Project Peugeot: The hunt for the missing parts

Project Peugeot: The hunt for the missing parts

One thing many would-be car restorers often forget is no matter how much new paint you apply to old panels, tatty parts will drag down the overall look when it's finished.

As you remove bodywork to tackle paint blemishes and dents, invariably parts break – and it's when you come to find replacements that things can get tricky.
That's something that I'm finding out the hard way with the restoration of our Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9.

James Poste, Fix Auto Petersfield head honcho, presented me with a wish list of parts when I last visited and unfortunately I've had to report back to him that many are now unavailable.

I've spoken to Peugeot UK who've searched the darkest recesses of their warehouses for some bits I need, with little joy. Many of the parts are now out of production.

This week, James and I went through the list again and accepted that we simply wouldn't be able to get everything. Instead, we'll make do and mend the bits we do have, but there are some that are simply beyond repair.

These include a new windscreen that cracked when it was removed, front indicators that had foliage growing in them and new rear lights. All of which shouldn't be too much of a problem to source as they're still available from Peugeot.

However, there are some parts we must have that require a little bit more detective work. As we're doing this properly, we don't want to stick secondhand or pattern parts on the GTi, we want genuine Peugeot kit – and that's where the problems start.

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"The problem is you're about a year and half too late," explained Ian Kirkwood, chairman of the Peugeot UK owners' club.

"About that time ago Peugeot stopped making and stocking a lot of 205 parts, including the GTi, which is pushing up the prices of those parts that are available online."

Ian spotted this problem and began buying up as many original bits as possible – he now has a vast collection, but not all of those that we need. On our must -have list are fog-lights, headlights and indicators. All of which Ian is confident he can help with.

However, the real problems arise with the C-pillar badges – those iconic GTi monikers that sit just behind the rear windows – and the red inserts that go in the plastic trim around the car.

"Those red inserts are very hard to find and originally cost just £20 – now Peugeot official parts are going for more than £100 a panel online," explained Ian.

"I've got a mate hunting dealerships in Holland for them where there are some still some available. In fact I'm planning to go over there and pick some up soon as they are very fragile.

"As for the badges, well they go for £100 each now. They are nearly impossible to find. But I've got a contact in Solvenia that can get the blank originals and make up a decent set of decals for you."

So this is already becoming a European-wide search for parts for Project Peugeot. Fortunately the bodyshop work is progressing nicely.

James and his team have just applied the primer and a base coat. This revealed a few dents that still needed attention so they're rubbing back and making good before the first coat of paint is applied.

I'll be back at Fix Auto Petersfield in a week or so to don some overalls and help them apply that first coat.

I've got a feeling this could go badly - the last time I tried to paint anything it mostly ended up on the dog...

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