The Peugeot 205 Champion is a fairly rare limited edition which was only offered in France in September of 1990. Contrary to popular belief, the car had nothing to do with the 205’s success in motorsports and it was designed to spread the word about Peugeot’s then-annual “10 jours champions” (ten champion days) sales event.
Only offered as a three-door hatchback, the 205 Champion wore model-specific stickers on both doors, on the grille and on the right side of the hatch. It sat on the same 13-inch steelies that were found on the 205 XS and was only available in Rouge Vallelunga, a color made popular by the 205 GTi but used on many other PSA-built cars including the Citroën GSA, the CX and the BX, the Peugeot 106 and even the Talbot Horizon SPL. Standard equipment included two exterior mirrors and a rear wiper.
The last modification made to the exterior was that the two pieces of trim found on each of the car’s C-pillar featured a checkered flag pattern. Only fitted to the Champion, these trim bits are unspeakably rare today because they were often stolen by other 205 owners who wanted to give their car a fake performance-focused look.
Inside, the 205 Champion featured GTi-inspired red upholstery and seat belts as well as a three-spoke steering wheel with a checkered flag emblem. The car came equipped with a Clarion cassette player (a real novelty in its market segment) and specific gray upholstery with red stitching.
In spite of its race-bred looks, the 205 Champion settled for Peugeot’s 1.1-liter four-cylinder gasoline-burning engine. It sent 55 horsepower and 64 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission, enabling the hatchback to reach 62 mph (100 km/h) from a stop in a lackluster 14.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 97 mph (157 km/h).
The 205 Champion cost 58,900 francs in 1990, making it slightly more expensive than the 205 XL upon which it was based. At the time, Peugeot said that it was only planning on building 3,000 examples of the Champion but many sources claim that the final number is closer to 4,000.