In the history of Peugeot, the 309 is an odd one out. Still, for a model not intended as a Peugeot, the car fitted wonderfully with Peugeot’s design language, especially when the rear was thoroughly revised in 1989.
The Peugeot 309 is more or less the successor of the Peugeot 305, without a doubt the predecessor of the Peugeot 306 and also a distant ancestor of the current 308. Let’s not beat around the bush: that makes no sense at all in terms of chronology. Were the French drunk, or is more going on here?
Well: the latter. The 309 was not at all intended as a Peugeot, but as a successor to the Talbot Horizon. The last test specimens bearing the Talbot Arizona name are barely distinguishable from an early 309, except for the logos, which was marketed as such because parent company Peugeot decided to pull the plug from the Talbot brand in the 1980s.
Interestingly enough, it is at the same time no coincidence that the 309 design-technically fits so well with the more famous and smaller 205. The 309 also has many similarities with the Peugeot Vera study models from the early 80s. The middle section, with the high side windows and the striking, convex rear window, is very similar to those concept cars.
The 309 appeared in 1985 as a three-door hatchback and five-door hatchback. Instead of a traditional hatchback shape, Peugeot opted for a liftback-style body, with the described panoramic rear window as a striking detail. The nose is very similar to that of a 205, while the butt of an early 309 with its rectangular and tightly split light clusters in three colors is nicely recognizable.
It was precisely that butt that had to die when it came time in 1989 to modernize the car. The rectangular lights were replaced by smaller, diagonally cut ones in a more modern black / red livery. The ribbed center plate was allowed to remain, but from now on it was finished in black. More importantly, this part was part of the valve from 1989, where it was previously a permanent part of the body. In practice, this meant a significantly lower lifting threshold and greater access to the luggage compartment. Another change: the large, upright rear window wiper, which was retired, was replaced by a more subtle horizontal one.
At the front, a later 309 can mainly be recognized by a different grille, but then you have to look carefully. There is still some important news in the form of the dashboard, which looks undeniably more modern thanks to a new shape and different use of color. Under the skin the changes were more drastic. The old Talbot (Simca) powerplants made way for more modern Peugeot engines from the 205 and 405 during the facelift in 1989.
Source: AutoWeek by www.autoweek.nl.
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