This month we speak to Rob Ostle who has a serious passion for the Peugeot 205 and remembers being the coolest kid on earth!
The passion for the Peugeot 205 started as a young boy, no older than 10 years old. My mum owned a G registered 1.9 GTI in Miami Blue (this was the limited edition car, presented with full grey leather, power steering, electric windows and a factory fitted sunroof).
Mum used to take my sister and I to primary school at the time, there was no better feeling than rocking up at the school gates in the iconic hot hatch thinking we were the coolest kids on earth – well to be fair, we were, as none of our friends had this privilege.
Fast-forward a few years to when I was able to drive and you guessed it, 205 GRD was my first car, not the quickest car in the world but I loved it! Unfortunately it cost me the earth to keep on the road but I persevered. I then decided it was time for a change and opted for the newer 206 XSI as a suitable replacement. Yes it looked good and went ok but sadly, it was no 205.
Robs 206 was short lived; he then progressed onto Subaru’s, but that Peugeot spark never disappeared – his journey led him to a 205 GTI in cherry red, sadly, after a time of hardship, the GTI was put up for sale.
Pictured above is Rob’s cherry red GTI, looks immaculate don’t you think?
I regretted that day ever since and felt I needed to do something about it. After 2 years I tried to buy it back, but the guy wasn’t selling it (to be fair I didn’t blame him). I carried on my quest, 205’s came and went, I missed auctions and sales by the skin of my teeth.
Robs 30th Birthday past, and as the GTI celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014, he thought it was a fitting time to start the hunt again.
After trawling eBay, I came across this H plate 1.9 GTI in Sorrento green, but bids were going much further than I wished to pay so I contacted the seller, a nice chap called Brian from Darlington. I asked if he could end the auction early and he replied saying he was open to sensible offers… Brian accepted my offer of £2000… I was over the moon!
The day of collection arrived, my girlfriend and I travelled over to Darlington to collect the new addition where we were greeted by Brian and the GTI;
Yes it needed a lot of work, but after I popped the trade plates on for a test drive, I knew I had to have it – All I can say is that I’ve never enjoyed a drive home like that for years!
Once at home, Rob started to inspect the car thoroughly, and his initial assessment was confirmed, this was no five minute job. Rust was the major issue and it was time for Rob to roll up his sleeves and tackle the decay by cutting out the rotten areas and welding in new metal.
I contacted Stuart (My local MAC Tools dealer) and purchased a new MIG welder. At 165 amps, it was probably overkill, but I thought it would be better to go in prepared. The welder was supplied in gasless mode, which is no good for thin materials as it would be too hot and messy.
I initially looked at gas cartridges which weren’t going to be cost effective. I also had a word with [company name omitted] but their rental fees on the bottles were horrendous and for me to use them was going to be a very expensive situation to be in. I searched the internet for an alternative source and came across Hobbyweld.
Hobbyweld appealed to me for a few reasons;
1. No rental fee, just a one off deposit.
2. Cheap refills on the bottles.
3. Keep the bottle as long as I need.
4. A local friendly stockist.
Then you’ll laugh at this part, the local church newsletter came through the letterbox advertising my local stockist PSSI in Penrith, so I popped in and saw Gavin and the team and explained I’d seen they were my local Hobbyweld Agent. They explained the whole process which was exactly as described on the Hobbyweld website, I needed a regulator and fittings to go on the welder to convert it and within a blink of an eye, it was done, and we were off home to test the gas!
I hooked up the regulator to the Hobbyweld Cylinder and set up the gas pressure I needed and away we went. First Impressions say a lot to me and I was thoroughly impressed. The gas kept the welds stable with minimal weld splatter etc. and basically awesome results even on 23 year old 205 steel. Within a couple of hours the boot floor was repaired and my first thoughts afterwards were – I like this a lot.
In no time at all and with the help of a friend, Rob had the front end offered up and welded into place along with a bonnet and set of new wings.
I picked up a plasma cutter for the project, as some areas on the car grant very little access. Within a few minutes of hooking it up I was raring to go and started to cut out the bad sections of the rear inner arches.
It was time to fire up the welder, yet again, minimal hassle, no mess, no fuss and a controlled weld. I’m still amazed by the performance of my welder with this gas!
After doing a few other projects with the welder, it was time for a new cylinder; I certainly think you get value for money. I returned to PSSI for a refill and the chap on the desk couldn’t have been more helpful.
The engine and gearbox need to be removed, along with all suspension and axles so they can be blasted and powder coated.
I want the car to look completely standard, like it did when it rolled out of the factory in 1991, so a full body respray will be needed along with a wheel refurbishment.
I have since recommended Hobbyweld to my friends who are also undergoing restorations and they seem very pleased with the gas too… Big thumbs up from me!
Best of luck with your restoration Rob! Follow Robs long term project on the 205 GTI Drivers forum.
Article by John Holmes | Visuals provided by Rob Ostle