The time has nearly come for the grand reveal of our Project Peugeot restoration of a classic 205 GTi 1.9, but at the moment I'm holding back on paying it a visit.
The last few weeks have been taken up with arranging the finishing touches for the car.
Fix Auto Petersfield has completed the respray and, I'm told, J39 JMR now looks absolutely stunning.
It needed a few new parts to really top it off. These have now all been sourced, thanks to the Peugeot Owners' Club chairman Ian Kirkwood. New headlamps, fog-lights and red bumper trims have all been found – from as far away as Belgium and Holland.
The only parts we couldn't source original replacements for were the rear quarter panel badges – the iconic GTi and 1.9 monikers are sadly no longer produced. We did plan on getting a specialist in Slovenia to reproduce them for us on blanks, but he quoted a month to do the job so we've found some original blanks and applied aftermarket stickers instead.
Restoration project leader James Poste has received them and told me I won't know the difference.
I caught up with James this week and he told me he's just putting the car back together. "We've reconditioned the alloy wheels since we last spoke and they're looking brilliant," he told me.
We've managed to source a new set of high performance tyres too from the guys at Falken. The ZE914s are designed for sporty cars, like our Peugeot, and have a stiffer sidewall for sharper handling and steering response.
Yes, we know they wouldn't have been fitted at the factory, but tyre technology has moved on leaps and bounds in the last 20 years so we wanted the latest.
Falken is owned by the same company that manufacturers Dunlop, so has some impressive backing, and it has clocked up some serious testing on the world's tracks with its motorsport programme where it produces tyres for its Porsche 911 GT3R. I'm sure they'll cope admirably with the GTi's performance!
We had a bit trouble sourcing a windscreen for the Peugeot too, but Autoglass stepped in and offered to help. There were two different designs for the 205, one with a sun strip and one without, and thankfully the Autoglass experts knew which we'd need – the one with a bronze tint to it.
The existing windscreen had a number of stone chips and when the Fix Auto team removed it, the glass shattered. However, we were after a new one any way because, just as with the other parts, new glass makes a big difference to the overall finish.
As I said earlier, I've put off going to see Project Peugeot lately – the last time I went it had just been treated to an undercoat – I really don't want to spoil the surprise of seeing it completed.
Now, though, I'm desperate to see her in all her glory and with any luck James thinks the anticipation will be over next week – that's if I can wait that long!
Project Peugeot Costs so far
Windscreen: £150 (est)
Thanks to Fix Auto Petersfield, Autoglass, Falken.