My First Car: Peugeot 405 ‘family’ favourite that took my breath away

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The latest motoring memories in our My First Car series of features see Ian Robertson racking up the miles with his love of driving and the Peugeot 405. 

Right from when I saw the Peugeot 405 at London’s Motorfair 87, I badgered my dad to get one.

The ‘Take my breath away’ music in the advert and fiery cornfields didn’t help the cause, and in September 1988 he bowed to pressure and took delivery of a brand new 405 GL 1.9, similar to the one above but in Cherry Red. He paid extra for the electric sunroof and windows and opted to do that because he preferred the tweed seats in the GL, as opposed to the velour in the GR.

It was very nearly a smaller Peugeot 309 SRi or a Ford Escort 1.6 Ghia but, in the end, my persistence paid off when F700 RMK arrived on the driveway. And 51,993 miles later, and three years on, it became mine after I negotiated a price of £3,500 with him. He was buying a new car and what I paid was better than the Peugeot dealer was offering him.

Upgrades while I had it included racier wheel trims, some red stripes in the bumpers and an upgraded audio system. I kept it another two and a half years and took it up past the 100,000-mile barrier and traded it in for another British-built car, a Rover 214 SLi, in March 1994.

But, with a journey of around six miles to work each way, I really don’t know how I managed to rack up more than 50,000 miles in 30 months but, when you’re 19 and love driving, you just drive anywhere and everywhere, no matter the reason.

Since parting with it, I infrequently saw it being driven around up until about five years ago, and now assume that it has been scrapped as it is no longer registered. Or maybe the next owner ran out of panels to dent, as it was pretty battered when I last saw it parked up in Waitrose in Southend.

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