Peu­geot 205 GT

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK - CHAR­LIE CALDER­WOOD

1990 PEU­GEOT 205 GT I’d never checked the age of my 205’s tyres be­fore this sum­mer. When I in­spected it prior to buy­ing it, I iden­ti­fied that the tread was at close to new lev­els and, be­ing in a bit of a rush, quickly moved onto other parts of the car. I know that tyre com­pounds age, but per­haps I was fooled by the Peu­geot’s rel­a­tive moder­nity into think­ing that its tyres wouldn’t be all that old.

Dis­cov­er­ing that the All Party Par­lia­men­tary Group for His­toric Ve­hi­cles was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the is­sue of old tyres on clas­sic cars, how­ever ( CCW 6 June), prompted me to check my own tyres. The mark­ings ‘14/08’ re­vealed that my tyres were made in the 14th week of 2008 – al­most ex­actly a decade ago.

This was at odds with the Pug’s MoT his­tory, which showed reg­u­lar use up un­til 2016, but then I re­mem­bered that my pep­per­pot al­loys weren’t orig­i­nal to the car. The tyres must have been on the wheels long be­fore the al­loys made it onto my car.

The tyres seeed to have plenty of tread and there was no vis­i­ble sign of de­graded rub­ber, but I de­cided to re­place them. Just be­cause tyres are le­gal doesn’t mean that they are ad­e­quate, some­thing I dis­cov­ered last year when my Scirocco slid into a bush on tyres that were still within le­gal tread lim­its, but had clearly lost a sig­nif­i­cant amount of grip.

My new Falken ZE310s prom­ise good grip for their mid-range price point, so I dropped the 205 off at my lo­cal garage in Cam­bridge, Archdea­con Mo­tors, who had the new shoes on in a morn­ing.

I can’t say that I’ve no­ticed a huge dif­fer­ence in the car’s han­dling out on the road as yet, though the slight vague­ness the steer­ing had at high speeds has been re­duced a lit­tle, most likely thanks to the more sup­ple rub­ber. My brak­ing dis­tances do feel no­tice­ably re­duced how­ever, which tal­lies with tyre test­ing that CCW has done in the past. More than any­thing else, though, the car is far less likely to suf­fer a sud­den tyre fail­ure, which old tyres are prone to. So too, if I do meet a clump of old damp leaves mid­corner again, this time, my tyres should have that ex­tra few per­cent­age points of grip to deal with it.

Peu­geot drew plenty of com­pli­ments dur­ing its first visit to Archdea­con Mo­tors.

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