-Vanoise too. I thought of that in a flash last weekend, floating in the Bremberg lift in Winterberg. And I thought of the image on the ski pulley, which I had specially printed on it. Because that covered the load completely. I loved the cart. J'ai adore ma Peugeot 205.