Peugeot entered three cars in the . It was the 53rd running, lasting through seven days in January and 850 kilometers through the south of France, across its most treacherous roads. The above, serial number C11, is one of them; driven by the Finnish Ari Vatanen, it immediately took the lead at the first stage. But by the second, Vatanen saw himself contending with Walter Röhrl, in an Audi Sport Quattro S1, and soon enough, they were swapping victories back and forth, fighting the closest of battles. The Sport Quattro had won eight events in 1983 and 1984, but Vatanen had won three events with the 205 Turbo T16 the year prior, and the whole World Rally Championship in 1981. If anyone was placing bets, this would have been the rally to do just that.
Audi swapped Röhrl's suspension settings, which actually proved detrimental to the German team, and Vatanen began to show his prowess. He led by 42 seconds. Then, he won seven out of the next eight stages. When his long-standing co-driver Terry Harryman fudged a timing error, leading to a penalty of eight minutes, Vatanen had to make up another four minutes and 14 seconds to hold onto the lead.
In the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 1, with its 33/67 torque split, 345 horsepower, five-speed manual, fully-independent suspension, and incredible, boxy, aggressively wide bodywork, Vatanen in the Works Peugeot wound up leading by five minutes and 17 seconds.
The result should be no surprise. Vatanen, Harryman, and the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 1 won the 1985 Monte Carlo Rally, coming in first in 21 out of 33 stages. All three Peugeots entered finished within the top 5. Vatanen went on to win the 1985 Swedish Rally, the Paris-Dakar Rally four times, and a European Parliament seat.
This Peugeot burrows right into the heart of Group B rallying, that achingly, relentlessly awesome Ozzfest on wheels: with its sixteen valves, four-wheel drive, and a Garrett turbocharger on its mid-mounted engine, this 205 Turbo 16 was a revelation. Lighter, faster, with better traction than the Lancia 037 and Audi Quattro, it dominated the final years of Group B with manufacturer's championships in 1985 and 1986. Monte Carlo was just one of the six out of 11 events that this Peugeot won. Group B would end just the next year, and the Peugeot 205 T16 saw it out.
The chance to make the iconic C11 yours only comes once every so often. And if you just so happen to be in Monaco on May 14th, you devilish cur, you, then prepare to head to , clear your throat, hold up that little auction paddle and write them a check—and a pretty big one, at that.