French auction is a treat for Peugeot and Citroën enthusiasts

by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
11 October 2022 7 min read
French auction is a treat for Peugeot and Citroën enthusiasts
Photos: Aguttes

Pick ten lots from the forthcoming L’Aventure Peugeot Citroën DS auction, they said. Just ten? When you discover what’s on offer at the Aguttes sale, you’ll realise why we’ve picked 15 – and could have selected them all.

The L’Aventure Peugeot Citroën DS association has grown to include more than 1200 models from the French brands of the Stellantis Group, many of which can be seen at the Conservatoire Citroën at Aulnay-sous-Bois and the Musée de L’Aventure Peugeot at Sochaux. And you thought Paul Cowland had a large collection of cars.

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Our Antony Ingram won’t forgive me for omitting a rather splendid Peugeot 106 Rallye, but there are plenty of French fancies that deserve a new home. The choices are presented in order of pre-auction estimated sale price.

McLaren MP4/9

McLaren Peugeot

Estimate: €1.2m – €1.5m (£1.05m – £1.3m)

This is, by far and away, the most expensive lot at the Aguttes auction. The MP4/9 was the first, and only, McLaren F1 car to be powered by a Peugeot engine, and although 1994 wasn’t a vintage season for the Woking-based team, this is a wonderful opportunity to own a slice of McLaren history.

Chassis number 7 competed in five of the 16 Grand Prix races of the 1994 season in the hands of Mika Häkkinen and Martin Brundle. This car is powered by the 760bhp 3.5-litre V10 engine, which was introduced following reliability problems with the original 700bhp unit. From 16 races, the MP4/9 secured no wins and eight podiums – the first time McLaren had failed to win a race since 1980.

Citroën ZX Rallye Raid Evo 5

Citroen ZX Rallye Raid

Estimate: €200,000 – €300,000 (£175,000 – £265,000)

Aside from the rear lights and badges, the ZX Rallye Raid shared very little in common with the Citroën ZX Aura owned by your aunt and uncle. It replaced the Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 as the French company’s rally raid weapon, making its debut in 1990 and going on to become a hugely successful competitor.

A total of 29 ZX Rallye Raid models were built, each one powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine producing 300bhp or 330bhp, depending on the version. This example won three races and was upgraded to Evo 2 and Evo 3 spec, before becoming a test vehicle for the final Evo 5 development. Yours for around £250,000.

Citroën DS 19 Décapotable

Citroen DS 19 Decapotable

Estimate: €130,000 – €160,000 (£115,000 – £140,000)

This 1965 Citroën DS 19 Décapotable (Cabriolet) was delivered new to the Caribbean island of Martinique for an aborted visit of General De Gaulle. Aguttes reports that the car was sold on the spot to a French civil servant, who sold it shortly before 2010, after having it repatriated to France.

A bare-metal restoration was carried out by a specialist garage in Portugal, so it’s looking fit for a, well, French president. The 1911cc engine, which was carried over from the Traction Avant, doesn’t deliver rapid performance, but when something looks this good, what’s the hurry?

Peugeot 504 Coupé V6 Group 4

Peugeot 504 Coupe V6 rally

Estimate: €80,000 – €120,000 (£70,000 – £105,000)

The auction house has gone into full M&S mode when it says: “This is not just any Peugeot 504 Coupé V6, this car has benefitted from a factory preparation carried out by Peugeot SARI Ivory Coast, with parts coming directly from the racing department of Sochaux.”

Peugeot’s 504 Coupé proved to be a formidable rally car, especially in the likes of Morocco, Kenya and the Ivory Coast, where its ability to withstand the most gruelling conditions gave it a distinct advantage over its rivals. This particular car was owned by the former Ivory Coast rally champion, Adolphe Choteau.

Peugeot 806 Procar

Peugeot 806 Procar

Estimate: €50,000 – €80,000 (£45,000 – £70,000)

Not all people carriers are created equal. With the notable exception of the Renault Espace F1, the Peugeot 806 Procar is one of the most famous racing MPVs, partly because racing MPVs aren’t really a thing. Although it might look like something created in the Top Gear shed, the 806 took part in the 1995 Spa 24 Hours race, where it lined up alongside more familiar saloons and hatchbacks.

It’d be great to say that the 806 stormed to victory, leaving BMWs, Audis and Opels in its wake, but it retired due to engine failure. Still, as your old PE teacher said, it’s the taking part that counts. Besides, the 806 qualified 12thout of 46 entrants. Unfortunately, it’s being sold without its engine and gearbox.

Peugeot 406 Coupé Silhouette

Peugeot 406 Coupe Silhouette

Estimate: €45,000 – €65,000 (£40,000 – £55,000)

Many would argue that you don’t mess with the styling of the Peugeot 406 Coupé. Leave it as Pininfarina intended. Do not modify. It’s a strong argument, but one that’s blown wide open by the sight of the Silhouette. This 2000 example competed in the French Championship from 2001 to 2004, finishing third in 2001 and 2002.

The Silhouettes are based on a tubular chassis, with a mid-to-rear 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine sending 300bhp to the rear wheels. Aguttes says: “It will be up to its new owner to perfect the final adjustments of this car before taking to the track.” Alternatively, you could just look at it.

Citroën DS 21

Citroen DS 21 Luxembourg

Estimate: €45,000 – €55,000 (£40,000 – £50,000)

You’ll have seen cars advertised for sale with a famous previous owner. Maybe a Premier League footballer, a rock star or a racing driver. It’s no guarantee that the car has led an easy life, but it could add a few quid to the car’s value. There’s probably a good chance that this 1971 Citroën DS 21 has enjoyed a pampered existence.

It was owned by the Archbishopric of Luxembourg until 2019, and is said to be in concours condition following a complete restoration. You’re advised to check out the photos on the Aguttes website, because it looks heavenly. Divine, even.

Citroën 2CV 4×4 by Voisin

Citroen 2CV 4x4

Estimate: €30,000 – €40,000 (£25,000 – £35,000)

Not to be confused with the Citroën 2CV Sahara 4×4, which featured two engines to create a four-wheel drive ‘Tin Snail’, the Marc Voisin creation had one engine and an additional transaxle attached to the rear wheels. The rear wheels can be engaged on demand when the going gets tough.

The engineer converted 680 2CVs to four-wheel drive, with this one leaving the factory near Grenoble in 1982. It has covered just 45,300km in 40 years and was the subject of a full restoration about 15 years ago.

Peugeot 205 Rallye

Peugeot 205 Rallye

Estimate: €25,000 – €45,000 (£20,000 – £40,000)

Forget the McLaren F1 car and the ZX Rallye Raid, because this could be the star lot at the Aguttes sale. It would be a stretch to call a Peugeot 205 with a pre-auction estimate of £20,000 to £40,000 a bargain, but this is a proper Rallye. The version built to full Group N requirements.

It’s a clichéd rally car for the road, complete with bucket seat, folded bench seat, welded body, Matter roll cage and 1.3-litre engine. Best of all: it’s has travelled just 2400km since leaving the factory in 1988. Chris Harris bought one in 2015 and described it as “every bit as special as an RS Porsche”.

Peugeot 104 ZS Rallye

Peugeot 104 ZS Rallye

Estimate: €25,000 – €30,000 (£20,000 – £25,000)

There are two examples of the Peugeot 104 ZS in the Aguttes sale and both look as mad as a box of frogs. Selecting one over the other was tough, but this one has gold wheels. It’s also described as a “small bomb ready to hit the road”, which is a line worthy of repeating.

The engine has been upgraded to produce 80bhp, which is an awful lot in a car weighing no more than a bag of sugar. It’s worth pointing out that the other 104 ZS is one of 1000 built for Group 2 homologation purposes.

Poncin VP 2000

Poncin VP 2000

Estimate: €18,500 – €22,500 (£16,500 – £19,500)

Aguttes describes the Poncin VP 2000 as a “rare and unknown 6×6 amphibious vehicle” that’s “very playful”. A little research suggests that it’s ideal for climbing steep slopes, pulling boats out of the water and tackling mountain roads. Where do we sign?

Just 850 were built, each one powered by a two-cylinder engine from a Citroën Dyane. Gilles Poncin built the kind of vehicles you see on a French holiday, including tracked minibuses designed for ski slopes and crazy contraptions for agricultural use. The VP 3000S ‘Super Speedy’ looks like a riot.

Citroën GS Birotor

Citroen GS Birotor

Estimate: €18,000 – €24,000 (£15,500 – £20,000)

Citroën’s first car with a rotary engine was the M35, a testbed sold to selected customers to be monitored by the company’s technical department. At the end of the project, Citroën brought back nearly all of the 267 cars built and promptly destroyed them. A similar fate awaited the GS Birotor.

It was unveiled at the 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show, with power sourced from a 107bhp twin-rotor engine. Although it was well engineered, the Birotor suffered from crippling fuel economy, far from ideal during an energy crisis. Production ceased in 1975, with Citroën attempting to buy back every Birotor it sold. Some, like this example, escaped the cull. It’s thought to be one of around 50 known survivors.

Peugeot 309 GTi 16

Peugeot 309 GTI 16

Estimate: €14,000 – €18,000 (£12,500 – £15,500)

The Peugeot 309 GTi is arguably a more accomplished performance car than the brilliant 205 GTi. It handles better, thanks to its stiffer body shell, which was available as a three- and five-door. Too many were sacrificed for the engines, which is why seeing one today is such a treat.

We were denied access to the 309 GTi 16, which featured a 160bhp engine lifted from the formidable Peugeot 405 Mi16. This example was owned by a retired Peugeot employee who enjoyed 231,000km behind the wheel. Brilliant!

Peugeot 605

Peugeot 605 Taxi 2

Estimate: €7500 – €10,500 (£6500 – £9000)

NINJA! Fans of the movie Taxi 2 will recognise this as ‘Cobra’, a car designed to protect visiting bigwigs. The Peugeot 605 comes complete with titanium bodywork, missile detectors, stealth paint, solid tyres and a twin-turbocharged V12 engine. Top speed: 198mph. Range: 900km (Paris to Marseille).

In reality, it’s little more than a standard car with a stealth-like makeover and a 3.0-litre V6 engine, but it’s almost certainly the most famous Peugeot 605 in the world. It’s the first time it has come up for sale, but the auctioneers point out that there is corrosion on the underbody. Time to perfect your ninja-style rustproofing skills.

Citroën BX 16 RS Break

Citroen BX break

Estimate: €4500 – €6500 (£4000 – £5500)

It would be rude not to include a Citroën BX on its 40th anniversary, but while some of the other BX in the Aguttes sale are arguably more desirable, this is more appealing. A former car of the Ouest France newspaper, the BX wagon was recently treated to a €4500 overhaul at the company’s workshop.

It looks… perfect. We’re questioning our selections, as there are so many cars we could have chosen. One of the Citroën XMs, a Peugeot 505, a GS… the list goes on. Let us know which car you’d take home from the Aguttes sale.

Read more

Our Classics: 1998 Peugeot 106 Rallye S2
309-mile Peugeot 306 Rallye could be yours – for £46,000
10 stunning picks from the Aguttes Autumn auction

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