Condition: Just as stylish as the brochure promised
Seller: Car & Classic
Can you put a price on style? Yes, apparently, and it’s £4495 – provided the Style you’re talking about is this Peugeot 309 in one of its numerous special edition forms.
Several brands have really milked the low-effort special edition over the years. Austin Rover was a master at it, churning out dozens of artfully-decorated Minis during the second half of the model’s life. The Metro also had its fair share.
Mazda’s MX-5 had a good run too, and if you can identify the differences between a Mk3 Ford Fiesta Calypso, Fanfare, Sound, Freestyle, and a baffling run of other models that all seemed to be painted blue and wear the same wheel trims in the brochure artwork, then your Ford knowledge apparently knows no bounds.
But if any brand can match these titans of dealer-pleasing specials, they must surely be French. Scan contemporary price lists for Renault, Citroën and Peugeot, and the variety really is astonishing.
When it comes to Peugeot, it’s a course de deux chevaux between the titchy 106 and slightly larger 205. The larger-still 309 wasn’t far off though, with a healthy range of perked and preened models over the years. Even the GTI got in on the act, with variants like the UK’s ‘Goodwood’ and Switzerland’s ‘Magic’, but it’s the models lower down the range that received the most attention, the usual SXs and GRs jazzed up just enough to improve showroom footfall.
The ‘Style’ badge appeared on several Peugeots over the years, most of which were so-named to sneakily hide their entry-level status in the range. On the 309, it ticked all the default special edition boxes: its white or silver paintwork was splashed liberally with graphics and ‘Style’ decals, and the interior gained unique upholstery, dubbed ‘Mosaic’, plus a Philips stereo upgrade.
Your author’s favourite touch, though, has to be the way the Style’s coloured graphics have made it onto the white wheel trims, and the fact this car still has them attached is remarkable.
In fact, the overall condition from the impression given by the pictures is something to behold, from the unmarked blue piping of those Mosaic-trimmed seats to the tidy under-arch, boot and underbonnet areas, all of which are first to show signs of neglect on these old Peugeots. The only notable wear seems, oddly, to be the rear seat bench, whose cloth trim is bunching up in places.
The Style was motivated by a simple 1.3-litre, single-carb four-cylinder, good for 64bhp. With a kerbweight around the 860kg mark, and a five-speed gearbox, that’s no doubt sufficient. Whether you see it justifying this car’s £4495 price tag is a different matter, but like we said at the top – what price can you put on Style?