French cars aren’t all that common in Hungary, and as time goes on there are fewer and fewer French classics are on the road. So to find not one but two ’80s Peugeots, let alone modified versions, is about as remarkable as car finds get here.
I’ve been wanting to shoot Sonny Sándor Szijgyàrtò‘s – AKA Sonny Works – 1986 Peugeot 505 1.8 SR for a long time now. We had planned to do a photoshoot in spring, but unfortunately that never happened. However, Sonny and I managed to get it done before he put the car away for the winter. And not just his 505 sedan either, but also his 505 wagon.
Sonny purchased the SR sedan in March 2017. Prior to this he had owned other Peugeots models, but really wanted a 505 which are considered rare. The uniqueness of these cars lies in their rear-wheel drive chassis and the striking resemblance they bear to old Nissans. The latter provided Sonny with a clear idea of how he wanted to build up the car: Japanese style. Lot of ideas were swirling around in his mind, and Sonny wasted no time putting them into action.
During the first round of modifications, Sonny fitted Peugeot GTI-spec suspension and a custom air-ride system, plus classic-style 15×9-inch eight-spoke wheels with stretched 195/50R15 Toyo Proxes tires which required the fenders to be pumped and the lips modified. A rear wing and bullet mirrors up front completed the look, before fresh factory silver paint was laid down over the bodywork.
A limited slip differential and GTI brakes with EBC pads were also fitted, while the interior was upgraded with GTI seats and a wooden steering wheel. In just four months, the first version of Sonny’s dream car was completed. He used the Peugeot in this configuration for a full two years, attending various meet and events. Then the 505 wagon came along, but we’ll get to that in moment.
Given the 505’s rarity, finding any spare parts was a challenge, but Sonny always kept an eye out, especially for the really hard-to-find components. Sonny was overjoyed when he tracked down a pair of USA-spec front lights, which led to a few minor changes for the Peugeot sedan. At the same time, Sonny had begun working with carbon fiber and promptly created a carbon lip, carbon wing and carbon bullet mirrors, which quickly found their way onto the car.
By 2022, Sonny had more plans for the car, starting with an exterior rethink. The mundane silver was replaced by a custom red hue named ‘True Blood’, which completely altered the car’s character. Additional carbon fiber elements were crafted to complement the existing ones, namely carbon fender flares and carbon covers for the lights.
Inside, a roll cage was installed and color-matched to the exterior. Bride bucket seats replaced the GTI items and were fitted with Sparco 4-point harnesses.
At the end of the 2022 season, Sonny decided it was time to finally address the weak link in the custom build – the engine. What to replace the 505 sedan’s original motor with? A 1.9L DOHC 16-valve engine (XU9J4) from the high performance Peugeot 405 Mi16 of course.
As the Mi16 was front-wheel drive and the XU9J4 was designed to be mounted transversely, some work was needed to get it up and running in the rear-wheel drive 505. After an exhaustive online search, Sonny came to the realization that no one had completed such a conversion before – or at least documented it in any way – so he was on his own. New engine mounts were fabricated, the oil pan was modified, and a custom bell-housing made in order to adapt the new engine to the 505’s gearbox.
As you can see, the Mi16 engine isn’t stock now either. The cylinder head was ported and fitted with performance camshafts and adjustable gears, a Jenvey 45mm individual throttle body setup was added, and a custom stainless steel exhaust manifold running into a full custom exhaust system fabricated. Further to this, the fuel and cooling systems were upgraded, a MaxxECU engine management system was wired up and tuned, and an upgraded clutch installed.
Sonny used the opportunity afforded by the engine swap to smooth out the bay and have it painted. Subsequently, the interior was refreshed too. The old, faded dashboard was flocked, and a new Nardi steering wheel and carbon shift knob were added. Finally, the air ride installation was put on display in place of the 505’s rear bench seat.
As mentioned, a few years prior to all this, in late 2019, Sonny also began working on another Peugeot 505 – this time a rare 1986 2.5L turbo-diesel wagon, imported from the USA.
Over the winter months, Sonny got to work, fitting the wagon’s first round of modifications: air ride, 16×9-inch Azev wheels, and a custom front lip. He attended events with the wagon while he planned out the sedan build, but now that both 505s are done, he’s showing them as a pair. For stylish transportation, a trailer was matched to the wagon, with both receiving reimagined Peugeot-Talbot liveries.
On their own, each one of Sonny’s Peugeot 505s is something special. But together, this Sonny Works pairing is so cool.
How To join the IATS program: We have always welcomed readers to contact us with examples of their work and believe that the best Speedhunter is always the person closest to the culture itself, right there on the street or local parking lot. If you think you have what it takes and would like to share your work with us then you should apply to become part of the IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER program. Read how to get involved here.
Keyword: Perfect Pair: The Sonny Works Peugeot 505s